Proof in the pudding
In his “Right Persuasion” column (“No unmotivated worker left behind, 9/26), Mr. Moomjean once again delves into his navel lint for his economic analysis of the effects of raising the minimum wage. Instead of being fact-free, let’s look at actual data. In 1989, Washington state raised its minimum wage above the prevailing national minimum. An economic analysis was then done to assess the effects, comparing eastern Washington state to western Idaho. These very similar demographic and economic areas were compared. Contrary to Mr. Moomjean’s navel lint musings, eastern Washington state showed increased economic growth over western Idaho. The reason was simple, low wage workers had more money to spend, which they do spend out of necessity, which generated increased business activity, which led to more hiring and increased employment.
In 1994, the Democrats in Congress raised the national minimum wage. After the Republicans took control of the House in 1995, there were no further raises in the national minimum wage for more than a decade. During that time, many state and local governments raised their minimum wage. In 2001, researchers looked at 16 state or local raises to the minimum wage. In 16 out of 16 cases, the result was increased business activity over the surrounding area, which led to increased employment over the surrounding area.
Our society defines a minimum acceptable living standard. We do not let people starve to death, freeze for lack of heat or clothing, die of preventable disease for lack of vaccination, etc. When an employer hires a worker at a level below the cost of that minimum standard, society subsidizes the cost through food stamps, heating oil subsidies, rent subsidies, Medicaid, etc., to bring that individual up to the acceptable minimum. In every case studied where the minimum wage has been raised to bring it closer to the cost of that minimum standard, employment has increased, tax revenues have increased, and social welfare costs have decreased. An analysis a few years ago showed that the average California low-wage Walmart employee received more than$1,600 in state benefits, just as in Michigan, an average Walmart superstore cost taxpayers more than $900,000 in public benefits to employees. Wages paid below the level necessary to support the minimum standard of living our society expects costs all of us through taxes and benefits directly the exploitive employer.
Minimum wage question
Mr. Moomjean obviously doesn’t have a glass jaw as, despite many blows, he keeps it thrust forward. You’d think there would be some counter-punching on his part, but apart from ballyhooing the line of one news source, I’ve never seen him take on, let alone discredit, any number of intelligent challenges in the letters to the Editor, and I read many.
In last week’s VCReporter, 9/26, “No unmotivated worker left behind,” Moomjean suggests a game of logic. Well, here’s one involving Thomas Sowell, whom Moomjean praises. At the suggestion of friends a while back I read several of his articles. I’m remembering one in particular a couple of years ago in which he focused on the then-new OWer’s [Occupy Wall Street] movement. Nowhere in the article was there any suggestion that Sowell ever came within miles of a demonstration, or even that he had had any personal contact via phone or email with any of the principals. I don’t think he would have considered it beneath him, but the fact remains he was viewing them from afar in all senses.
At the same time I read Chis Hedges who had spent lengthy periods of time on the ground specifically involved with what was going on. Now logically, whose judgments should weigh more heavily on my mind?
As to other articles I read, it was obvious that Sowell had well-reasoned pieces, but in none of them did he begin by justifying their initial premises. Didn’t that have to have been the beginning point?
As to lowest minimum wage, one would think that Moomjean wouldn’t ignore that, among the developed nations, we rate very poorly. Now, I know that correlation doesn’t prove causation, but that Australia, the least-affected by current hard times, also pays the highest minimum wage certainly should engage Moomjean in some wonderment!
One of the heroes of modern industrialism, Henry Ford, to the consternation of fellow industrialists, paid high wages to the laborers in his factories. He felt there was something wrong if those producing a product couldn’t afford to buy it! Was Ford widely misguided?
Ventura City Council election
Nasarenko, Francis, Brown for City Council
Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation has endorsed Richard Francis, Lorrie Brown and Erik Nasarenko for City Council.
All three candidates expressed their support for hillside preservation, the Ventura River Parkway and the renewal of SOAR. Each candidate wants to protect Ventura’s quality of life and our surrounding environment.
Richard Francis brings decades of experience in our city to the Council — including his prior service on the Council. As a lawyer and co-author of the SOAR initiative, he has been instrumental in preserving open space and agricultural land in Ventura, helping retain both these strong economic engines in our community. Francis sees our focus on the environment as critical to Ventura’s future.
Lorrie Brown was born and raised in Ventura. She is dedicated to protecting our environment and protecting the quality of life that she enjoyed while growing up in Ventura. With her master’s degree in public policy and her work as community planner, Brown’s perspective will be a positive addition to Ventura City Council.
Erik Nasarenko is committed to preserving Ventura’s rich array of outdoor recreational opportunities, including the beach, the new Botanical Garden Trail and the Ventura River Parkway. As a Ventura County Deputy D.A. he protects the most vulnerable in our community, victims of domestic violence, children and the elderly. On the Council he will work to protect the city, its citizens and our surrounding environment.
All three candidates bring valuable experience to Ventura. Let’s elect Richard Francis, Lorrie Brown and Eric Nasarenko to the Council on Nov. 5.
Diane Underhill, President
Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation
Passing the torch — Elect Francis
As Election Day approaches, it is with mixed emotions that I watch from the sidelines as the candidates for City Council reach out to the electorate, asking for their confidence and their vote. Being elected to public office is an honor and is something I take very seriously.
I know that when I first threw my hat in the ring 16 years ago I wanted to focus the city’s attention on our natural environment, especially our beaches, protecting our hillsides and water quality issues. After being on the Council, I also made a commitment to helping Ventura become a sustainable city economically, environmentally and equitably.
Through a fruitful partnership between the city and our residents, we have accomplished a lot Ventura. We have worked hard to protect our quality of life and have made great strides to help Ventura thrive, particularly in the downtown. During my tenure, we also accomplished creating a road map for Ventura’s future through the visioning process where more than 300 people participated. The resulting “Seize the Future” document is something to be proud of.
But, with the current Council, I have become concerned that our road map — the citizen’s vision — is being compromised. We seem to be at a crossroads as to whether we will stay focused on our vision or change directions. It is my hope that we stay focused and in order to do so we need to elect Council members who will carry the torch and make decisions that are in the best interest of Ventura’s citizens.
That’s why I am endorsing Richard Francis for Ventura City Council. He shares many of my values and goals for Ventura and with his wealth of experience and vision, I am confident he will serve the people of Ventura well. I hope you will join me.
Ventura City Councilmember
Don’t elect Francis
I sure hope people give some serious thought before voting for Richard Francis for Ventura City Council. Francis represents everything that’s wrong with the city of Ventura right now. During his tenure on the Council last time (from 1987-1991), Francis was a divisive force who pushed issues that were (and continue to be) detrimental to the economic prosperity of the city. Many of the overkill planning and building regulations that are in place today in Ventura are a direct result of Richard Francis’s presence on the City Council in the late ’80s and early ’90s. His mindset was always to make it more difficult for businesses to operate and thrive in the city. This, of course, has had serious long-term consequences on the city’s tax base, which continue to plague the city today.
Even as other cities rebound from the economic recession and begin to restore some of the vital services that were reduced or lost during the last five years, Ventura continues to be in cutback mode. A quick drive around the city will confirm this. Parks are being left untended, streets and medians poorly maintained, and our public safety has been compromised with a rise in crime over the last few years. People do not feel safe walking through their neighborhoods at night and residential and automobile break-ins are more frequent than they’ve ever been.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not laying all of the blame for this on one man. His votes on the Council had to be co-signed by three other members. But, the thought of returning to the days when Francis and his cohorts on the Council pushed our City backward instead of forward does not hold much appeal for me.
There are nine candidates for City Council on the ballot this year, many of whom have fresh ideas, new energy and represent a departure from the status quo at City Hall. Richard Francis is not one of them.