Where do you want to fly?

Raising Maryland’s minimum wage would do harm

To the editor:

The following are my own thoughts on the subject of raising Maryland’s minimum wage to $15 hourly.

As some have already pointed out, such an increase would signal closure or relocation for many small businesses. Truly small businesses could in no way absorb such an increase in wages and still remain a viable entity. At present, and as has been the case for years, many large-scale eateries as well as other businesses do not have to pay minimum wage rates. The exemptions for restaurants are based on tipping, but is it fair to allow some businesses an exemption based on the “assumption” that patron gratuities will serve to supplement a $3.63 hourly base wage? Many businesses have no gratuity system in place, yet their overhead and other related business expenses are no less. What of these types of entities?

Lastly, it would be nice to believe that raising our state’s minimum wage to $15 hourly would greatly benefit the many working poor in Maryland, but the reality is that here in Washington County, we are very closely bordered by West Virginia, Pennsylvania and parts of Virginia. A $15-an-hour minimum wage in Maryland would result in an increase of out-of-state workers opting to seek minimum wage jobs in Maryland. When this happens, and it will happen, lifelong Marylanders will be left to watch their jobs go to out-of-state workers.

I do agree that the current minimum wage in Maryland is not a livable wage, but the solution is far more complex than simply increasing the dollar amount. If raising the minimum wage to $15 hourly is inevitable, we need to level the playing field by removing any and all exemptions, irregardless of an entity’s structure or relative factors.

Randy A. Breeden

Williamsport

Does Trump meet the responsibilities of citizenship?

To the editor:

Critical thinking and responsible citizenship are inseparable and both should be taught in our public schools. One of the definitions of critical thinking is the objective analysis of facts to form a judgment.

I learned from Wikipedia that: “The earliest documentation of critical thinking are the teachings of Socrates recorded by Plato. Socrates established the fact that one cannot depend upon those in ‘authority’ to have sound knowledge and insight. He demonstrated that persons may have power and high position and yet be deeply confused and irrational. He established the importance of asking deep questions that probe profoundly into thinking before we accept ideas as worthy of belief.”

I wonder what any person taught critical thinking would say about candidate Trump’s and President Trump’s promises that Mexico will pay for Donald Trump’s great wall?

Our Department of Homeland Security listed the responsibilities of citizenship as: “Support and defend the Constitution; stay informed of the issues affecting your community; participate in the democratic process; respect and obey federal, state, and local laws; respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others; participate in your local community; pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities; serve on a jury when called upon; and, defend the country if the need should arise.”

I wonder if President Trump has met the nine responsibilities of citizenship listed by our Department of Homeland Security?

Daniel Moeller

Rohrersville

Calm down the rhetoric around capitalism, socialism

To the editor:

I have been bothered for some time about the careless use of labels that cause disagreeing factions to talk past each other rather than productively communicating. Let’s clarify some terms.

Capitalism is, by definition, “An economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.”

Socialism is defined as “a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole” — note the “owned or regulated” option. On the other hand, an entrepreneurial free market is a system focused on the exchange of wealth, or goods and services.

Unfortunately, unbridled capitalism leads to wealth accumulating at the top of the economic ladder and has in the past led to revolution. Socialism, on the other hand, tends to stifle entrepreneurial energy.

Social Democrats tend to favor a free market where critical areas of the economy are held in common (government) while encouraging free market forces in the private sector.

None of these models are inherently evil. Most governments are some mixture of private/public ownership.

It is time to abandon the hysteria surrounding the terms “capitalism v. socialism” and get on with a productive debate over the balance between public and private ownership of assets in America.

We should not forget that in America, through the genius of our Founding Fathers, “We” are the government, not some dictator or a clique of the wealthy. We have the vote to alter and change the public policies that determine the quality of life for our citizens. The 50 percent of eligible voters who chose not to vote in the last election are endorsing leadership by dictator or oligarchy.

Falling Waters, W.Va.