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May 5, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Want higher pay? Improve yourself

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In her commentary last Sunday, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., says the working poor should not have to live on $15,000 per year, which is roughly the minimum wage.

No one should be looking to live off the minimum wage. That should be the beginning wage and inspire the ambition to work harder and learn good work habits.

Successful employers don’t want these workers to be complacent for the long term. They’ll hire beginners to work at beginner’s wages.

If a person doesn’t like the wages, then try self-improvement instead of sitting around and complaining.

Rep. Woolsey mentioned that she was a single mother with three young kids. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a single mother or father with kids; I hope this is not the basis for wanting to raise the minimum wage.

I hope that this never becomes the norm.

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  1. Correct letter writer. The minimum wagwe is just that. It's the starting point. Americans are known for lifting themselves up by the boot straps and doing better, on their own. By improving their own lot in life, not through accepting government handouts for years and years.


  2. Inman must be nuts! Advocating common sense? That will not fly in the USA of today where 47% of our adult population believes they are "entitled." Slowly, but surely, the work ethic has been squeezed out of a vast number of Americans and they have come to believe they have the right to pick the pockets of the productive in order to continue their slothful life style. They want their cigarettes, booze and free ride. But ask them to contribute? To actually work? Puleeeze! Are you kidding? Work is a foreign concept to those folks!

  3. The poor always come up with reasons they can't get ahead.

    Here's a real life experience from the early 90's that proves the mentality of the poor that they expect assistance..some even demanded it

    I was a leader in a local Scout troop that had 30% of its youth coming from poor one parent families. Good kids, but they were poor. Every year the troop committee made arrangements for the scouts to earn the money for summer camp ($105). We found that the families that could simply write a check and send their son to summer camp made their boy earn the money themselves. This is part of the Scout Law "A Scout is Thrifty". 75% of the parents of the poor kids came up with a wide variety of excuses why their "Johnny" couldn't come out with the other boys to earn their own way. Some asked as to whether there was a special program from the Scouts, the local community or even government that would pay their sons way. Because these poor households had limited access to transportation the committee made sure that these kids could get picked up on our Saturday sales effort. Even with help with transportation, they still came up with excuses why their son couldn't come out to earn his own money

    From this real life experience I saw that we really have created a welfare mentality in this country. Mothers telling their sons that they couldn't go to camp because there wasn't a program to pay the camp fee.

  4. I would like to share my experiences with this very topic:

    It was my 17th birthday March 1962. I was going to graduate HS in June. I had had a morning paper route since my freshman year. The same length of time my parents had been out of work. There was no work in Detroit. I did not want to be a burden financially so I decided to join the Army right after graduation. My parents did not want me to go but I did. I was discharged in Nov. 1965 and I immediately went to work as a draftsman less than a mile from my parents home.

    I was working a 50 hour week and barely making $100 and that was not good enough for me. I got a part time job in a gas station in the evening and on weekends. While working there one of our customers told me that he worked in personnel at a Chrysler plant about a mile from my parents home and if I wanted a job there to come and see him. I did. I was making the same at the plant as I was as a draftsman and a part time gas pump jockey. I also met the mother of my children while working on my part-time job.

    Had I been satisfied making $100 per week and living with my parents the job opportunity would not have presented itself. Nor would I have met my first wife. So good things can come to someone who is willing to get off of their butt!

  5. I've got another personal improvement story. My parents were immigrants from Germany and had a difficult time making it in America. I was the first person in my family to go to college. I studied economics and mathematics at UCLA in the 1970s and got my degree in economics. I paid roughly 600 bucks a quarter to go there. Today it is $52,000 a year. Self-improvement has to be affordable. If you are 18 years old and have $200,000 laying around you don't need self-improvement you're already making it.

    Education is one of the best ways to improve oneself. Education, like healthcare, has seen hyperinflation to the point where no one can afford it anymore.

  6. The old geezers in this country that don't have kids are constantly comparing life today with when they were growing up. The cost component is entirely different. When I moved to Santa Monica in 1961 you could buy a beautiful home for $20,000. Today some homes sell for close to $20 million in that city. When I graduated from UCLA I had about $2000 in outstanding loans. I was able to pay those off in about a year and a half.

    In 1956 I was hospitalized with an upper respiratory infection in St. Joseph's Hospital in Detroit Michigan. The hospital bill was $16. I still have the bill. Today an event like that could very easily cost over $100,000. Four years at a good school combined with a serious medical event can leave people with bills that they will spend the rest of their lives paying off. That kind of nonsense didn't occur in the 1950s and 1960s.

  7. Mr. Hageman I have to agree 100% with your assessment of current costs. In 1972 I asked to be put on graveyard shift so I could attend the Univ. of Michigan during the day. My tuition costs were similar. Plus, I had the benefit of receiving money from the VA for attending school. It was only $238/month but that was a lot of money then and I jokingly said that going to school was a part-time job.

    I was a single father living here when my daughter came to live with me in 1990. She failed her freshman year at Eastern Mich. Univ. because she "partied" to much. Her mom thought it would be better if she got away from Michigan. I paid for her to go to UNLV and it still was not the cost burden it would be today. She ended up graduating.

  8. We need something to buffer us from greed or we're going to degenerate into grinding poverty. The minimum wage is so low that it's now a ridiculous gesture that mocks FDR's intention. The elites are clearly incompetent since they crashed the economy. The snobs made health care , housing, and education unaffordable; yet they deal themselves raises and bonuses. Lets stop trickle down mediocrity and have a maximum wage !

  9. Long Live Lynn Woolsey; a good FDR Democrat, May the Republicans be left on the trash heap of history !

  10. It seems that several of us have similar stories.

    In my case I was running three after-school paper routes around age 13 after my dad passed, and started keeping score at the local bowling alley at night shorty thereafter. Later I got a job as part of the work-credit class at school working for a window and screen company after school. The next year I got my first taste in electronics working for a wholesale supply house in my senior year.

    Like others, I joined the military soon after graduation, not only to serve (Viet Nam was going at the time) but to gain skills and experience. After leaving the military I usually worked a full time job in electronics and one or two part-time jobs at night to provide for my growing family.

    Since that time I have continually been learning new skills in my area, going back to school in my 30s to earn a degree to meet changing job requirements.

    I am now 59 and still teaching myself the skills I need to stay competitive in my chosen field. I see no reason at all why anyone who has the desire to learn and is willing to work can't attempt to do the same as I have. The only guarantee is that we all have the same opportunity.

    I have little sympathy for those who are not willing to do the most they are capable of.

  11. Nice to have skills that the rich no accounts can prey upon but will pay little for.

  12. Norris is right on with this letter, and I have the same story others do. Both as a worker and later as an employer min wage was always the starting point, and the better you got at the job the more money you made. Employers get better returns from your production and can pay you more it is that simple. NOBODY is forced to stay in a min wage job, they all have the freedom to better themselves. Look at the list of people wanting to immigrate here, there is a reason why they do and not for min wage.

  13. Norris is completely wrong and is a rich manipulator !

  14. The goof that invented the credit default swap got a millions of dollars bonus; yet your going to deny some guy thats living in a cardboard box washing your car a few cents ? How twisted can conservatives possibly be ?

  15. Edison had a great comment along these lines: "We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work".

  16. The way to get ahead is to NOT SPEND all you take in. I agree that the work ethic is a great starter. If you can live within / below your means, you can bank some money. An emergency fund is handy when you lose a job, have an accident, have a health issue.....AND having savings above an emergency fund comes in handy--when you want to buy a vehicle and can calculate the cost of financing--so you'd prefer to buy a car you can pay for outright--even if it's used, very used. Staying out of credit card debt and not borrowing from banks or family means you may have other options too.

  17. The Community College of Southern Nevada can provide the skills, in a two year degree for a $50,000/year income in technical trades. Download their catalog.

    CCSN also have simulators for painting, welding, electronics and electrical, (flying) etc. that allow the student to develop their skills outside any danger. Nursing, natural health, auto mechanic, massage - all of these skills are in demand and can be learned at CCSN.

    The employment and community assistance programs of the Government should be working with CCSN to improve the lives of those who are lost in this asphalt jungle.

  18. I think success depends on the state of the economy. Lousy economy, no jobs. Plus people need to realize that in places with a poor economy, like Vegas, they need to move. Good idea anyway, with our lousy schools and 24 hour drunk drivers. Oh well, stay skinny and be a cocktail waitress. Or a parking valet if you have a full head of hair and a big mouth. It's pitiful here..

  19. teamster,

    Does that mean that you think every union worker should have the same pay? That there should be no difference between apprentice, journeyman and master?

    If apprentice pay provides a good living, why would one want to advance to journeyman or master? Could it be that those workers might want the better pay that comes from better skill and the resulting better standard of living?

    Could that possibly be a form of "greed" for those workers to want that?

    You need to study the history of trade guilds.

  20. Good story Mr. Thompson. Thanks for sharing.


  21. Norris, I agree. However, we need to step in where K-12 has FAILED and explain to students that they have choices. You can work minimum wage and have kids OR you can hold that thought until you have a stable relationship with another adult AND with an employer in a profession or career--a resume showing you are a productive, competent employee with marketable skills.

  22. @L.V. Tom"
    As a troup leader, what did YOU do to encourage these "poor" kids to pull their own weight, or at least TRY to do that? Scout leaders are valuable; good ones who are willing to go an extra step are priceless.

    That was 1962, Those of us raised in 50's and 60's had a work ethic. And being an aunt of young nephews THESE days - that work ethic is still there. THey like their things so they know they need to earn the money. The 11 year old wants a $300 IPad or something techy and expensive. His Dad said - fine but earn the money yourself and he is trying!! His Grandma now has all the help she needs around her house and yard on weekends!! Wish he lived closer because winter is coming and that means shoveling snow! We also believe it is important that kids today learn how to do things inside and around the house, too, like painting, basic repairs (within reason - no serious stuff).

    Re your post on 10/7 at 6:30pm. Easier said then done.

    For everyone: Enjoyed all the posts (except Fink's for reasons which are obvious). I liked the personal stories. Right now all the stores in our area are hiring for the holiday season. In EVERY store, there is always a line waiting, both young and old, for the computers to fill out applications - many in those lines would surprise all of you and shoot to hell your theories on those who don't want to work (yeah, Fink - a lot of those "47%'ers" you hate so much). Everybody wants to work. It's just getting that coveted minimum wage job even if it's only temporary.

  23. <<That will not fly in the USA of today where 47% of our adult population believes they are "entitled.">>

    Well, thank you, Fink, for calling all the senior citizens of this country "slackers". You are damn right we are "entitled"!!!

  24. Det__Munch: Mr. Fink posts consistently and allows you and me to appear as socially pleasant, gracious people.