To the editor:

I had a good chuckle at the naivete’ of Brandon Cooper’s opinion piece (The Messenger, March 4) touting the $15 minimum wage. Being a student, he may not be fully informed of total employment compensation practices.

Most businesses utilize “Grading Systems” to recognize and reward different levels of responsibilities, accountabilities, etc. Usually, there are several such levels, each with its own unique and progressive wage/salary structure.

“Simply” increasing the “starting” wage of the lowest level would necessitate increasing all then-current wages and wage structures for each successive level in order to maintain the integrity of the overall compensation program. (A rising tide lifts all boats!)

Further, employee compensation involves much more than the hourly pay rate. Employers must match Social Security withholdings. Often, they also pay for retirement plans, health, dental, vision, disability, life and unemployment insurances, paid vacations, holidays and time off, tuition refunds, bonuses, etc.

These too often overlooked “benefit” items may increase total compensation costs by 50% and more.

Lastly, employers also pay a myriad of payroll, equipment and materials taxes associated with providing a “normal” job.

To address significant increased operating costs — unless a business has unlimited financial resources as Mr. Cooper apparently believes — the only recourse available really is to increase prices (=inflation) or reduce staffing (=unemployment). Oh, one more — shut down (no business=no jobs).

It might behoove Mr. Cooper to replace a couple of sociology classes with economics/business administration courses.

Bruce R. Sherrill


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