Editor: I would like to respond to comments last week about increasing the minimum wage. The sentiment for raising the minimum wage is good. It comes from a desire to help those at the bottom of the economic ladder. What those good intentions don't account for is the fact that raising the minimum wage hurts the very people it is designed to help.
Setting an arbitrary price for work might make us feel good, but it shuts out low skilled and uneducated people from the job market. It ignores the basic economic laws of supply and demand. We get to pat ourselves on the back for raising the minimum wage, and the lucky ones that get to keep their jobs are better off. What is unseen are those that no longer get to work because the value they can add is less than the price government has set for their labor.
The bottom rung of the economic ladder is where job skills and hard work are often learned. It is a starting point for millions of Americans to a better life. The best job training you can get is a job. Growing up, I worked many minimum wage jobs where I learned values that allowed me to earn more in the marketplace over time. We shouldn't deny others the opportunity we had out of a misguided attempt to artificially increase the value of their labor. The time proven path for individuals to earn higher wages is education, hard work, and stable families. Raising the minimum wage is a long term unemployment plan for those that are just starting out.
Aaron Gabrielson, Wasatch GOP Chair
Right to Free Speech - Including Yard Signs
Editor: It is very apparent from the letters written by Ramona Daun and Elizabeth Hokanson, that they do not support Councilman McDonald in his campaign for Mayor. While I support their right to express their concerns and their political opinions, I do not support their desire to silence those that do not agree with them. We have the right to freedom of speech, but we do not have the right to not be annoyed. Although Ms. Daun and Ms. Hokanson may find the signs of a politician they dislike irritating, it appears rather arrogant to assume that what they find distasteful is “not in the public’s best interest.” Their comments demonstrate complete disregard of my right to freedom of speech and the rights of many other citizens of Heber that requested to have those signs placed in their yards as well. I consider the sign in my yard to be more than just “clutter”; to me it is a statement about the direction I believe will ensure greater freedom and prosperity for our city.
I believe the words our founders wrote were inspired by God, and the fact that they included freedom of speech and religious freedom in the first amendment of the Bill of Rights implies how important these rights are.
The current political sign ordinance in Heber is unconstitutional, which is why it was deemed to be unenforceable by the city staff. A number of cities have been sued for similar political sign ordinances and have rightfully lost in those cases. The candidate’s refusal to remove their signs has nothing to do with laziness or misunderstanding, but rather a more complete understanding of the laws that govern our nation. I am happy to support candidates that take principled stands to preserve my basic liberties.
After all, an amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech is not necessary for speech that we all agree with; it is necessary for speech that we find annoying, distasteful, and even speech that we vehemently oppose. Freedom of speech must be protected because there are many things that people disagree over, but there is value in having many viewpoints. We are a stronger and better community when we promote open debate, protect freedom of speech, and allow for all view points to be heard. Some of the greatest tragedies in history occurred because of a paternalistic attitude from one set of people who felt they knew what was best for everyone. Silencing the voices of others, even those we disagree with, endangers the freedom of all.
Local governments cannot write ordinances or laws that violate the constitutional rights of American citizens, even if some citizens deem these rights to be “inconvenient.” As I look at the many changes that have occurred in our nation in even the last 10 years, I am concerned at how many freedoms are being stripped from us. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of direct control over what happens in Washington, but we do have direct control over what happens on a local level. That is why it is important to support candidates in our local elections that will honor the oath they take to protect our constitutional rights; and this is why I am proud to support a candidate that recognizes the Constitution as the supreme law of the United States of America.