Minimum Wage Increase Won’t Hurt Goodwill; It Is Goodwill

Why don’t members of our business community understand simple macroeconomics? Why are they the first to justify outrageous salaries for CEOs and the first to oppose an increase in the minimum wage? Measure D will enhance our local recovery and provide needed resources to people who need it. It’s the morally right thing to do.

The data is in, folks: Lifting the minimum wage reduces worker turnover, boosts worker efforts and spurs consumer demand, according to William Lester, author of a April 2011 study in the journal Industrial. Lester asserts that business leaders in other countries—including the UK, Canada, Australia and France—recognize the economic benefits of a higher minimum wage. It also shows there is no negative impact to employment or economic growth. None. Other studies confirm those findings.

So why the unnecessary hyperbole by the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce? It is especially galling for them to say in their ballot argument that an increase in the minimum wage will cause Goodwill Industries to cut 100 job-training positions. Really? Goodwill is a $3.03 billion nonprofit company. In 2004, the Goodwill CEO in Oregon was forced to reduce his salary from $831,508 to $634,477 after an 18-month investigation. Today, that salary is again over $700,000.

Other executives of the organization nationwide routinely make mid six-figure salaries. The total cost of a $2 raise for 100 workers at 40 hours per week, with 52 weeks in the year, is $416,000 a year. Heck, Goodwill might be able to get half a CEO for that price.

For an organization that portrays itself as helping the poor, opposing the minimum wage for their workers is unconscionable. It is morally reprehensible.

But the business community is quick to defend the six-figure salaries based on a non-existent competition argument. We just don’t know how difficult it is to fill those positions if they paid $250,000 instead of $700,000. Goodwill might have to settle for a San Jose City Manager Debra Figone or some other incompetent CEO type currently making six figures.

The specious argument that it will hurt San Jose competitively is ridiculous. People don’t drive to Santa Clara or Cupertino because the dollar menu went up a quarter at the local burger joint. More importantly, you will have more people buying that burger, because they can afford it.

Maybe we should send our business community leaders to an Economics 101 class at San Jose State University. The students at that stellar institution of higher learning, who put Measure D on the ballot, obviously know something our current local business leaders do not. Clinton called it “arithmetic,” but really it’s common sense.

Rich Robinson is a political consultant in Silicon Valley.

Rich Robinson is an attorney and political consultant in Silicon Valley. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.

44 Comments

  1. You can argue for this measure based on morality, but not economics or arithmetic.

    If the minimum wage is increased 25%, there will be mathematically pressure on one or more of the following outcomes:

    1.) Prices stores charge will increase
    2.) Many low wage workers will be fired
    3.) Businesses will become less competitive to neighboring cities: Santa Clara, Cupertino, Milpitas, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos… they all serve the San Jose Market. We’re not SF or NYC where there is no comparable market nearby.

    You can say we should pass this because it is the right thing to do. But please let’s not confuse morality with economics. There is no way that the additional infusion of income into the market will outweigh the items above.

    • Doesn’t happen that way.  More likely that SC, Cupertino, Milpitas et al will pass their own minumum wage increases.  Moreover who is going to waste the gas to save 50 cents on a hamburger or drive out to Santa Clara to see a movie to save 50 cents on a ticket.

      Be real people.  The studies show this will help the economy not hurt it, as more discretionary income is produced from real consumers.

      • Rich I’m disappointed you didn’t reply back to my post but you can only reply back to so many. I have to disagree with you on SC, Cupertino, Milpitas passing their own increase in wages. Why would they? San Francisco’s minimum wage went into effect back in 2004 so that is over 8 years ago yet Daly City, San Bruno, South City, Oakland, etc have not raised it. Do you know why?? They aren’t tourist spots. San Francisco can get away with it as people come to see all the great sites and yes they won’t drive over a bridge our out of the city (don’t want to lose the parking spot) so they will pay the extra $2 for the hamburger etc. So I need to wait at least 8 years at least to see Milpitas raise their wage. LOL. Please I would love to bet on that as I’m sure but I don’t think any Las Vegas odds maker would take that bet.
        So yes my argument again is how can a small business compete in San Jose when your expenses are so much cheaper in other places. By the way not sure how you get a 50 cent increase on your burger try more like $2.00 range. Quite a few hands go into making that burger for you. Someone needs to prep the meat, cook it, wash the dishes, serve it to you, bus your table, seat you, clean the bathroom after you used it, do the books, and manage the people. So at least 9 people salary went up to just to serve that burger to you. So yes I need to raise the prices 20% to make it work. So YES I think people will not drive to San Jose to eat at my place as they say over half the people work here live outside the city. So your argument needs to take into effect at least this our its flawed and you need to vote NO on this bad measure. It needs to be state wide our San Jose will lose many SMALL businesses and hence JOBS.

      • There is absolutely no guarantee that the surrounding cities would pass their own minimum wage hike, and with more tax dollars coming their way they will have even less of an incentive to do so.

        It’s ironic that you ask who would waste gas to save 50 cents on a hamburger. First off, non-luxury businesses that choose to entirely pass the burden on consumers are looking at a 10-20% increase on prices. So if you were making minimum wage, I think you would be willing to driving another 5min or less to save several dollars on a meal for two or save a bit more on groceries. 

        For those businesses that are not planning to raise prices, they will be firing employees. Many Downtown restaurants have already said this is the plan if the measure passes.

        So in either scenario, the people that get hurt the most are going to be low wage workers. They will be hit hardest with the increased prices and they are going to be the ones to be fired first.

        It sounds like such a simple thing to increase the minimum wage by $2, but the consequences may be very severe. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

  2. No! Not Figone… She managed SJ into a near “fiscal emergency” just last year.  Oh, wait- that was a lie.  Besides, it’s not like she’s been managing the City for 8 years, right?

  3. > It also shows there is no negative impact to employment or economic growth. None. Other studies confirm those findings.

    Rich:

    You are an excellent sophist.  In fact I would go so far to say you are a superb sophist.

    Sophisty is a business. And the business of sophists is winning arguments.

    In order to win an argument though, sophists often find it necessary to leave out facts or ignore compelling counter argments.

    Your sophistic argument that “there is no negative impact to employment or economic growth” as a consequence of a politically imposed minimum wage simply does not hold up out here in the real world.

    Quoting distorted or less than comprehensive studies by other sophists—even if they’re named William Lester—doesn’t change reality.

    Here’s a challenge for you, Rich.

    Try turning off the sophist part of brain for a moment.  Excuse yourself from the need to win an argument, and allow your large, sophisticated brain to do an unconstrained search for actual real world truth.

    Then imagine that you have asked William Lester if a minimum wage of $1739.40 per hour might have a “negative impact to employment or economic growth”.

    If William Lester tells you that “there is no negative impact to employment or economic growth”, see if your brain makes you feel stupid, or does it tell you that William Lester is stupid.

    • Arguing the absurd is never a good tactic.  Here’s a question—at what point do people have enough wealth?  At what point do they give back to the country and community that helped them attain that wealth.

      The biggest crybabies are the Mitt Romneys of the world—who have it all and would deny big bird to children to save his closest rich buddies for paying another 2% of their income.

      It is absurd.  He noted 5% of the people pay 60% of the taxes—-but the top 2% own 68% of the wealth.  The top 20% own 80% of the wealth and 50% of the people in this country are the working poor. 

      We give our Executives housing allowances—to offset the cost of housing.  What about the employees?  The City makes everyone take a 10% pay cut.  The City Manager makes over $300,000.  She can still make her mortgage.  A librarian making $55,000 loses $5,000 a year and they could go under.  It’s a false equivalency.

      It is time we got our priorities straight in this country.  If hard work is supposed to pay off in this country, then let’s pay the people who actually work hard—and they are at the people who provide us our food, make our hotel beds, clean our dirty dishes, landscape our houses.

      Bill Marriott was talking about his yacht the other day and how Mitt Romney came to “rescue” him when he docked it.  Mr. Marriott can afford to pay his employees another $2 an hour—and it won’t affect his use of the yacht at all.

      In fact, according to the studies, he’ll make more money, have happier workers, less turnover and better production.  It is good all the way around.

      Greed is killing this country.

      • HI Rich last I looked Bill Gates is giving back billions to charities. Also Warren Buffet has done some great things. But yes there are some other rich people that hold their money very close to them.
        The Mitt Romneys of the world is something I disagree with. The fact is most big corporations pay less taxes then he does. Why are they located in Ireland and Grand Cayman? Those laws need changing. Like you said that is different topic.
        Yes City Managers make too much money. They should probably be let go. I’m not sure how public employees pay got so high to begin with I mean who should get 90% of there highest paycheck for rest of their life if they retire at 55. It’s not sustainable.
        The problem is Rich this minimum wage hike you are so for will kill the small business owner. Your right Mr. Marriott did some great business moves and made a lot of money now he can afford a nice yacht. It would be nice if he paid his employees more. But what about the small business? If I have a restaurant with 10 workers that is a extra $20 a hour. If I’m open 12 hours that is a extra $240 a day based on a 360 day year (holidays) that is a extra $86,400 a year I’m losing. Sorry but most restaurants are just getting by. So this will change me from being in the black to the red. I wish this Measure had something in it that would let me get out of my lease without claiming bankruptcy. So its not about greed its about keeping the doors open to be competitive. Why don’t you want me to be competitive?
        Greed is killing this country. It started with NAFTA as jobs went south of the border. Then people aren’t being trained for jobs of tomorrow. But again this Measure will kill most small business paying low wages.
        Looking forward to your response!

        • OK how does this business model not change. Are not wages, employee taxes, etc not a expense? When expenses go up profit goes down? Did you ever make a profit or look at your books Rich? I mean you either have to create more volume or raise your prices. I guess you can cut expenses. Right NO need to advertise. No matter how you look at it your at a HUGE disadvantage to the other cities.
          Also your last comment is really scary. I’m guessing your business went belly up as it sounds like you believe no owner should make more then there lowest paid employee. I hope you go to your boss and ask to lower your wage then to the guy that cleans the toilets. If not your a hypocrite…Just sayin’

        • Now your just making fun of my crappy situation with this crappy Measure. You really think I’m paying overtime?? Those numbers are averages. Unless you put a big river around San Jose and charge $6 tolls to cross the bridge like SF this is a huge business killer. You can spin it all you like but high school kids won’t get hired business either cut hours or raise prices. Who wants to hire first time job seekers when you have people from Fremont on trying to get a job. I know Rich you think people drive all over the place to see the Google building though last I recall it was in Mountain View but you know they will keep driving to pay a higher price for that burger. Come on do you really really believe what your writing?? Sounds like your just pissed off that your business failed so now your writing on Measures the will help others fail.
          PS I agree wages need to go up but in a way where you aren’t killing most small businesses.
          PSS I think if this passes you will need to increase the fire department as there might be a lot of arson to businesses as owners try to get out of there leases..

        • Having owned one myself, restaraunts are a tough business—no doubt.  I don’t know of any that make money on food service alone.  Either they have alcohol—which becomes their profit center or they cater which gives them a profit.

          But that business model does not change with a minimum wage increase. 

          My question is how many meals a day do you serve with 10 employees over 12 hours?  What is the current food cost and OH?  What is the daily profit?  How much do you really have to adjust in pricing to make that money back?  You would know the answers to that, I would not.

          But if your margin is only $240 a day—with 10 employees—your business model is flawed and not sustainable for the longterm anyway. 

          But do note that if you own the restaraunt and are making $240 a day, you are making 100% more as the owner—than the people you pay $10 an hour.

          Just sayin’. . .

        • One more thought—I assume all 10 are not working 12 hours a day.  So the labor cost is probably less—if they are working more than 8 hours a day, you will save money based on the overtime I am sure you are paying.  wink

          Rich

  4. Let’s review the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce endorsements:

    Measure A, sales tax increase – NO
    Measure B, water district parcel tax – YES
    Measure D, minimum wage – NO
    water district district 2:  Drew Spitzer then changed its mind.

    These people are either free thinkers, or they’re dumb as wood.

  5. It’s not greed that’s killing this country. It’s government interference and meddling by ‘do gooders’ that’s killing this country.
    Liberal actions such as minimum wage increases actually help to further prop up the circumstances that have led to the gigantic disparity between rich and poor. You want more people to stay in their crummy low level jobs? Then pay them more. Way to go Rich.

  6. Just to get this straight:

    Robinson thinks that San Jose should pass a measure written by a sociology professor and his students (at least one of whom works for the Council). 

    His reasoning is based an article written by a Assistant professor of planning and labor researcher from Berkley about municipal construction projects (none of which pay minimum wage).

    At the same time, Robinson dismisses a study by a renown economist (Dr. Chris Thornberg who is the keynote for San Jose State’s Economic Forecast) that outlines both positive and negative impacts; although the net impact is negative (-3100 jobs, -$50 million economy).

    Proponents continue ignore facts:

    -Failure to include exemption for small businesses as San Francisco did; even SF noted the impact on jobs as justified exempting small businesses.

    -Measure D would add more than $612,000 in new city bureaucracy (a judge ordered their claim that Measure D did NOT do this be removed from the ballot argument);

    -Creating a whole new type of lawsuit that could be most costly provision of Measure D.

    -Failure to exempt non-profit organizations, even those that provide job-training to employment-challenged individuals.

    -Failure to account for tipped employees who receive the largest part of their compensation from gratuities.

    There are significant efforts at both the state and federal level to raise the minimum wage in a more balanced, thoughtful manner – without all the flaws of Measure D.

    • The whole point of a minimum wage is that it is a floor.  Tad would have you except tth people who are unworthey of that protection.  Why>  Because they work for nonprofits or small business

      Most people work for small businesses and nonprofits.  The key is in the business model for each and insuring that revenues cover the costs.  Most small businesses already pay their employees more than the minimum wage in Silicon Valley. 

      But Goodwill does not—they threaten to cut employees and they are a $3 billion plus nonprofit.  They pay their executives in the high six figures.  Tad thinks they should be exempt.  Marriott, Hilton and other hotel chains routinely pay less than market—-they employ many who are paid minimum wage. 

      Lawsuits—if you don’t pay your workers you get sued.  Friviolous lawsuts are a myth.  But that is a debate for another time.

      Paying your waitress another $2 an hour is not a big deal even if the $1 menu goes up to a $1.25. 

      Waiting for the legislature and Feds—given the Republican war on the poor and their use of minority party stalling tactics is not a solution.  Tad knows that better than anyone.

      As for me, I’ll go with the sociology professor and his studens.  Waith for the republican house or the state legislature.  LOL

      • Rich why would the menu price go up from a $1 to $1.25? Please let me know where you dine? Try the burger will go from $8 to $10. For a family of four they will drive somewhere else. The reason the state legislature hasn’t taken it on as they know CA is business unfriendly. They are moving out to other states like Texas where its easier to do business. Why don’t you think we have manufactoring jobs they all went to other countries cause they pay less. I wish you would actually talk to a small business owner here and see how hard it is to do business here. The fact is no small business will want to stay in San Jose.  So that means less jobs for people. Why don’t you understand that? Why don’t you open a small restaurant up and give your staff $12 a hour. Don’t give me the excuse I don’t want to. The fact is its very hard and paying that wage your uncompetitive and you will lose your shirt with huge losses.

  7. It is interesting that when facing any facts, proponents like Robinson, shift into emotional-overdrive.

    “War on the poor”? Seriously, even you can’t believe that. Measure D won’t affect George Bush, Carly Fiorina or Steve Jobs. 

    It will affect Adopho Gomez, who owns and operates Mezcal restaurant in downtown.  Most of his servers make well over $10 per hour already (some as much as twice that), counting gratuities. 

    But Measure D failed to consider gratuities (just another flaw in D).  Adopho is unsure how he could pay an extra $25,000 in pay and payroll taxes, but expects that he’ll have to cut hours, especially in the “back of the house” – where most of the people making minimum wage work.

    Measure D is too flawed.  And proponents reliance on emotional devises indicates that they know it, too.

  8. No, really, it is greed.

    BTW:  How is that upward mobility working for the middle class?  It was not government regulation that tanked the economy—it was the lack of it.

    • Rich I wish you owned a business our sat down to talk to a business owner and looked over a P&L statement. I agree with you on lack of government regulation that killed the economy. People should never gotten the loans they got and houses should never have been appraised as high as they were so then the loan wouldn’t have gone through. It was the Republicans fault and Democrats fault. You need rules to play a fair game. One of the last great Presidents Teddy Rooselvelt who broke up the big companies. He kept things fair. Please tell me what is fair to have a bigger expense in one city then another city namely wages. As a business you just can’t compete. San Jose is NOT a tourist destination sorry to say. Santa Row is and they will probably be fine but the rest. NOPE.

      • I do own a business.  I’ve had a small business for many years.  Always paid employees more than minimum wage.

        The argument goes if you raise minimum wage in a city is is unfair because you compete with other cities.  If you raise in in the state, an unfair disadvantage is given because we compete with other states.  An increase nationally puts us at a disadvantage in the global market place.

        Tired of the hyperbole?  We live in Silicon Valley,  other cities will follow San Jose’s lead—as SJ is following SF’s lead.  As for us not being a tourist destination, that has never been the Chamber line before—on the contrary, we have so much to offer.

        SF doesn’t have Silicon Valley, Apple, Intel, Google, Yahoo, Adobe, the Sharks or the 49ers et al.  We can compete and we can lead.

        Nobody is going to use $1.00 worth of gas to save 50 cents on a burger or choose SF over SJ for $2 a room (SJ hotel prices will still be far less).  Come on people.  This is about the lives of those who make less than $10 an hour.

        Have you no conscience, have you no conscience at all?

        • What was your business Rich? I’m barely in the black right now. This would throw me in the red as I would have to give across the board pay raises or cut hours and tell people to work harder.
          Your argument makes sense on someone has to start the process. Its easiest to start on the national level as the company has to relocate to another country which is very expensive. That is what needs to be done.
          NO other city aren’t following the lead. If they did the mayor and city council would support it. This is just a small rogue group of kids that want higher pay cause they feel entitled. I guess in your world a writer for a blog should get paid the same as a dishwasher. I disagree the dishwasher is a entry level job. Hopefully they will be trained as a cook then head cook etc. More skills = more $$$$
          All those companies that mean nothing to the local tourist. The reason SF can have a high min wage is due to the tourist they don’t mind paying higher prices by the wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, etc. I don’t recall the last time on a game show someone was given a trip to San Jose to see the google building or yahoo building. Yes it helps the business right there. Well actually google gives free lunches, child care, etc..so they mean nothing to the small business there. So I miss why that is a selling point? So no San Jose can not compete on that.
          Are you kidding me .50 cents on a hamburger. Read some of my other posts it takes around 9 employees all paid higher to make that burger all making $2 more. Sorry the floor supervisor of the place making $10 a hour won’t be happy if the dishwasher makes the same. You need to give everybody a raise. So your hamburgers need to go from $8 to $10 bucks to maintain your same rate of return of investment.
          To say I have no conscience. Sorry I don’t want to lose my home and retirement trying to compete in a unfair business climate. PLease Rich.. add to the Measure I can get out of my lease and get my deposit back!! Don’t you have a conscience.
          By the way once I close you will have a extra 20 people looking for work. Then what?? Will you re-open this business you talk about.

        • so so..your back. Thanks maybe your violin will be the game changer and people will run to eat at my place and pay the higher price for the food since they can go to the city next door and pay less. Thanks for the help. Your a business Genius

        • wow dmc your comparing MLK to this. Why not throw in the taliban. I mean they actually die for there cause. You must be on some good acid for that comparison with the people you mention. 
          Fact is when I was a kid I wanted a huge wage. Way back in the day 3.35 was to low. It should have been 9 bucks. I could have taken some really cool trips to Europe. Oh wait throws out that theory people will spend all that money right in the same city.
          Wish your group of meadling kids actually opened a business and paid the employees the extra $2 a hour and see how long it stayed open before it bled to death. Fact is having a business in CA is very hard. Hence why they are moving at of the state. Having one in San Jose being a non tourist city will be near impossible. I’m talking about small businesses by the way. This crushes the lower to middle class business owner. Will the rich suffer probably not.
          But to compare MLK and others to what they were fighting for to this is crazy.
          To say I have no substance. Sorry bud or as Joe Biden loved saying in his debate friend no substance I have hard facts. I have a P&L statement. Have you ever seen one. Most business barely turn a profit and you want to take that away. I get it min wage is to low but you need to do it on a national level. Or put toll roads up going into and out of San Jose to keep the people here to pay the higher prices. Curious what happens if this horrible crappy measure passes then I go to the red (means I have a loss) do I file a claim since now I lose $30 a hour.
          Sorry Spartans aren’t all for it. Anybody who knows someone or owns a small business is against this Measure. No on Measure D as it just Dumb

        • I’m using the term kids as I was one myself. I would love to get paid more. I feel I was worth big bucks. But the fact of the day is I’m worth what the market is willing to pay me. I’m worth more now because I have a skill set. So guess what you get paid more. WOW. I’ll keep it simple for you why does a cook make more then a dishwasher? Or a manager of a store make more then the busboy? In your world they should be paid the same. Doesn’t matter if the owner of the business makes money. Spread the wealth around huh!! Man I bet you miss the days of communism. Oh wait that proved to not work. Well sounds like your doing your own experiment with some lazy KIDS here in San Jose. Choose another city buddy…

        • @ Jeff Mills-This is just a small rogue group of kids that want higher pay cause they feel entitled. “Yes and we would have gotten away with it too if it hadnt been for those meadling kids!“put that in your mouth because you’ll be saying that come Nov 6th- LOL. I’ll be damned if you say anything negative about the character of the students. You dont know anyone of the students-NOT ONE so please kindly shut the hell up!!Please & Thank you. The use of ad hominem attacks only shows you have no substance behind you arguement. Usually people say that “kids” just dont care about anything nowadays and that they dont do anything productive but tweet and facebook..clearly a case of damned if you do..damned if you dont-by the way we are all grown ass adults so take your condescending tone elsewhere. Dr Martin Luther King Jr was seen as a trouble maker,Cesar Chavez as a trouble maker,Dolores Huerta as a trouble maker, John Carlos and Tommy Smith as trouble makers, even Jesus was seen as a trouble maker. Each known for fighting for :respect,dignity,equality and fairness ..so I am in good company and wear the title as a badge of honor. We in no way feel entitled to anything we feel obligated and honored to keep the tradition of activism. San Jose State has a legacy of student activism. Our campus is flanked with activist such as John Carlos and Tommy Smith,Dolores Huerta,Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and Cesar Chavez. These people fought and died for the same thing we are fighting for now with Measure D. Fairness,equality and respect. They faced opposition from the same type of people that are opposing us. Martin Luther King Jr’s last speech before his untimely death was concerning fair pay. “Do you know that most of the poor people in our country are working every day? And they are making wages so low that they cannot begin to function in the mainstream of the economic life of our nation. These are facts which must be seen, and it is criminal to have people working on a full-time basis and a full-time job getting part-time income.”-MLK 1968. The time is now 2012 to pick up the torch…the time is NOW to VOTE YES ON D!!!  We will not be silenced and we will not wait for someone else to take the lead. As You can not lead from behind. The time is now..Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Dr. MLK . We Spartans embrace our “ROUGE” legacy VOTE YES ON D

        • Vote YES ON D-Dr. Im not comparing MLK to this as he is included in this as this was a part of his dream and legacy. MLK Jr was assassinated just days after he gave this speech to Memphis Sanitation Workers(fightening for the exact same thing).“Do you know that most of the poor people in our country are working every day? And they are making wages so low that they cannot begin to function in the mainstream of the economic life of our nation. These are facts which must be seen, and it is criminal to have people working on a full-time basis and a full-time job getting part-time income”- MLK. The comparision between the students of San Jose State and Dr Martin Luther King Jr is valid as he was one of the sources of motivation,enouragement and inspiration for Measure D because “it is criminal to have people working on a full-time basis and a full-time job getting part-time income”- Who are you to tell anyone that they are not the next Martin Luther King Jr? Cesar Chavez & Dolores Huerta fought for worker rights-fair pay,John Carlos(who endorsed Measure D on Wednesday when he returned to his SJSU home fought against poverty and encouraged us to make our own legacy) Im sorry your business may go under but you arent too big to fail!  And we will not allow to take us all down with you. You gotta break a few eggs to make an omlet and pull out the weeds to see the garden. I want to bring this conversation back on topic we are talking about 40,000 minimum wage workers. These people are the working poor. They are for the most part the invisible poor. The invisible poor that businesses has been ignoring in the silicon valley. Visible or not they are a reality in the current American economy. However all you want to talk about is your selfish a$$. Get over yourself and please dont say your worried about your employees. You are worried about you. Every other sentence thus far has been I I,I…Me, Me, Me.  Your a typical crab in the bucket- you see someone trying to get out of the pot and you pull them back down. You have alot of nerve asking for everyone to subsidize your employees because your company is on life support. You’ve said it time and time again $8 is not enough. At less than $10/hr it’s not feasible to work in this high cost town. The rents are way too high for wages lower than these. It’s not worth getting the job or doing the job unless it’s feasible, and job pays the bills.
          You know you re not paying yor employees enough to survive here in San Jose . You know first hand that not all minimum wage workers are kids. Some of your employees have families and the sad part is you just dont give a damn. How can you be mad about people not spending their money locally? When you dont even pay them enough money to live locally(you are so backwards). We should blame you & those like you for driving them out of the city!!! If you have to wait for California or anyone else to do the right thing your are pathetic SMH… Doing the right thing is not easy that is why it is called the path least chosen.BTW real men lead they dont follow. You dont need everyone else to be onboard to do the right thing do you ? Man up Jeff!! -being right isnt always popular and being popular isnt always right..Vote YES ON D-

        • The problem is DMC these people that as you say that make min wage with families don’t have skills to further themselves. Why don’t you put your effort to get them trained. Basically the school system failed them if all they can get is a min wage job. Do you agree or disagree? Are you making $8 a hour DMC? If not why not. Do you have skills which got you more money. The next problem I have with this is high school kids. You are throwing them under the buss. Yes I do hire first time job seekers and pay them $8 a hour. Sorry but that is all they are worth. Once they prove themselves they get raises. Guess what some of them I let go. I wouldn’t pay them $3 a hour. They show up late, don’t work hard..etc.. My business yes mine I can call it something else but the fact is I’m in business to make money. Just like the college teacher telling his kids to raise the wage is getting a paycheck. I don’t hear him saying let me earn $10 a hour. That is another beef. Why is college tuition so darn high??? Sorry even making $10 a hour you can’t afford tuition. Let’s lower wages and bring the cost of schooling back down. Not sure why college admin and teachers need to be paid so much. Most of them failed in the real world. But that is another issue. Sorry DMC businesses need to make a profit. So tell me DMC why are prices higher in SF then in SJ? The fact is when you raise the wage there are less jobs. Why settle for $10 why not $20 plus add health benefits. Lets do it right DMC. The big companies can do it right? Why were you so cheap. Be a leader.. To be honest $10 still doesn’t pay the rent right? I’m not sure if $20 does. Plus you need health benefits. So should I call you a pathetic SMH then since you asked for so little?
          The fact is colleges need to lower fees then all these people can get trained and make higher wages. Instead selfesh SMH as you like to say think raising a wage will cure all. BS. Fact most college teacher failed in real life and should be paid low wages as they can’t get in the work force. If they didn’t demand such high wages then we could teach our lower class decent skills. CA schools have failed us and charge high fees to boot. Lower wages for college teachers = better skilled workers. Vote NO D as its Dumb and get a Measure to cap teacher salaries so we can teach min wage workers real skills.
          Lastly DMC remember you can give a man a fish to eat but then he is still needing more. But if you teach him to fish guess what he can now feed his family. Teach these people real skills and stop picking on a minority. And yes small business is minority in this town.

        • Like I said some of your employees have families and you just dont give a damn. How can you put the words “people” and “worth” in the same sentence… you are distgusting. In regards to “you can give a MAN a fish to eat but then he is still needing more”..Jeff you are that man.I have no problem being a leader look at the November Ballot Jeff..The proof is in Measure “D”-MC you however will always be a follower. You want to point the finger at anyone and everyone but yourself. Be an adult, be responsible, be accountable for you own actions.(Remember whenever you point your figure there are always 3 more pointing back at you.) Im not going to bother jumping from topic to topic with you as you as you chase your own tail.You have no value for people . May the same people you stepped on to get where you are meet you at the voting polls.

        • Here is the thing DMC why don’t you go open a place to eat in SJ and be a man and pay your servers and such $10 a hour and see how long your in business. You can be a man borrow money from the bank once it runs out and then family members then maybe friends until your just done. Guess what now your broke or bankrupt. This is what you are telling me to do. All your doing is telling a small group of people to lose there business why you sit back and pat yourself on the back that you did something. Really really sad. Sorry min wage job is that a unskilled job. I train my people and encourage them to get better skills so they can move up and get paid more. Why don’t we raise it to $40 bucks a hour. Why are you being so cheap with small businesses money DMC. It’s no skin off your back. I am jumping around because your Measure all it does is make matters worse. The only political people for it are looking for votes or want to see SJ fail.

  9. How do they get to work?  I work in downtown, live in Cupertino.  I spend most of my money in San Jose because that is where I am most of the day.

    Steve Jobs paid himself $1 in salary—taxed at 38%, is income was derived mostly from capital gains, taxed at 15% before deductions.  There is a reason.

    And for every Steve Jobs there is a Carly Fiorina—HP is still paying the price for her “vision”.  Did she give the money back?  What about all those Bank CEOs who stole the taxpayer money during the TARP bailout—you know the risk takers—who paid for that—it was the homeowner and their family.

    The rich are too big to fail.  Mitt Romney loves to fire people, BK companies, sell their assets and make a profit.  And if you don’t like it, you are a commie.

    Failures in business like George Bush Jr. become President—yet the middle class and the poor take it on the chin.

    It is crazy.

    • Why are you taking the small business owner and making them take it on the chin? Last time I drove around San Jose all I saw was small business. I took my retirement to open a business and now with this Measure I will probably lose it if it passes. Sorry I’m just now making a small profit. If I knew about this Measure I would have opened it in Santa Clara. Last time I looked Bank CEOs aren’t small businesses. I didn’t get any TARP money. So I’m not sure what this has to do with Measure D. Sounds like your just really annoyed there are rich people out there! FYI George Bush isn’t a JR. His dad has a different middle name. He actually did well with the Texas Rangers and made a lot of money. Though his last name gave him a LOT of contacts to do the deal. But was J LO worth that much on American Idol? What about Simon?
      Rich sounds like you want to fix the world of rich people which is great. What needs to be done is training people. Our skills are failing. You need to get the call centers and such back to this country. Everything is being shipped overseas. Why is a guy in India reading my Xray? That is a job that should be here. Those are your problems. Fix that!! Don’t put the small business guy trying to sell hamburgers out of business. NO on Measure D as its Dumb. Fix the job market that right way.

  10. Kudos to Rich for pointing out some of the flaws in our “non-profit” sector where many, many people work for minimum wage while head office types take home outrageous compensation packages.  Santa Clara County is full of a range of noble intentioned charitable organizations that have been cutting services while maintaining executive pay.  A little social justice in the non-profit sector wouldn’t hurt at all, and might remind these folks what they are really supposed to be doing.

    As far as raising the minimum wage for everyone, we all know its a political football like tax rates that gets punted around Sacramento and Washington and only raised when everyone agrees its too low (from Arkansas to Ohio).  The Bay Area is different.  This is an expensive place to live and work, and the cost of importing “cheap” labor is that the roads are clogged more and more with folks commuting long distances to jobs from places with more affordable housing.  A modest increase in the minimum wage might hurt a little in the short run, but it could also create a “rising tide” where more folks can afford to both work and live in our communities.  I think I’d prefer that over “trickle down” economics where we need to subsidize the rich a little more and hope they hire more servants.

    • Blair what is cheap labor kids at 16 or people with no skills at 25. Why do we have to import tech talent when there are so many people out of work. The fact is a dishwashing job is min wage. It should be about $7.25 a hour. Goes back to the people picking the fruit. Do you want to pay them $10 a hour. Now your Orange needs to cost $2.00 Orange. Will you pay it. Lot of people say let gas become $5 a gallon when it did everybody got pissed.
      So Blair your saying someone stacking shelves with no skills should make as much as the manager?
      I think the main problem is workers need better skills or there needs to be more jobs. That fact is if there aren’t workers to fill the jobs the wages go up. Let at the Dakotas. They are getting $15 a hour at McDonalds. No workers. There are to many people living here with not enough housing to keep wages down and housing up.
      People by the way McDonalds is a franchise. Owned by a small business owner. Tired of articles saying its a big corporation.

      • je you have an alternate perspective on the situation-one that should be valued but is instead sneered at by our ‘progressive’ counterparts.
        A labor shortage is exactly what’s needed to even out our economy and lessen the gap between the haves and the have nots.
        But the ‘progressive’ do gooders in government aren’t satisfied looking after the people of their own country. Noooo. That’s not good enough for these egotists. They have to save the entire planet. And they have no qualms about stabbing their so-called ‘constituents’ in the back- people like you and me- by advocating for open borders and non enforcement of U.S. employment and immigration laws, thus flooding our labor market with workers who are delighted just to have a job. Any job. Even a minimum wage job.
        So thanks to these ‘do gooders’ our own born and raised Americans are continually undermined by an imported labor force that is quite happy to work for minimum wage. Wherever it’s set.

        And it’s big corporations that benefit from these minimum wage laws. Corporations, by their very nature are totally committed to the business of business. They are not going to go away just because some spoiled bunch of college students who don’t have a clue about hard work and their revered liberal spoiled State paid employee professor manage to convince the voters to raise the minimum wage by two bucks.
        Minimum wage laws clear the playing field for the Walmarts of the world by discouraging and financially burdening smaller competitors who have neither the same resiliency nor the economies of scale on which to fall back when costs unexpectedly increase.

        So on behalf of Walmart, McDonalds, Target, Citibank, Home Depot, etc.;

        Rich Robinson- “We salute you! Thank you sir. YOU. You and and your gigantic ego and your hubris. YOU are are the reason that we corporations have taken over this country.”

      • You know there used to be a “training wage” or something for those 16 years olds that was .50 cents or so below the minimum wage.  Perhaps if this has been eliminated, it can be brought back in the implementation of this new plan?

        I kinda think public policy is a moving target where no one plan or solution really is going to solve the problems people care about.  You have to keep working on it and not just pass the buck to future generations and kick the can down the road.  You also can’t sit on your hands and do nothing because you don’t see a perfect solution in the offing.  Kind of like national elections and state ballot measures, you suck it up and vote for stuff that looks like it’ll do more good than harm.

        • Makes sense. At least you can see the effect. This Measure is death to any small business. The food service industry is toast.

  11. Rich your argument makes zero sense. First most of the workers I believe over 60% live outside the city of San Jose.  So why would they come back and spend all that extra money that the employer is paying them on a business that either has to charge more for their goods or services. Most of them actually send the money back to their home country. Should the min. wage be raised of course. But not one city. The examples you give our whole countries not just one city. So your argument there makes zero sense.  Now if San Jose was a huge tourist area like say Hawaii then you can get away with it for most of the businesses in the area.  It’s not..not even close..the downtown is barely hanging on. The only place that wouldn’t be effected is Santana Row. So kill all the small business which kills sales tax revenue etc. It has a huge chain reaction.
    On being ticked off a CEO makes so much money. Well most of them make it. It goes back to you pay for talent. How do certain QB’s in football make the huge bucks but the backups don’t. Well they have to do there job. If they don’t they get let go. Not sure why you would bring up his salary. I guess you think a CEO doesn’t do much in running a company. Tell that to the late Steve Jobs. He turned around Apple from almost bankrupt to the largest company in the world. Of course we make all the Iphone’s here in the states right??
    Should min wage be raised of course. But you need to do it on a state level so you can compete. Really you need to do it at the federal level. But of course you will here a sucking sound as more jobs go out of the country. This measure is just Dumb. Vote No on Measure D as its Dumb.

  12. I’ve given more thought to this debate. The fact is Rich I’m guessing you make more then $8 a hour. Why is that? Is it because you have a skill and someone will pay you extra for it. Ding Ding DIng. So if there that many min wage jobs out there why don’t these people get skills like yourself and better themselves. They then could get out of the way for the next generation of high school kids to get jobs. Why is teen unemployment so high this might be the cause. If you educate people its a win win for everybody. But the main problem is colleges charge way to much. They raised there prices faster then the price of gasoline. Basically in my opinion you have overpaid college teachers and admins. Get that down and you fix your whole problem. Like I said before this Measure is just Dumb. And to have DMC compare unskilled labor to people getting discriminated because of color aka the comparison to MLK is just so so wrong. All your doing is putting a band aid on the main problem. I just read a article there aren’t enough welders you telling me none of these 40,000 you claim min wage people can’t pick up that skill. Give me a break.
    Try backing something that benefits everybody instead of a select few. Even saying San Jose is a tourist destination..That would make the John Stewart show as a dumb comment. Oh we have Google. No that is in another town. Apple nope goldfish still another town. Sorry San Jose doesn’t have anything except I will give you Santana Row which you didn’t even mention. I request you write a new article and tell your readers what really should be done. Find these people skills and guess what everyone wins. Better wages.. Better Business.

  13. je—

    No one is suggesting that a dishwasher should make as much as the manager. The problem is that you need a wage floor which ensures that someone can make a basic living.

    At $8 an hour, one makes $1280, but that’s before taxes. After taxes it is $549 a paycheck every two weeks or $1098 a month.

    Personally I make minimum wage right now and I pay $630 a month in rent (that includes utilities), which is too much for my wage, but I want to live in downtown because I don’t have a car; I’m actually very fiscally conservative, but socially liberal. So, let’s look at the cost of a living space in San Jose on craigslist:

    A room in someone else’s apartment can be had for $300 a month, which is 30% of the monthly pay at minimum wage (what they say one should spend on housing), but that there are only 582 of those, and the good locations downtown are more like $550. I imagine more than 582 people make minimum wage in San Jose. Let’s look at apartments. 1458 of those were found in the five San Jose neighborhoods on craigslist. The cheapest apartment listed is $725 for a studio in East San Jose (one of your “bad neighborhoods”). That’s about 70% of someone’s income at what the minimum wage was before Measure D.

    Remember, we haven’t even covered the cost of food, clothing, etc.

    So it isn’t about how much someone is paid compared to others, but rather, whether there is a floor which allows one to live in this City.

    The other important aspect of Measure D is that it requires the minimum wage to raise with inflation (cost of living increase). This is key; otherwise the minimum wage quickly becomes meaningless. Why this is not a federal law—the minimum wage automatically raising with inflation—is not clear to me (other than “politics”).

    I served in the United States Navy on submarines from 1999 to 2003. I have an honorable discharge. My rating was STS(SS): “sonar technician submarines (qualified in submarines)”. I served on the submarines USS Florida (SSBN-728) and USS Asheville (SSN-758). My DD-214 lists 365 total days at sea (on submarines). The longest I have been underwater on the boat is 87 days. I did not get a “C” school, which to my understanding would including training in soldering etc.; I only got “A” school which is a sonar operator school. When I enlisted, to get a “C” school I would have had to reenlist for another four years. Ironically, right after I signed up they fixed that so everybody gets “C” school in my rating.

    Regardless, when I got out of the USN, I was an E-4, Petty Officer Third Class, and I made the base pay for an E-4 plus sea pay and submarine pay. If I recall correctly, I made $1800 a month total.

    So I’m being paid less now than when I was in the Navy, but my skill set has not been reduced. In fact, shortly after I got out, I went and got a CompTIA A+ Certification, it is an industry standard for computer desktop technicians. I haven’t been able to do much with it since I don’t know how to drive (I never learned in high school). I have applied at Best Buy, etc., and I continue to apply for jobs at such places, but no luck yet. Jobs aren’t falling from trees these days.

    I’ve actually been stuck at minimum wage for six years now, but from 2003 to 2010, I was in Morgan Hill and, as I said, I didn’t have a car or know how to drive, which limited my opportunities. I have now moved into San Jose and am going back to college (I was in college when I left to join the Navy) on the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I’m studying computer science again, planning to get an AA in Network Administration from De Anza College, and later a BS in Software Engineering from SJSU.

    I suppose my point, je, is that not every US citizen who makes minimum wage is necessarily worthless or has no skills. I would argue those are the minority. You said yourself that only some of your minimum wage employees end up being fired because they don’t meet your standard. That tells me that most of your workers are, in fact, worth more than the minimum wage, they just haven’t demonstrated it to you yet.

    The floor doesn’t have to be $20/hour, it just has to be enough so that someone could afford a decent place to live as well as eat three square meals a day, and the floor has to adjust with inflation so it continues to perform its intended function.

    Your thoughts, sir?

    • Sounds like you have had a rough time at it. Well you will be getting a raise soon since this did pass. The question is will you still have the hours. We are already cutting back on hours for people and raising the prices. I just went to get a pizza the other day. The soda was $2.50. That is way to high but they said they need to charge it to cover expenses. Everything has gone up in San Jose. I don’t shop there cause of it. I buy my stuff on my way home in other cities. I know I’ve talked to other owners of places in those cities. They love that they are getting more business.
      I’ve heard places aren’t hiring now also. We are taking a different approach were cutting people that don’t work hard.
      All I can say is I hope your hours don’t get cut. Sucks not to have a job right now.
      Good luck