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The Territorial Dispatch
November 13, 1996

Here's something for the Things Aren't Always What They Seem To Be department...

The other day we were motoring along a street and came up behind a yellow school bus. As it moved along ahead of us a computer printed, laminated 11" x 8.5" paper was jostling a bit on a clip that was attached to a suction cup holding the sign in the back window.

When the bus stopped briefly at a four-way intersection we got close enough to read the sign. "This bus is EMPTY" it said.

"If it's 'empty,' I wonder what's driving it?" I asked Steve as it pulled away from us.

When it turned I could see two people inside. Empty? Perhaps a new driver and a trainer? Or a student that forgot to get off at the school?

Would it have been better for the sign to read: "Out of Service" or "Driver in Training"? Or maybe you can hail an empty bus like you can hail an empty taxicab?!!!

Pretty funny stuff.

Here's another one for the TAAWTSTB Department... maybe not so funny... the newly voted in minimum wage.

It seems to be more money for low-responsibility jobs. But where will the increases come from? Higher prices? Less employees on the job to do the same amount of work?

To be employed is to produce. We all produce. To produce is to create by physical or mental effort. When we produce for compensation we are employed... be it "self" or producing for someone else.

Whether it is making airplane parts, harvesting tomatoes, caring for an accident victim or typing words into a computer, the point of every job is to produce. Every employee produces and should be compensated for that production on the basis of production... ability and efficiency.

An employer compensates an employee. A customer compensates someone self-employed. Compensation should be based on what is produced... not what everyone else is getting for what they produce... and certainly not what the government deems is necessary whether production is acceptable to the employer or not.

The employer is the one to decide a fair price for the product or service based on current market, overhead and profit... yes, a business is allowed to make a profit. Minimum wage is what government determines an employee needs with no regard for the needs of the employer.

When the government regulates wages it removes incentive from producers, it places hardship on small business and it causes prices to raise and employers to eliminate jobs. Minimum wage laws are not always what they seem to be.

But speaking of prices... Norma brought in some newspapers to be laminated the other day. Some of the pages were advertisements from a 1941 mailer by the JCPenney Company.

A pair of good solid shoes were priced at $1.59. Hats and purses were ninety eight cents apiece and dresses started at $1.29 and went the whole way up to $2.79.

James Cash Penney reportedly was a fair employer. He cared about the people who worked for him and I have a feeling that he paid them well for what they produced for him back when the government did not interfere.

I met him once... JCPenney... Norma said she also met him. She worked for Penney in Pomona and met him there. I met him in Topeka, Kansas, at the grand opening of a new JCPenney store that anchored a big new mall somewhere in the mid-sixties. He was small of stature, but I will always remember his big heart and his wonderful personality.

Quote of the Week:
Every once in a while ask yourself the question... "If money weren't a consideration, what would I like to be doing (producing)?"

&emdash; Life's Little Instruction Book

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