Tom Toles by Tom Toles

Tom Toles

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  1. PianoGuy24

    PianoGuy24 GoComics PRO Member said, over 2 years ago

    The poor in America have cell phones, microwaves, cable-tv, cars, big screen TV’s, and I’ve left much more out. So, what happens if minimum wage goes up? All other wages that wasn’t minimum wages goes up as well. Services and merchandise prices increase. Nothing changes except things get more expensive and the people “suffering” at minimum wages now still “suffer” at minimum wages later. People with skilled labor advantages and education will not want to be on the same wage playing field with those that are unskilled. Plain and simple. Dems just continue to hurt more those they “intended” to help.

  2. ConserveGov

    ConserveGov said, over 2 years ago

    There was no minimum wage when the Constitution was written and things were fine.

  3. Mark

    Mark said, over 2 years ago


    Yes, and if we all magically return to a yeoman farm economy, we’ll keep your ideas in mind.

  4. Enoki

    Enoki said, over 2 years ago

    He forgot the most important item…
    An arrow pointing at the guy’s head captioned “Thick as a brick”
    Only the lazy and stupid end up at minimum wage by 30. You’d have to have literally near zero skills or knowledge or be very lethargic not to have moved well beyond minimum wage otherwise.

  5. Doughfoot

    Doughfoot said, over 2 years ago

    The first minimum-wage law was the Thirteenth Amendment, banning slavery. When Georgia was founded, slavery was forbidden there by the colonial charter. Within a generation, the Georgians were petitioning to be allowed to have slaves, because they could not otherwise compete with the South Carolina which already did have slaves. Paying wages at all can drive up costs compared to not paying wages. You want FULL employment at the most internationally competitive rates? Reinstitute slavery! Anyone who cannot demonstrate that he has a job could be seized and sold to the highest bidder. This is about the way laborers were often handled in Europe in the Middle Ages.

    The minimum wage is worth much less today than it was 40 years ago. Yet productivity is WAY up. The pie produced per man/hour of labor is much bigger, but the slice the laborer at the bottom gets is much smaller. There are literally millions of people living on the minimum wage and, like many military families, qualifying for public assistance, “food stamps.” Which in those cases function as subsidies for certain businesses, making it easier for those businesses to hire people at minimum wage.

    The job market is not nearly as elastic as some folks think. If you can’t qualify for unemployment benefits, are able-bodied, and have no resources that would enable you to relocate (try finding a place to live in a strange community when you have no connections there and no money): AND the only job you can find is a minimum-wage one, that is not so very different from forced labor. The only thing standing between you and working for table scraps is the minimum-wage law. Competition for labor drives up wages, of course, but in periods of high unemployment, the competition is among workers for jobs, not among employers for labor.

    Our economy is managed to create (ideally) constant, low-level inflation. This has been true for centuries, actually. The dollar was worth less in 1900 than in 1800. The penny was worth less in 1700 than in 1500. When the minimum wage remains the same for long periods, or through periods of higher inflation, it’s value is actually shrinking. Thus, whose who say the minimum wage ought never to be raised are saying that it ought to be cut. Those who say that public assistance for the able-bodies ought to be eliminated also, are saying that no only should minimum wages be cut, but more people should be compelled to work for them.

    Higher minimum wages drive up all wages at the bottom. They also drive up some prices. They also eliminate some jobs. But the actual evidence is that the effect of small increases is negligible in these other areas, while the marginal benefit to those who receive these higher wages is great. Obviously, sudden changes are disruptive to business, and unrealistic increases would have many unpleasant and unintended consequences. A sensible person no more advocates a sudden increase in the minimum wage to $25 an hour, than he advocates never raising it at all. Raising it to $8 next year, and $9 in 2015, and $10 in 2016, and $11 in 2017 would bring it back to the buying power it had in 1960 or 1970. This is actually quite a modest and reasonable proposal, and there are many rational conservatives who would agree with such a proposal. They, however, are not the sort of conservatives you hear from in places like this.

    There was a rather absurd remark made above that ought to be addressed: that the poor in America enjoy all sorts of luxuries. One of those half-truths that are used to manipulate people. In Frederick Law Olmsted’s 1860 book, THE COTTON KINGDOM, the author observes how well-dressed many of Richmond’s slave are on Sundays. The only moneys they receive are tips and gifts from their masters and others (bet you didn’t know that some slaves got tips!); they carefully saved this tiny fund. The could not seek a better job, they could not travel, they could not rent better quarters, their owners provided them rations. So they spent their tiny accumulations of money on the one luxury they were allowed: Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes. Some very few slaves dressed more expensively than their owners on Sunday. None of this applied to field hands, of course, but one could truthfully say that “the [ SOME of the | slaves in the South were better dressed [ at SOME times ] than most free workers in the North,” and were thus better off. (In fact, John C. Calhoun and others made statements like that in defense of slavery.) So that a small rat-infested apartment in a crime-ridden neighborhood, without heat in the winter, and shared by 12 people, should also contain a television, a microwave and a cellphone hardly means that the occupants are enjoying the American dream. Any more than a well-dressed slave in Richmond in 1860 meant that slavery was a benign and beneficent institution.

  6. neatslob

    neatslob said, over 2 years ago

    Minimum wage USED to be a living wage. You wouldn’t get rich, and you wouldn’t live in luxury, but you could live.

  7. Mephistopheles

    Mephistopheles GoComics PRO Member said, over 2 years ago

    I am always against the government fiddling in the market place the the minimum wage laws are the worst sort of tripe.

    As a high school kid I worked in a grocery store for minimum wage and I was probably ripping off the store. Not because I didn’t want to do a good job but I started with very little understanding of the business and had to be trained. I content that if the wage had been a little higher it wouldn’t have been cost effective to take me on and teach me the ropes.

    That’s the problem with raising the minimum wage. You price people out of the market place. You can bluster and blow about how they deserve a living wage or it’s the right thing to do but if you make people cost more then they are worth then comanies won’t hire them.

    If you don’t believe me – Let me offer you a few examples of how businesses have adapted to avoid workers who are too expensive.

    How many of you shop at a grocery store that makes you bag your own groceries? That’s what I used to do in high school. That and stock shelves. At $4 an hour my employer could afford it but at $8, $10, $15 as some contend nobody can afford it.

    How many of you bus your own table at a fast food restaurant? I had friends who used to do that for minimum wage.

    I can continue down the list but businesses adapt: They come up with novel solutions, they replace people with machines, etc.

    And why is this all about the employers? High school kids have an excuse. They are just learning how to be in the business world. But an adult making minimum wage for any length of time is not showing their employer that they are adding value to the equation. Why aren’t they getting job training, education, etc. To improve their value to the employer?

  8. Mephistopheles

    Mephistopheles GoComics PRO Member said, over 2 years ago

    @Adrian Snare – We HAVE an Excellent Education system. But we have too many kids showing up at school: Without their homework done, without a good attitude towards education, and without an appreciation of what they are receiving.

    I come from a family full of educators and kids from good families come out of school well prepared for college and the workforce. Kids from bad families can be going to the best school in the area and they will still come out barely able to read and with know real analytical skills (Minimum wage wannabees).

    The lazy and the stupid always want to blame the education system but they never dig to see what is keeping the education system from achieving.

    I went to a mediocre small town school but because I worked hard and understood the value of education I was able to go on for further education and fulfill my career aspirations. Classmates of mine were able to do the same thing. I had other classmates who didn’t value education and they languish in deadend jobs and complain about how they never got a fair chance.

    Personal responsibility has to be taught and adhered to from the beginning of the educational process.

  9. D Lee

    D Lee GoComics PRO Member said, over 2 years ago

    “Working Poor” should be an oxymoron.

  10. Enoki

    Enoki said, over 2 years ago

    My first job at 16 was part time at W T Grant company (sort of a KMart of that era). I worked for minimum wage in the hardware and garden department. Made keys, handled chemicals, did all sorts of stuff like that. I could never have gotten that job today. OSHA and the EPA have made it impossible to hire a teen where anything “hazardous” is involved.
    It was a good first job and I learned a lot about work along with some good skills that I could build on for future jobs. Today the government has made doing what I did growing up impossible.
    Small wonder our workforce is declining in ability and being paid crap wages. It is forced be older (18+ years old) just to enter the workforce and do anything more than hand a bag of fat, starch, and cholesterol to a customer and say “Thank you!” for anyone under 18.
    So, you get older people having to start working later in life, having less skills, and ending up with lower wages.

  11. martens

    martens said, over 2 years ago


    Doughfoot, I notice that your excellent commentary is based on history and factual information. I can’t help but notice that those trying to refute you are doing so with mostly personal anecdote or opinion without factual backing (eg., the effect of minimum wage on prices and employment rates for which data does exist but which they have not bothered to research).
    Thanks for your contribution.

  12. Doughfoot

    Doughfoot said, over 2 years ago

    Only 28% of minimum-wage workers have less than a high school education. Only 24% of minimum-wage workers are teenagers. Almost half of all minimum-wage workers are adult women.

    I had a paper route as a kid. Take the amount of money I earned per month divided by the number of hours I spent earning it, and I made less than the minimum wage at the time, which was $1.60 an hour. That’s okay, I was a kid, and was only making pocket money. Not earning a living. There is a place for such jobs. The problem is, what happens when people are so desperate that they are willing to work for a pittance rather than go without? Should adults be taking jobs designed for teen-age part-timers? The problem is an economy that can offer nothing better to millions of adults, who have skills, ambition, talents, and still can’t find anything better! Should we say, “Sure, you’re being exploited, but that’s just too bad?”

    Here’s a little game employers play: You have a job that the average high school graduate could not perform adequately without further training and experience. However, if you advertise the job that way, you will be expected to pay wages commensurate with the higher levels of skill, education, etc., needed. So you advertise, no experience necessary, high school education (only) required. You know perfectly well that you will get applicants in a depressed job market with much higher qualifications: and you can get those skilled workers at low wages without any appearance of exploitation, “sure you have a college degree, but this job doesn’t require one.”

    Years ago I applied for a more-or-less clerical job at a college, a job for which I more than met the listed requirements: I had a degree, the position only “required” a HS diploma. I did not beef because I did not get the job. However, I was astonished that I did not get an interview! I found out that they only interviewed the applicants who had some post-graduate work. But the rules at the college work that require a high level of skill be paid accordingly. By officially describing the job as they did, the office in question could get the high level of skill without paying for it.

    I don’t say I have any easy solution. A booming economy and a mobile workforce are the best solutions, perhaps, but hardly easy to obtain. And in spite of what simpletons may think and politicians claim, eliminating protections (like the minimum wage and unemployment compensation), and increasing the burdens, for the people at the bottom of pyramid while lifting burdens off the people at the top, does not result in a thriving economy. The most thriving economies are those in which people are most equal, and no man’s labor is counted as infinitely more valuable than another man’s labor. Small towns can be like that: the doctor’s house is not a hundred times better than the workingman’s house. Companies in which the boss and his workers may be shopping in the same stores, fishing in the same lake, attending the same church. Extremes of equality and inequality are BOTH pernicious.

    The so-called market cannot be ignored, but neither does it have to rule absolutely. It is, after all, and artificial thing, with made-up rules. ( For example: if I say, “Give me your money, and I will give you this thing. But it is your choice!” We call that a free market and a good thing. But if I say, “Give me you money and I will give you peace. If not, something bad will happen to you. But it is your choice!” We call that extortion. The distinction between the two is in the rules we make for the operation of a market. Without regulations, there is no difference between the two transactions. ) Markets are always regulated, always have been from the days of Rome and Greece to the present. The purely free market is an abstraction, it has never been a reality.

    Workers are not always able to quit and move on to something else if the wages are too low or the conditions too harsh or the employer promises one thing and delivers another. In many cases they are, but in many they are not. “Yes, we’ll pay you for forty hours, but you’ll work sixty. Don’t like it? There’s the door!” For a variety of reasons, the door may not be any more viable an option than retiring to a luxury resort.

    The social safety net is just that. No one learns to work the high wire without a safety net. One day he may be so good he doesn’t need it. But few people are even going to attempt to learn the act if they can’t have a net while they learn. The social safety net is the best way to ensure that risks can be taken without making all of them life-or-death hazards.

  13. Kris Jackson

    Kris Jackson said, over 2 years ago


    Things were fine!? Only property owners could vote, women couldn’t own property, a large number of people WERE property, most children worked instead of going to school and the boss could beat you if you felt like it. Many people starved to death in this country in those days. Things were fine if you were one of the tiny elite. Gee, and we’re returning to those days.

  14. Ethaniel67

    Ethaniel67 said, over 2 years ago

    Possibly because all the laws, regulation and overhead makes it almost impossible to start your own business and become the CEO.

    We have a nice crony fascist system that only allows the those that buy power to actually start businesses and thus get paid whatever the hell they want.

    We could possibly start there, but no you’d rather play their game (while they laugh at you) and fight about what pittance your sold freedoms get you.

    But, corporations could do evil you say. Well no corporation can have a monopoly without the state enforcing the monopoly. And you think power hungry elected officials are no less potentially evil?

  15. Gregory Kruse

    Gregory Kruse GoComics PRO Member said, over 2 years ago

    What is the saying that goes with the pair he has on?

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