Printed letters, February 26, 2014

Of course, the school district had to push the kindergarten age back. When you start school two-thirds of the way into summer, you can’t have the little ones starting school before they are five.

It wouldn’t be a problem if the district had just left it alone. I don’t know what they were thinking.

Now summer vacation is cut short, students and teachers will have trouble finding summer jobs, family vacations will be harder to plan and, besides, it’s too hot.


Grand Junction

De Beque gambling would 
lead to societal problems

If the citizens of De Beque think gambling would be a good thing, here are some not-so-good things to think about.

Gambling itself is addictive to many folks and can be a financial tragedy for them. Sometimes those who are not addicted will hope to swell slim finances or get lucky to get out of financial trouble and find themselves worse off financially.

A big casino will come in and create some jobs for a short time, and it will have a restaurant, gift shop and other amenities. There goes any local related businesses. It will put a strain on the sewer, water, garbage and other city services.

The tax base will increase, but it will take time to catch up with needed improvements. Property taxes may increase with values, but this is only helpful if you’re going to sell property.

Gambling also attracts opportunists who are often the less civilized, and law enforcement will become a burden.

Casinos encourage drinking to loosen wallets and other inhibitions. That often creates drunk driving.

If you have seen Cripple Creek since the gambling started, you know it is no longer a charming mining camp but is lit up like a circus.

Finally, where do you think the money will come from? It will mostly come out of the local economies of Mesa and Garfield counties, and those profits will go to the investors in the casinos. I guarantee you they will not spend it in De Beque or Mesa County.

I can’t see De Beque as a destination resort. The east side of the Continental Divide has Black Hawk and Central City, so I don’t think they are coming here to gamble.


Grand Junction


American Constitution Party 
will also caucus in March

The Daily Sentinel article published Feb. 20, detailing “major party” caucuses that are scheduled for March 4, omitted an entire party.

The American Constitution Party will also be holding its caucuses on that date. Under Colorado law, the ACP is also a major party. In Mesa County, ACP caucuses for the entire county will be held at Pear Park Elementary School, 432 30 1/2 Road in Grand Junction.

For more information on this event, please go to:


Chairman, Mesa County

American Constitution Party

Grand Junction


Can businesses simply hike 
prices to pay higher wages?

On two specific occasions over the past week or so, President Barack Obama tipped his hand regarding his knowledge and understanding of how the U.S. economy works.

First, he pressed Congress to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour, or an increase of 39.3 percent. And in an attempt to appear to be a real leader, he declared that all federal workers would be increased to that level, all the while knowing that almost all federal employees already make more than that.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office then performed calculations confirming that such a raise would likely result in a direct loss of a minimum of 500,000 American jobs, and many more employees having their hours reduced as a result. Why? While we all want to see folks paid a fair wage, just ask yourself the following: Can all business owners currently paying the $7.25 per hour simply raise the price of their goods 39 percent to pay for this raise, and pray to remain solvent?

And what about those employees in America already receiving $10.10 per hour or more? Do they just stay at their current pay levels, or do they also get a 39 percent pay raise to maintain their present pay advantage based on skill levels, demand, etc? Can Americans already strapped by this horrific economy pay 39 percent more for all their purchases?

Then Obama attempted to persuade the employees of Volkswagen USA, located in Tennessee, to vote for United Auto Workers representation, insinuating that it would be un-American to “support German shareholders.” So, if I understand Obama’s view of how the economy works, Volkswagen, with a plant in America that provides 1,500 Americans with good-paying jobs, is bad. But GM, which was bailed out by U.S. taxpayers, a debt it will never repay,  and which has moved thousands of U.S. jobs to China, is good. Now I get it.


Grand Junction


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Don Boyles’ letter – “Can businesses simply hike prices to pay higher wages?” – reveals more than he intended “regarding his [own]knowledge and understanding of how the U.S. economy works”, and that he didn’t read the CBO’s report.

First, by raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour (39.3%), President Obama would restore the minimum wage’s 39.3% loss of purchasing power since it was increased under Republican Ronald Reagan. 

Second, Boyle implies that President Obama – when he raised the minimum wage for federal contract employees by Executive Order – didn’t know that “almost all federal employees already make more than that”.  What Boyle doesn’t seem to know is that the Order was targeted at lower paid federal “contract” employees (e.g., cafeteria workers, janitorial staff, night custodians, etc.).

Third, contrary to Boyles’ assertion, the CBO estimated that increasing the nationwide minimum wage to $10.10 has a two-thirds chance of indirectly (not “directly”) costing between zero (“0”) and 1 million American jobs by the end of 2016, and selected 500,000—.3 percent of the total labor force—as its midpoint (not its “minimum”) estimate.

While any loss of American jobs is never a good thing, Boyle fails to mention is that the CBO also estimated that at least 16.5 million hard-working Americans (about 10% of the labor force) will get a much overdue pay raise.  Thus, the “good news” from the CBO is at least 30 times better than the bad news!

Moreover, the CBO reported that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would raise at least 900,000 people above the poverty threshold – thus reducing “safety net” spending.

Consequently, some economists predict that most businesses will readily absorb the costs of paying higher wages without even modest price increases, and economic stimulus effects will more than offset low-end job losses.

Bill Hugenberg addresses most of the comments I would’ve made on Don Boyles’ letter, so I will add just two.

One, since Congress has a habit of passing wage and benefits bills that don’t apply to them, it was important for the President to make clear that this was not one of those cases.

Two, it’s ironic that a letter criticizing the president’s grasp of economics should be so fundamentally flawed in its analysis.  A 39% average wage hike for a company’s low wage workers will not result in a 39% price hike, even if a company’s entire workforce is paid minimum wage. That’s because wages typically account for less than half of a company’s operating expenses. Payroll in fast food, which has a high proportion of such workers, amounts to 25% or less of total expense. That translates to a price increase of less than 10%, assuming the company sees no productivity gains from better paid employees and no increase in sales from the 16.5 million customers better able to afford its products.

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