Long-term effects of a minimum-wage hike

The Oct. 16 article, "Momentum builds for minimum-wage hike," left out the other side of the issue. Ross Eisenbrey, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said, referring to Republicans: "They can do what they think is economically right." As a Republican, I expected an explanation of what Republicans think is right, and there was none. My dad explained to me years ago that raising the minimum wage is like adding more water to a lake: It raises all the boats. If you raise the wage of the newest guy, the guy who was already making that amount wants more money, too, and so on. You can't artificially raise wages in a free economy. The economy just rebalances itself: Over time, to absorb the higher cost of labor, the cost of everything goes up, too.

I've long wanted to end poverty. In college, I decided that education was the solution. So I taught high school kids who were "falling through the cracks." I found that personal and home problems really could explain their failure at school. Later, I took in a homeless person. I finally realized that the solution could only come through churches. The problems faced by the poor get back to a need for love, healing, and morality. The government cannot mandate that, and it can't solve every problem. I redoubled my interest and work in church, and I hope everyone will.
Laurie Whitehead
Alexandria, Va.

I read with interest the Oct. 16 article about the minimum wage. Why can't the US Congress approve a minimum-wage increase with an automatic increase tied to the cost of living? As the cost of living increases, the minimum wage should increase by the same amount – without requiring additional congressional action.
Paul Feiner
Greenburgh, N.Y.

Theft from home builders is rising, too

The Oct. 12 article, "Why farm belt sees rising crime wave," touches on a challenge also faced by home builders. With the price of copper, brass, and aluminum increasing, we in the home-building industry are seeing increases in theft of copper wire already installed in new homes, copper water meters, aluminum siding, and building materials and tools on job sites.

The City Council in Lincoln, Neb., is voting on an ordinance that ultimately should help curb thieves from "fencing" the stolen materials through local salvage yards. It will require complete ID and a fingerprint on individuals who do not have a salvage permit. Although the ordinance puts more safeguards into the transaction, it should create a disincentive for thieves to take their stolen materials to a local salvage yard for a quick profit. It's unfortunate to see crews going into private or government forests and cutting timber or stealing nuts and fruit. Imagine having to brand individual vegetables to thwart theft!
Fred A. Hoke
Government affairs director, Home Builders Association of Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb.

Implications of income inequality

Regarding the Oct. 2 article, "Are we rich if we don't feed the poor?": The First World cannot enjoy its riches without harming anyone because all its money changes life for the Third World. A July 2005 article in the American Journal of Public Health showed income inequality, more closely than poverty per se, correlates with violent adolescent male behavior and adolescent unwed pregnancy. Is it a stretch to believe that hopeless people in the Third World can be incited to violence for perceived inequities?
Larry Donohue

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