County considers exemption for regional minimum wage at Six Flags America

Posted Tuesday, January 14, 2014 8:38 AM | Contributed by Jeff

An effort is underway in Prince George’s County to carve out an exemption to the much-ballyhooed “regional minimum wage” increase passed by lawmakers there, in Montgomery County and in Washington, D.C., last year. County Council member Derrick Leon Davis is expected to introduce a bill Tuesday that would let one of the county’s largest employers, Six Flags America, continue to pay its seasonal workers at the lower rate of $7.25 per hour instead of the wage that would increase to $11.50 per hour by 2017.

Read more from The Washington Times.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 12:26 AM

Adding a bit of a commentary on the whole college-education-is- meaningless, and I add the disclaimer that this is simply anecdotal, I have a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and I'm effectively the airline equivalent of a Ride Operations Supervisor. I've been out of college for over five years and I just last year made ten grand shy of the average starting salary for someone with my degree.

That said, I don't find my degree useless. For starters, I didn't get the best grades my first two years of school. Second, I graduated into a horrible job market.

However, that degree has opened up a lot of doors and will continue to do so going forward. Just because you didn't get the exact type of job you wanted right off the bat doesn't make college pointless.

On top of that, one must also consider that some degrees aren't super marketable. To say that college isn't important because your art history degree isn't making you a six-figure salary is ridiculous. The fact of the matter is, though, I think it's a bit unfair to say that there really is no point to college. I think certain degrees fall into that category, but not college in its entirety.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 5:20 AM

Lord Gonchar said:
What you're essentially saying is that it's Walmart's fault that Joe Sixpack has no discernible, marketable skills beyond stocking a shelf.

Walmart isn't passing anything onto the taxpayer. Joe Sixpack's lack of ability/education/usefulness is.

We shouldn't be pissed at Walmart. We should be pissed at Joe Sixpack.

The whole idea behind the minimum wage in the first place was that employees able/willing to work a 40 hour work week should make enough money to be able to survive without needing government assistance. At that point, we put the burden on the employers. It's a cost of doing business in this country. If you can't afford it, then you shouldn't be in business.

The problem is, we've got an awful lot of employers who can afford it, but simply don't want to because they'd rather have larger profits. They've passed a large part of their cost of doing business off to the taxpayers/government to deal with.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 8:58 AM

^I'd love to "like" this more than once.

Seriously, "minimum wage" - for those with minimal skills - when worked full-time - should yield a minimally-acceptable standard of living. At this point, we (our representatives) have decided that it is OK for the rest of us to subsidize those corporations who employ people with minimal skills. Those jobs need to be done, they are done by hard-working people (not "the lazy slackers"), and they deserve maybe not our sympathy, but at the very least our respect.

Compassion be damned, trickle-down has wreaked havoc on our economy, on our jobs market, and on our potential for future economic growth.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 9:52 AM

rollergator said:

Seriously, "minimum wage" - for those with minimal skills - when worked full-time - should yield a minimally-acceptable standard of living.

And I get this logic.

But I'm saying that I think the bar has been raised.

We have more educated and skilled people than ever before. The requirements to earn a minimal standard of living have gone up accordingly.

It seems to me you guys are saying that just having a job entitles you to a certain standard. I disagree.

Just because something 'needs to be done' doesn't mean you need to guarantee a certain standard of living for those doing it. It's crap work. It's secondary employment. You need to meet a certain level of production (for lack of a better term) to get a certain standard of living in return.

The bar for a 'minimally-acceptable standard of living' is higher than the lowest entry-level, non-experience, non-skilled jobs.

---

And in terms of underemployment or overskilled workers - as long as a single higher level job exists unfilled, that argument is bunk.

It's not the job market's responsibility to create jobs that match your abilities. It's up to you to acquire the skills to be useful in the market.

What you can do has no bearing on what you actually do. If you have a PhD, but stock shelves, you offer no more value than a high school dropout stocking shelves and you get paid accordingly.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, January 16, 2014 9:58 AM
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Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:18 AM

Lord Gonchar said:

It seems to me you guys are saying that just having a job entitles you to a certain standard. I disagree.

Needed to quote just this bit...

Having a full-time job SHOULD mean that you don't qualify for public assistance....because that means uncle Sam (i.e., *us*) is subsidizing companies that pay those wages. We can agree or disagree on what a minimal standard is...but I think staying warm, not starving, and having lights on are things we should agree are provided to those who CANNOT take care of themselves.

Those who WILL not take care of their own needs despite being fully capable...I'll agree that that is another problem. But to be sure, the numbers DO show that those folks constitute a minority of those on public assistance. I for one am unwilling to starve an 8-year-old because there are able-bodied 35-year-olds unwilling to work. I'd like to cut *them* (able-bodied adults without mental or physical disabilities) off too, but it's proven more costly to track them down than it is to keep sending them checks...

Last edited by rollergator, Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:20 AM
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Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:20 AM

Or, phrased another way, MegaCorp has the power to exploit its labor, so it should be allowed to.

Edit: Ninja'd by Gator. I was responding to Gonch.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:21 AM
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Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:32 AM

ApolloAndy said:

Or, phrased another way, MegaCorp has the power to exploit its labor, so it should be allowed to.

And if that's how you read anything I've typed in this thread, not only are you spewing wizard-level hyperbole, but your thought process is so far from mine that the light I'm giving off will take 20,000 light years to reach you.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 1:10 PM

Well, it's the logical extension of what you are saying. Overseas sweatshops are just a matter of super-low skilled workers getting paid their super low worth in an unregulated labor market.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 1:51 PM

"Race to the bottom".....go!

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 2:19 PM

CP Chris said:

The whole idea behind the minimum wage in the first place was that employees able/willing to work a 40 hour work week should make enough money to be able to survive without needing government assistance. At that point, we put the burden on the employers. It's a cost of doing business in this country. If you can't afford it, then you shouldn't be in business.

The problem is, we've got an awful lot of employers who can afford it, but simply don't want to because they'd rather have larger profits. They've passed a large part of their cost of doing business off to the taxpayers/government to deal with.

That is the most sensible thing I have read in this topic. Like Gator, I wish I could Like this more than once. (Perhaps it is time to make a few fake accounts to do just that? j/k)

So the problem here isn't that minimum wage is too high, but that it is too low.

Separate thought... I make about ten dollars an hour at my job. I have the position because I have proven that I am a little bit smarter than the average employee there. The bad thing about minimum wage going up is that if it goes up to $11 or more, I will be making minimum wage again. No business I have ever worked at raises everyone else's wages when minimum wage goes up.

Last edited by LostKause, Thursday, January 16, 2014 2:25 PM
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Thursday, January 16, 2014 2:26 PM

I need to chime in on the "huge profits" comment. First, paying employees more money just because you can "afford it" doesn't make sense. Having massive profits is a lot like living with your means. Yes, I can "afford" 5,000 square feet and a Tesla Model S, but it doesn't mean I should buy those things. We only need to go back five years to the peak of the last pile of suck to remember that having money on hand goes a long way toward preventing financial ruin.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 3:22 PM

ApolloAndy said:

Well, it's the logical extension of what you are saying. Overseas sweatshops are just a matter of super-low skilled workers getting paid their super low worth in an unregulated labor market.

Except that it's not the extention of MY thought process at all. I've never suggested to unregulate anything...or that a minimum wage requirement doesn't make sense.

It's the extention of YOUR thought process when someone suggests that minimum wage doesn't have to equal living wage. And it feels like a pretty big leap in logic. (from minimum wage being below 'living wage' to sweatshops)

Truth is, I'm totally ok with establishing a minimum wage. As far as this story itself, I don't know enough about the situation to say whether an exception makes sense. As far as the general discussion at hand, I definitely don't think minimum wage needs to equate with a 'living wage' (whatever that may be).

In the USA. a full time minimum wage employee would be making $15,080 per year and the poverty threshold for an individual is $11,490.

Two earners making minimum wage would make $30,160 and the poverty threshold for a family of four with two kids is $23,550.

Seems in line to me.

And that's only looking within our privileged little bubble of a country. On the world scale (and we really do have to start thinking on the world scale by now, don't we?) an income of $34,000 per capita puts you in the top 1% of earners in the world.

Check this craziness out.

If you plug in the numbers for a single minimum wage earner, it shows that your income is in the top 10.7% of the world's population.

All the complaining and protests and OWS mentality is actually the world's top 10% complaining about the .1% - and when you put it into those terms, it's hilariously greedy and hypocritical.

Now is it really as simple as that? Eh, probably not. Ok. Definitely not. But it goes a long way towards creating perspective.

The problem is a relative one in every sense. Making minimum wage in the USA makes you relatively poor. Not raising the minimum wage to a 'living wage' isn't going to create a nation of sweatshops.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 3:42 PM

Okay, sure. But the cost of living in the United States is also significantly higher than other places in the world.

And yes, the standard of living from top to bottom is much higher as well, but isn't that the whole point? The whole point of being a nation is that we agree to take some responsibility for one another. It's not just about "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." It's about "We're in this together and what's good for you is good for me." The whole point is that our country is better than condemning families to generation after generation of zero upward mobility and continual downward slide.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Thursday, January 16, 2014 3:42 PM
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Thursday, January 16, 2014 4:48 PM

I agree with Andy in that sense, and the real issue is that the government, despite being the logical entity to assume this role, tends to suck at it. Instead of mitigating the suck, people would rather not having it involved. That's weird.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 4:53 PM

Fair enough. That's hard to disagree with.

ApolloAndy said:

The whole point is that our country is better than condemning families to generation after generation of zero upward mobility and continual downward slide.

Well, the choice of condemn here is not something I agree with.

Upward mobility exists. I don't like victim mentality in any form. This qualifies to me.

There will always be haves and have nots. We might not all start in the same place and have the same opportunities, but no one is denied a chance to better themselves.

I honestly believe ANYONE can improve their situation.

Will it always be 'fair'? Nope. And I'm not sure it needs to be or that it ever really could be.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 6:07 PM

Jeff said:

Instead of mitigating the suck, people would rather not having it involved. That's weird.

Not weird. Rather, that would be the very thing that would mitigate the suck.

History has shown that nearly anytime government is involved in anything the constitution never intended it to be involved in, that thing becomes less efficient as a result. While I don't believe that "inefficiency" was the founders' literal reasoning for limiting the federal government's power, it certainly makes a case for limiting it today.

I'd be happy to see even less involvement, but we all know that never, ever happens. At least not for long.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 6:44 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
Not raising the minimum wage to a 'living wage' isn't going to create a nation of sweatshops.

But eliminating minimum wage, as you fantastically suggest, would probably create a nation of sweatshops.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 8:08 PM

Vater said:

History has shown that nearly anytime [American] government is involved in anything the constitution never intended it to be involved in, that thing becomes less efficient as a result.

Edited. :)

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 8:13 PM

And if your only marketable skills put you working in a sweatshop, who's fault is that, Travis?

Doctors, lawyers, artists, artisans, and people with higher paying skills can demand a higher wage just like they do now with or without minimum wage.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 9:26 PM

Vater said:
History has shown that nearly anytime government is involved in anything the constitution never intended it to be involved in, that thing becomes less efficient as a result. While I don't believe that "inefficiency" was the founders' literal reasoning for limiting the federal government's power, it certainly makes a case for limiting it today.

I'd be happy to see even less involvement, but we all know that never, ever happens. At least not for long.

Odd. The Constitution never mentions the Interstate Highway System, yet the government seems to do that quite well.

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