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Letters to the editor

Oct. 13, 2005

Pay increase good business

I feel sorry for Kevin Goll. He's just a sophomore and doesn't realize he should educate himself before writing a controversial letter to the editor.

In response to Goll's letter Wednesday, I am sure there are valid arguments against a "living wage," but they are not coming from him.

First of all, the term "living wage" is a federal term (kind of like "minimum wage" -- ring any bells?).

A living wage is one that is enough to lift a worker and his family out of poverty. It is a calculated number based on cost of living in a specific area. A worker receiving minimum wage would have to work 69 hours a week to be above the federal poverty line with a family of four. A survey of Baylor's housekeeping employees shows that 75 percent of them support at least two children.

Secondly, evaluations of living wage ordinances in other cities show that it has caused minimal layoffs.

Employers who were interviewed said costs were absorbed by improved efficiency within the staff who were already there.

In addition, turnover for jobs decreased, which, in turn, decreased recruitment and training costs.

All of this information came from the FAQ section of the 1 John 3 campaign handbooks.

They're free. You should pick one up.

The group acknowledges that almost doubling wages of employees is a big deal. At the same time, living wage ordinances have been set in other places with successful outcomes. It's not like this hasn't been done before.

I think the leaders of this campaign are really onto something. If anything, they have made people think more considerately of others. How can that be bad?

Kelly Moore
Journalism 2006

Living wage impractical

In light of the Lariat's editorial piece "University should keep staff above poverty line," as an economics major I feel compelled to provide an alternative perspective. Keep in mind that economics is regarded as a social science. Economists care for the welfare of the whole as much as anyone in Students for Social Justice.

To raise the "living wage" from $5.65 to $10.29 would be economically egregious to students and faculty.

Such a policy would require that money be reallocated from one area of Baylor's budget to another.

Money does not just come out of the sky.

The only internal funding sources I can think of would be to cut faculty salaries and institute a hiring freeze. If internal wealth is not redistributed, then it has to come from external sources. These external sources include tuition, fees, grants, endowments and debt.

Implementing a "living wage" is, in reality, just redistributing wealth. A redistribution in wealth means that your targeted party may win but others lose.

Is that what we want? One party wins, but another loses. Is that Christ-like?

Michael Khaleq
Finance and economics 2006