Comments off-base on minimum wage
In the June 2 issue, Bill Henson [Perspective, Page 10] tells us that the minimum-wage hike last year failed to increase unemployment and bankrupt employers, and therefore was a good thing.
All I can say is, Bill, I hope you aced journalism in college, because you would have flunked any of the economics and logic courses that I took! There are so many errors in this piece that I hardly know where to begin.
First of all, the number of people on the minimum wage predicted to lose their jobs because of the increase was only about 250,000. If every one of them could not find another job, the effect on U.S. unemployment statistics would hardly be measurable.
Second, the great majority of those on the minimum wage are teenagers, who are only now getting out of school and trying to find jobs. It's too early to crow over what happened until it actually happens; we won't have this information for at least another two months. The effects have been dramatically concentrated on black male teenagers in the past, and it will be instructive to see how they fare this time.
Third, the demand for workers now is primarily for people with experience and training, not entry-level employees — the average hourly wage is presently $12.20, over two and a half times the minimum wage. To imply that businesses will ignore people's qualifications and hire anyone who walks in the door is silly.
Fourth, the ad hominem technique is not going to work; this is no ``alpha-male struggle,'' this is an argument between ``feel good'' socialists and their political bedfellows who cannot produce any credible evidence that their policy works. Virtually every economist who has studied the minimum wage has documented the destructive results over and over again. Shame on you, Bill!
Roger F. Jones
Franklin Polymers Inc.
Crumbling plastics story well-reported
Your June 9 cover story, ``Breakdown! Museums fight to save aging plastic artifacts,'' prompted me to write. I work in injection molding at the General Motors' Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. Being a longtime subscriber to Plastics News, I (and several of my co-workers) look forward each week to the latest news and developments in the world of plastics.
The story was especially interesting in light of the preconceived and popular belief of plastics' longevity in and out of the ``eco-stream'' by people in and out of the industry.
The truth is, we are all still learning about this marvelous, moldable material, its life span and its many uses, without lumping all plastics in a contrived category of convenience.
Hopefully, your cover story (and it was a nice cover layout) will satiate some of the environmentalists out there.
I know we at Saturn use regrind in as many applications as are feasible.I had no idea that museums were facing such a problem with [plastic] decomposition. Please keep up the great work.
Spring Hill, Tenn.