Op-ed pick: Saying no to Sochi

The Guardian’s Heidi Moore – a frequent guest on The Daily Circuit – published an op-ed piece last week on why she’s decided to boycott broadcasts of the Sochi Olympics. While most of us are tuning in to follow everything from figure skating to the luge competitions, Moore argues that Russia’s stance on gay rights and the environmental problems associated with the construction of the Sochi Olympic venues make it impossible for her to support the games:

This year, to me, it seems like a mistake to ignore the human principles that are being trampled under the snow in Sochi. Many of the abuses in Russia – against gay rights, against the environment, against animals – came after the Olympic contract, almost as if Russian leaders were emboldened by the Olympic imprimatur and financing to not only continue abuses, but create new ones.

For Moore, the answer to her problem with these issues in Russia is to avoid watching the games completely and remove herself from participating in the sponsorship and viewership of the event – whether or not there’s a measurable effect.

I don’t know which will be the case this year – whether Sochi will be the most-watched Olympics or the least-watched. But I do know that, as hard as it will be, I will make sure that my attention, and money, line up with my values. In this case, that means I won’t be watching the Olympics. It may not change the world, but for me, it’s the only economic decision I can live with.

Read Moore’s piece here. Do you think her argument holds value? Are you concerned about the state of this year’s Olympic Games?

  • Gary F

    No mention that public employee unions get an automatic raise when the minimum wage goes up? I wonder why the media never covers that?

  • http://twitter.com/snyde043 snyde043

    Yes, it should go up and it should be indexed to inflation going forward so workers don’t have to rely on Congress or the Legislature to get around to increasing it.

    • Fred Garvin

      Since increases in the minimum wage contribute to inflation, your suggestion will lead to a spiral of inflation leading tio fewer & fewer jobs.
      But hey, it makes us feel better, right?

  • JQP

    yes. minimum wage needs to increase.

    executive compensation – from the entry-level executive on up needs to decrease by about 29% (or remain absolutely flat for about 14 years).

    pay the research staff more, pay the line workers more, pay the sales staff more, pay the back-office staff more.

    In addition, all executives should be compensated in taxable salary only. Taxable cash bonuses are permitted for extremely high performers. the whole “executive compensation” system is grossly out of whack with reality. It was invented by people in the Execu-bubble to satisfy other people in the Execu-bubble.

  • Rich in Duluth

    Yes, the minimum wage should be raised and indexed to inflation.

    It should be recognized, however, that raising the minimum wage will probably hasten the day when some of these jobs are replaced by automation.

  • Jim G

    Yes… My first corporate job was at Target. I started working in 1968 for the minimum wage of $1.60/hour. Using a CPI Index calculator, I found that a person would need to earn $10.74/hour in 2013 to have the same buying power. It wasn’t easy but I put myself through college with that part-time Target job supplemented by a second on/off summer time Gambles warehouse job that paid a whopping $2.50/hour. Today’s workers are being short-changed by corporate America. Relatively, the minimum wage in Minnesota has been much higher in the past than it is today.

    • James

      Why did Gambles pay you $2.50 when the minimum wage was only $1.60?

      • Jim G

        That job started in 1972. You would have to ask the Gambles executives. It was a union shop… maybe they had negotiated a higher minimum wage. However, my guess is that they had a hard time inducing people to work in an unairconditioned warehouse where temperatures regularly went over 100 degrees during the summer. The managers would lay-off part-timers like me at any softening of orders coming in. As a college kid, I also had to put up with a lot of hazing. I once had my jeans sliced clean through to my buttocks by a full-time worker’s box-cutter as he walked by when I was bending over picking merchandise. I never even felt the wound, but the blood made my pants wet and when I checked it out, my hand revealed the wet stuff was my own blood. I guess you had to prove your toughness to the full-timers. So for me… $2.50/hour which is equal to @ $13.97/hour today… was literally blood money.

        • James

          They paid you more than minimum wage because the work was more demanding…they paid what the work was worth…that makes a good argument against a minimum wage.

          On the union front, you may have been moving too fast making your coworkers look bad. I’ve experienced the same from non-union coworkers at a job working third shift during college in a different overheated building – the lifers just trying to remind you that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

          • Jim G

            It occurred to me on my bike ride ( It gives me time to think.) that corporate officers have over the decades skillfully sliced-off bigger and bigger chucks of our American workers’ paychecks to pad their own fortunes just as the efficiently as that bully worker sliced my through my jeans and buttocks. Both are a form of violence, but the stealthy executives have done much more damage to our workers, now producing an unsustainable system, tottering from one crisis to another until eventually… BIG CRASH.

          • Fred Garvin

            Corporate pay is but a drop in the bucket of “pay”.

            1. In other words, it matters very little to the “little guy” what execs are paid.
            2. Exec pay v. worker pay is not a zero-sum game. Just because exces get a bunch of money doesn’t mean that there is less available to pay the peons.
            But I guess some folks need an enemy while biking about town.

          • JQP

            1) executives lead by example – except in pay. Executive compensation has exceeded inflation, productivity, and general company success over 2,5 10 and longer year cycles. Wages for average employees in the same period have fallen dramtically against productivity ( negative reward) , inflation (resutlilng in loan-dept) and general corporate success (negative reward)

            2) Wages that keep pace with productivity gains and inflation foster stronger internal ( national – USA ) economy. that encourages internal spending and growth in local business. when wages are depressed and executive compensation is where company success is delivered – the vast majority of consumers ( wage earners) either cease spending OR borrow to spend and eventually all income goes to debt service – but not to main street businesses.

            Executive compensation may – in your estimation be small … but … that small needs to be retrieved and redistributed to the masses or … the country is going to collapse again.

  • sally lynn

    If raising the minimum wage results in people at the bottom being bounced off food supplemental rolls, then no. However, if it does not disqualify families at the bottom from receiving lunch subsidies or other programs to feed their families, but instead adds to being able to provide better and healthier food for low income families, then a resounding yes.
    The other day while shopping in Cub Foods, I heard a family complaining that bread was too expensive. The wife said, “we will buy the bread that Cub is selling for 69 cents.” I looked at this bread and just shook my head. When we are told that we should be eating whole grains, but Cub is selling the processed white bread cheaply, how can you eat healthy if you are poor? I am not sure that raising the minimum wage to the point where people still cannot eat healthy foods makes life any better for low income families.

    • Sue de Nim

      But that’s the point. SNAP (formerly “food stamps”), free/reduced school lunches, and other such programs are in part a corporate subsidy, in that they compensate for businesses that pay less than an a living wage. If employers would pay workers justly, there would be less need for taxpayers to pick up the slack.

  • Sue de Nim

    Yes. And a clause should be added to the statute to say that Minnesota’s minimum wage cannot be less than the federal minimum wage.

  • James

    Do you think more young people would find work with a higher minimum wage?

  • Mary

    Yes the minimum wage should be raised. It’s not just teenagers that have minimum wage jobs. There are an awful lot of adults that have two or more jobs that pay minimum wage in order to take care of their families. It isn’t enough to keep them off of welfare and food stamps. If someone is willing to work full time they should be able to support themselves and not depend on social services to get by.

  • Sue de Nim

    I’d also like to see a 100% federal tax on all executive compensation that exceeds 100 times the wages and benefits of the lowest paid full-time-equivalent employee of the company.

  • Stina

    Yes to a living wage.

  • kevins

    I think that the minimum wage needs to be increased. I also think that doing so benefits all of us, contrary to the belief that businesses will be substantively hurt. Prices for consumer goods, fast foods, etc. have always risen and there are many reasons for that, with wages being only one factor.

    • Fred Garvin

      Prices have NOT “always risen”–the lack of significant inflation during the 1990s can be largely attriubted to Wal Mart’s ability to negotiate lower wholesale costs with suppliers/manufacturers, and rising China.
      I for one would like to say, thank you Wal Mart.

  • James
    • kevins

      yes..it says that over half of minimum wage workers are over 25.

      • James

        A few important characteristics of the 49.5 percent of minimum-wage earners who are over the age of 24 bear this out:

        Over half work part-time jobs.
        They have an average family income of $42,500 per year.
        Less than a quarter live in poverty, while 62 percent have incomes over 150 percent of the poverty line.
        They are better educated than younger minimum-wage workers but still have less education than the population as a whole

        • kevins

          and the point is….?

      • Fred Garvin

        Wrong, kenvins, wrong.
        ” Although workers under age 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly paid workers, they made up about half of those paid the Federal minimum wage or less. Among employed teenagers paid by the hour, about 21 percent earned the minimum wage or less, compared with about 3 percent of workers age 25 and over”
        http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2012.htm
        Your claim about half of those over 25 are earning the federal minimum wage is wrong. Look at the BLS tables for the breakdown of the groups paid,and HOW they are paid.
        You’ve [wrongly] assumed that ALL workers above and below 25 years of age are hourly workers. Obviousy they are not.
        Minimum wage ONLY applies to hourly workers; those UNDER 25 are more likely to be paid hourly. Those over 25 are not as likely to be paid hourly. Thus, just because about half of those earning minimum wage are under 25 DOES NOT mean that the other half above 25 are earning the federal minimum wage!

        This isn’t rocket science.
        If you want to talk about “doing something” about wages, then let’s talk about it. But raising the minimum wage is a VERY INNEFFICIENT method of improving the wages of various target groups; in fact, simply raising the minimum wage is more likely to HARM those groups you claim to want to help.

        • kevins

          Thanks for the preachy response Fred, but the Heritage Foundation link provides the data i was referencing. Check it out.

          • Fred Garvin

            The Heritage data says the same thing as the BLS data: those over 25 are UNLIKELY to be earning an hourly wage and thus a minimum wage increase has no effect on them.

            Why did you edit your response?

          • kevins

            I get that, but the issue on the table is the minimum wage. Your assertion that raising it hurts those that might take advantage of it is interesting, and the NCPA data could be supportive if they were from the BLS. You seem obsessed with editing also, what gives?

          • Fred Garvin

            Did you edit your response?
            Why?
            I have not edited my responses.

          • kevins

            I didn’t but it still seems to be an issue for you. Be well.

          • Fred Garvin

            Your credibility is now 0.
            Credibility is priceless someone once said.
            I have shown that at least two of your statements on this thread alone are false.
            priceless…

          • Fred Garvin

            If the goal is to try to improve the prospects that heads of households have enough money to survive (the so-called “living wage”), then raising the minimum wage is unlikely to accomplish that because most heads of households are either salaried or earning above the minimum wage.
            Conversely, raising the minimum wage increases the prices of necessities that those struggling heads of households need. So they’re subject to a double wammy: an increase in minimum wage does not affect their incomes, AND they have to pay more for necessary goods.
            Like I said, this is not news or surprising to those who know basic economics.
            For the most part, the “debate” on living wage/minimum wage is not about the economic reality or likely outcomes–it’s about feeling good thinking that you’re doing good…
            when just the opposite is more likely to occur.

      • Fred Garvin

        Mmm, editing responses when challenged on them?
        Who is losing credibility?

    • Sue de Nim

      The Heritage Foundation is an ideology-based think tank. It is not dedicated to the unbiased seeking of truth but goes looking for arguments to support its point of view; hence, anything it puts out should be taken with a large dose of skepticism.

  • PaulJ

    We’d probably be better off if they raise the minimum wage in China.

  • Gary F

    Why not $20 an hour?

  • Fred Garvin

    Higher minimum wage?
    Sure, let’s kill more jobs.

  • Jim G

    Who will buy the goods and services if the purchasing power of the American worker continues to fall? The minimum wage in 1968 was $1.60/hour, today in 2013 a worker would need to make $10.74/hour to keep pace with the CPI increases over this time. The wealth continually pools at the top. Today it was reported that the richest 400 Americans hold over 2 trillion in assets. These are the people who would lose a little, just a little, of their wealth if we raise the federal and the state minimum wages through slightly reduced corporate profit taking by increasing the minimum wage. We have been told that it’s the small business owners who will be hurt, not so. It will only slightly slow down the continued amassing of fortunes. We have been snookered for a really, really long time.

    • James

      For the most part, these billionaires’ annual earnings are not wages or pass-through income from privately held businesses and are not subject to regular “income” tax. What you’re suggesting seems to be redistributing their “wealth,” not taxing their “earnings.” Income tax only affects earnings.

      • Jim G

        The wealth of the top 1% increased by 20% for the current reporting tax year 2012. That’s income earned on their investments which should be taxed at higher rates than wages are. Tax breaks for the rich are the norm and minimum wages are at starvation levels. If we pray to the gods of capitalism for relief, they only laugh at the misery they sow.

  • Jane P.

    Yes. The minimum wage should be a living wage. Low wage workers should not have to choose between feeding OR housing their families. Wages for the lowest paid workers cannot be entrusted to corporate good faith or goodwill. Without regulation, corporations will continue exponentially increasing the pay of top executives at the expense of the lowest paid worker, and our American way of life.

  • omaeel

    There is no longer any excuse to NOT raise the minimum wage. It’s a win win for all except for the few oligarchs who’ve taken control of not just this country.

  • Julie

    If we raise the minimum wage and cut food stamps we would be shifting a liability from government support to corporations. I think the corporations can more easily afford it. If they can pay their executives lottery style wages/bonuses then they can afford to pay those on the bottom a livable wage.