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 10:06 PM

Try commuting on I95 or I66 in the DC area.

I kid. But that argument is tired, and comes up every time anyone brings up too much government intervention in our lives. There are essential services of which most everyone can accept government provision: police, rescue, roads, military, yadda yadda... But you can ignore the fact that I used the word "nearly" if it fits your rebuttal. I never said I want no government at all.

Moving on...

Jeff said:

Edited. :)

Heh. That was implied.

But it does make me think about how America was often considered the greatest country in many respects--by a wide margin--thanks to the Great Experiment that protects individual liberty and allowed our capitalist society to thrive...and how--since the onset of the progressive era about a century ago, which has brought more government intervention into nearly every aspect of our daily lives--that margin has progressively (pun intended) narrowed.

Last edited by Vater, Thursday, January 16, 2014 10:06 PM
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Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:38 PM

LostKause said:

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

Show me anywhere in this thread when I suggested eliminating a minimum wage.

(hint: I didn't)

You're the 2nd one to put those words into my mouth.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:53 PM

Vater said:

...since the onset of the progressive era about a century ago, which has brought more government intervention into nearly every aspect of our daily lives--that margin has progressively (pun intended) narrowed.

According to whom? That's a strangely anecdotal and vague claim. I look at a country like Germany, which does a lot of things considered as extreme socialism here (healthcare, for example), and yet they have an extreme export surplus. China doesn't own them like they own us. So how does a country like that with all of the "free market" interference by government manage to do that? I ask seriously... I'm not an economist.

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Friday, January 17, 2014 1:13 AM

Sorry, Gonch. Looking back, Vater suggested that. It just seems like something you would argue.

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

You make a good point, however, as far as "fault," opportunities are not there for some people. You should know that, being from WV and all.

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.

I don't believe that skilled and unskilled work are parallel in how pay is determined. An unskilled new hire can't demand higher wages.

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Friday, January 17, 2014 6:00 AM

Jeff said:

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.

I think that's not quite an apples to apples comparison. A more accurate comparison would be that you can afford to buy some high class luxury items, but yet you're using government assistance to pay your home's heating bills every winter. Paying employees a reasonable minimum wage that keeps them from relying heavily on government/taxpayer assistance is NOT a luxury item, it is a core cost of doing business in this country.

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Friday, January 17, 2014 9:00 AM

Wait, my analogy was apples to oranges?

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Friday, January 17, 2014 10:47 AM

bjames said:

I don't know what qualifies as a minimum wage job at Six Flags. I suppose food service and gift shop cashiering would. I certainly hope the ride ops are making more than minimum. It requires slightly more skill to prevent someone's death than it does to hand someone a hot dog.

Ride attendants are the least compensated employees in all parks. People in foods, park services, merchandise all make more in my experiences. Granted not "a lot" more, but still more. Although people in foods need special training to ensure they are safely handling the food people are eating, park services is safely cleaning waste in a sanitary manner, and merchandise is responsible for handling and accounting for hundreds to thousands of dollars in cash and goods (all things that require additional training and skills that ride attendants do not need, so that discrepancy does make sense in a lot ways).

The cost of living differs greatly across the country so a standard minimum wage does not make a great deal of sense. In Florida my wife and I can each earn about $11 an hour at our jobs working full time and live a comfortable life with enough left over for some luxury purchases. When we lived in the DC area to maintain the same lifestyle we would need to make about double that.

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Friday, January 17, 2014 11:45 AM

Lord Gonchar said:

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.

Which goes a LONG way toward explaining why poverty rates are SO much lower for married couples than for households that have one parent present. Which leads many conservatives to "prescribe" marriage as a solution to poverty. Of course, that ignores the fact that poverty leads to many dissolved marriages (#1 cause f divorce - financial problems), and that remaining single and in poverty means a woman's children can at least keep their public health insurance (a real manufactured catch-22 if ever there was one).

edits: copy-paste errros....argh, LOL....

Last edited by rollergator, Friday, January 17, 2014 11:47 AM
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Friday, January 17, 2014 12:22 PM

Vater, I'm sorry I didn't make myself clear:

You originally said "History has shown that nearly anytime government is involved in anything the constitution never intended it to be involved in. . ."

My point was that the constitution never "intended" the government to be involved in paved roads, let alone the Interstate Highway System. It also didn't foresee the government being involved in the Air Force, space flight/satellites, TV & radio, the Panama Canal, the Center for Disease Control, etc. Times change and so must all institutions--including government.

I agree, you never said that you opposed "all" government, only government doing things not listed in the Constitution. Although I'm sure we are all grateful for not having to quarter soldiers in our houses, I am also grateful for paved roads and net neutrality. Oh wait. . .

BTW, the "Progressive Era" ended in 1981. Prior to that, the capitalist system in the US thrived, creating tremendous wealth--unlike the Great Depression (which prompted the "Progressive Era") and the era of undoing the "Progressive Era" (everything from deregulation to Welfare Reform), which only shifted wealth, instead of creating it.

Last edited by Captain Hawkeye, Friday, January 17, 2014 12:34 PM
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Friday, January 17, 2014 9:47 PM

LostKause said:

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

You make a good point, however, as far as "fault," opportunities are not there for some people. You should know that, being from WV and all.

I had a good job in WV, that I worked my way up to...not sure what you're point is. And I left because the opportunities to do what I wanted weren't there...

If you're still there and you don't want to be, that's nobody's fault but your own.

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.

I don't believe that skilled and unskilled work are parallel in how pay is determined. An unskilled new hire can't demand higher wages.

Exactly! If you're not skilled, new hire or not, you can't really demand higher wages. Newly skilled people at any job typically get paid less than people with experience. That's why most jobs that don't pay low wages give a salary range 'commensurate with experience'.

Not sure the point you're making here either. You were implying that doing away with minimum wage would create sweatshops (I disagree). My point was that if you're only skills land you in a sweatshop (regardless of if min wage is here or not), then that's one's own fault.

I graduated high school having worked in retail (learning about inventory, customer service, and other skills) and a call center. I had skills. I picked up more along the way and eventually landed better paying jobs because of that.

Anyone that is working in a low wage position in this country is either just entering the workforce or they don't have skills to do otherwise. Barring people with disabilities that really can't better themselves, anyone else is in that position, not because life is unfair and they should get paid a higher wage just to make things fair, but because they lack the skills to get a better job.

Last edited by Tekwardo, Friday, January 17, 2014 9:54 PM
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Saturday, January 18, 2014 3:25 AM

I kind of don't know what we are talking about, because I kind of don't really care about this subject, and real life keeps taking place between my posts. I guess I got lost in the conversation.

Some people don't have the opportunities to better themselves though. You are from WV, so you probably already know that. Not everyone has the money for college. Not everyone was encouraged by their parents to better themselves, or have the self-esteem or know-how to do so. Some people, like me, HATED high school and could not stand to think of going back to any kind of learning environment after graduating. My Plan A didn't work out and I didn't have a very good plan B. I am happy now, so I don't fully agree with you that it is anyone's fault. Things just happen.

I do pretty well for myself nowadays, and I started at the bottom too, so I relate with your story. It takes time to get skills, or what I would think would be better called experience.

Yawwn. Sorry. I just yawned. lol

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Saturday, January 18, 2014 10:41 AM

Krause, you're kind of contradicting yourself here. I've seen you post here and on Facebook about the power of the mind and what one can accomplish when one puts their mind to it--something I've always believed as well.

Your post above is quintessential victim mentality. At some point, regardless of where one grew up, had no encouragement from their parents, or self esteem or know-how, one has to grow the hell up, take responsibility for themselves, and work to succeed.

Everything you listed is an excuse.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014 12:50 PM

It's still an interesting thing to explore, excuse or not. I mean, I like to think I turned out reasonably successful, but my brother ended up being a drug addict. How does one account for that? Similar environment, but different results.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014 1:42 PM

Still boils down to personal choice, doesn't it?

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Saturday, January 18, 2014 1:55 PM

But surely you can't claim that someone given every opportunity and someone given few opportunities had the same chance of financial security at the end of the day. And given that's true and given that we profess to be a just society, that disparity cannot be ignored.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014 2:14 PM

Opportunity is opportunity. That everyone has an opportunity IS just.

There's also a snowball effect, no doubt - those with more opportunity now, likely come from a place where the people around them made the most of THEIR opportunities. Community/family in the truest sense. I have no problem knowing my kids have opportunities that I didn't because I made the right choices to put them in that position. And I had opportunities my parents didn't because they did things that opened those doors for me. And so on.

Plus, the argument that it's not fair seems to be predicated on two general untruths:

1. That upward mobility doesn't exist (or at the very least is incredibly difficult to obtain)

2. That downward mobility doesn't happen (or at the very least is very hard to fall into)

I don't believe either is true. You can better yourself with very little just as easily as you can worsen your situation even with all the advantages one could hope for.

External factors play a role, for sure, but I don't understand why some of you are so eager to discount the individual (the type of person they are, the choices they make, etc) in the equation. That's the factor we have control over - it's the variable.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014 2:37 PM

The fact that it is the one variable we have control over doesn't mean that there aren't other variables. Nor does it mean that individual choice is the most important variable.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014 2:50 PM

But it's the one you control.

Rather than whine about what you can't control, why not harness the power of what you can control?

That seems to be surfacing as the major point of difference in thought.

When the sun goes down, I can complain that it's dark and bitch about how I can't see...or I can turn a light on.

I can't control the sun (yet), but I can take responsibility for my situation.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014 3:00 PM

Still boils down to personal choice, doesn't it?

Not necessarily. Some people are more pre-disposed to addiction than others. It's not clear why this is so---genetics may play a role---but it seems to be the case. For example, for every 100 chronic pain patients that you put on an opiate for pain control, you can expect 3-4 of them to end up addicted. As an aside, herion is making a *big* comeback right now, in part because of the increased (legitimate) use of drugs like oxycontin.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18489635

As for mobility---it is well documented that social/economic mobility in the US is well below nearly any other first-world economy. We have approximately the same mobility as the UK, a fact that surprises most Americans.

http://www.epi.org/publication/usa-lags-peer-countries-mobility/

Last edited by Brian Noble, Saturday, January 18, 2014 3:02 PM
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Saturday, January 18, 2014 3:13 PM

^^ Gonch, I can't control a lot of factors (yet), but by combing with others and pooling together a majority of votes I/we can control other variables. Through the political process ("we must all hang together, etc") I can, hopefully, change my (and others') situation more than as an army of 1.

BTW, I would argue that the one factor none of us can control--the level of wealth we are born into--can be as important as personal choice. If I get caught driving drunk bad things will happen to me. If Richie Rich IV makes the exact same choices, he gets off because of "Affluenza."

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