Sulphonomics makes no sense Print
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Thursday, 22 June 2017 00:00

On Saturday morning, the Belize Leaders for Social Justice, (BLSJ), organized a public protest demanding that the government raise the minimum wage.

BLSJ is supported by the Belize Progressive Party, Belize Territorial Volunteers and Days of Healing Committee. They started the march at Constitution Park on Cemetery Road and ended, at Battlefield Park. With so much support it is amazing that only 20 persons came out.

According to the information, we have gathered so far, Moses Sulph, who appears to be the leader of the group is suggesting that the minimum wage be almost quadrupled from $3.30 per hour to $12 per hour. That was what we saw in a particular publication. After seeing that sort of PIE IN THE SKY THINKING, we now understand, why this fellow was attending UB for so long. He perhaps holds the record for having attended UB for the longest period. Some of us were starting to mistake him for pieces of furniture at UB. By the way was it not ECONOMICS or BUSINESS he studied?

While it is also our opinion that the minimum wage and all other salaries are in need of an upward adjustment, we have to be practical about what is affordable. Any salary adjustments will be shouldered  by the GENERAL POPULATION. Regardless if those adjustments are in the Private or Public sector; it is us who will have to pay. If it is in the Private Sector, it will drive up the cost of goods and services and we are the ones who use those goods and services. Then we all know that if it is in the Public Sector, we are the ones who pay taxes, that would be used to pay that raise. Any which way, WE PAY! Let’s compare the amount being sought here in comparison to that of the FEDERALLY MANDATED minimum wage in the USA, which is a first world country. The federally mandated minimum rate is $7.25 per hour. Different STATES and CITIES may pay a bit more, but they are not mandated to pay more than the $7.25. How will Belize be able to make that giant leap to $6 US per hour from $1.65 US per hour? In the USA they reached that $7.25 over a period of time. They did so in increments of 50¢ at a time.

Let us say we were to take ours to $6 US right away, a single parent who presently works at a store and earns $200 per week, pays a relative or friend $50 per week to babysit her baby, when she is at work, leaving $150 per week, to live on. At the new minimum wage, she would then be making $540 per week, but she would then be asked to pay that same $540 to her babysitter,  leaving her with NO MONEY TO LIVE ON. Where is the logic in that? Another class of workers who would come into wage increases would be labourers /helpers on construction sites, their  salary would go from $200 to $540 per week also. To do that, the cost of construction will be more than doubled. In the end we the end users will be the ones paying. Even the government will be forced to obey the very same law and pay the persons in its employ, no less than the same $12 Belize per hour. The price of the goods and supplies, that government buys to provide the services to the public will also increase because the business houses will be forced to pass on it’s operation costs to all customers, including government. The long and short is that there would be a trickle down effect and government would have to increase revenues. That will translate to raising taxes. Who pays taxes?  All of us as the end users are the ultimate TAX PAYERS. Our advice to Mr. Moses Sulph etal is to wheel and come again. Bring us PRATICALITY NOT WISHFUL THINKING OR IMPRATICALLITIES.