Don’t let emotions dictate policy on minimum wage

Democrats in Congress are calling for, and it is being echoed by emotional editorial boards around this country, the minimum wage to be increased to over $10.25 per hour, which is an increase of roughly 39 percent without any regard as to the outcome. 

They call for increasing the wages of those who have little or no experience and no or few discernible skills; what amount of increase do they call for for those who have a few years of experience or have acquired needed skills or education? Do they not care about the other working Americans? To be fair, should everyone not also receive a 39 percent increase? 

I now ask, would you be willing to pay 39 percent more to the person who cuts your grass or hair or a plumber fixing a leak or a doctor healing your illness? I could go on and on to find out where your concerns for fairness end and the concerns over your pocketbook begin. 

I am sure there would be a point at which everyone would say enough is enough, a dollar amount may vary from person to person. Some may even call for a maximum wage; we must not pay someone too much. It is those evil CEOs who make too much money.

We have heard of the rich evil capitalist CEOs making their millions while their poor workers with little or no experience and few if any skills suffer at the minimum wage. As the CEO of your family, how much would you pay a person with no experience or skills to cut your hair, a temp to fix a leak in your plumbing or cure you or your child’s illness? 

I would dare to suggest that if we increase the minimum wage by 39 percent we will see others demanding wage increases and companies cutting back on the low-skilled and no-experience minimum wage workers, raising prices on everything, and the minimum wage workers will be fewer in number and their plight will remain the same, and those let go will be worse off.

Emotional-based actions with no thought as to the outcome always spawn unforeseen consequences and more misery.

From Jim Posmer, Polk City, Fla.

Puerto Rico’s primary focus is its economy

Since January, the García Padilla administration has been working tirelessly to improve the economy, create jobs and fight crime in Puerto Rico.

Instead of joining us in addressing these very important issues that dictate the quality of life on our island, proponents of making Puerto Rico the 51st state have chosen to focus on misrepresenting the outcome of the 2012 status plebiscite. Unfortunately, some continue to falsely claim that a majority of Puerto Ricans voted in support of statehood.

The reality is that the 2012 vote represents the fourth time that the voters have rejected statehood. Last year, statehood received only 44.4 percent of the votes cast, and nearly 500,000 ballots were left blank was an act of protest to the biased structure of the plebiscite. These numbers are a far cry from a majority support for statehood.

The fact remains that commonwealth status is the only option that allows the island to maintain its instrumental fiscal autonomy, which has allowed the all-star island to become the manufacturing powerhouse of the Caribbean while retaining its unique cultural heritage and strong national identity. Puerto Ricans have consistently voted in favor of enhancing the commonwealth each time it has been on the ballot, and we will continue to pursue a true process of self-determination that includes all valid options.

While some may continue to have different views concerning our relationship with the United States, we should be united in our desire to improve the quality of life on our island and for our people. Our primary focus should be on our economy. Stabilizing our finances, creating jobs and improving public security need to be our priorities in order to improve the quality of life for all Puerto Ricans. And that is exactly what our administration will continue to do in the months and years ahead. 

From Juan E. Hernández, director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration and a former senator of Puerto Rico, from 2005 to 2012, Washington, D.C.

By-the-numbers outlook misses the bigger picture

Since the beginning of the Great Recession, the federal government has paid “X” toward long-term unemployment insurance benefits. To continue them this year, it will cost “Y,” less than the previous annual expenditures that began under former President George W. Bush, because of the back-to-work impact of the recovery. But there are still “A” unemployed and the lesser “B” jobs unfilled. 

In this strictly by-the-numbers game, there are two questions that no one is asking, let alone answering. First, if most, if not all, of the remaining jobless are not qualified for the work that is available, what then? These are our fellow Americans, human beings — something the emphasis in the cold calculation misses. It’s particularly poignant on this 50th anniversary of the war on poverty.

Secondly, I don’t remember any of our elected officials in Washington kicking up much of a fuss over the price tag of the now seemingly less-than-successful war against al Qaeda. We were all about counting in that instance, too — heads, more theirs than the sacrifice of ours. 

Why are we willing to question every penny for “wars” at home and spend lavishly for the same abroad? A country, like a parent, cannot be strong for others unless it takes care of itself first. Time to make some cents!

From Karen Ann DeLuca, Alexandria, Va.