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AN AGGIE LINE: USU cheerleaders perform during the Aggies' final exhibition game. It's time to cheer for basketball. / Photo by Brianna Mortensen

Today's word on journalism

Friday, November 10, 2006

Q&A with Ed Bradley:

Q: What single issue should be covered more at CBS News?
A: Foreign news.

Q: Have you ever been assigned a story you objected to? How did you deal with it?
A: When I first started in New York at WCBS radio, the assignment editor automatically assigned any story that had a minority in it to me. I objected to being typecast and told him if I didn't get a variety of stories -- as other reporters did -- then I would take it up with the news director.

Q: If you were not in news, what would you be doing?
A: If I had the talent, I'd play bass guitar and sing in a kicking band.

--Ed Bradley, reporter, "60 Minutes," died yesterday of leukemia at age 65 (2006)

It's time Utah raised its minimum wage

By Holly Adams

October 4, 2006 | Along with 26 other states, Utah has the lowest possible minimum wage allowed by federal law.

Five dollars and fifteen cents.

Can you imagine living on $5.15 an hour? How about while going to school and working part-time? That's what many college students do every day. As college students we are expected to be poor. But how poor is too poor? Is it really fair to students -- who are expected to pay tuition, pay for books, pay for housing, and eat -- to pay them barely enough to scrape by?

Why is the going rate for on-campus jobs at USU under $6?

On those high wages students are able to flourish and purchase many sandwiches and high-priced meats.

Really, though, it's hard. A lot of students graduate from high school and are cut off from their parents. Some get help from scholarships, grants, and their deep dark savings accounts their parents started when they were still in the womb. But without those sources, a lot of young people can't be students.

The poor wages given at the university -- and in Logan in general -- take a toll on many students who are forced to take breaks from school to earn money, get student loans, or to quit school all together.

So why doesn't someone do something about it? Because they don't have to. Places like Logan have a saturated job market. If you won't take the job -- no worries -- someone else will. Employers have the option to pay so little because there are college students who have to eat. It seems like everyone just has to pay their dues -- you work for minimum wage for a while, and then pay off those student loans on low starting salaries, and if you've survived, you can live like a human being.

The highest minimum wage in the country is in Santa Fe, N.M. where it is $9.50, with plans to increase it to $10.50 in 2008. Realizing that cost of living in Utah is less than in other states, the state legislature needs to realize there is still a cost of living.

It's not just high school students living on minimum wage, either. That is one of the main reasons a higher wage hasn't passed in Utah. The legislature thinks only teenagers are affected. That's just not true.

During his presidency, Bill Clinton gave the states the ability to raise their minimum wage above the federal level. So why have 26 states decided to keep the ridiculously low $5.15?

It doesn't matter how easy the job is -- if you need the job done, you need to be willing to pay for it. Someone needs to dig deeper into their pockets and pay students a decent wage. That doesn't mean they should be paid the minimum. Don't take the easy way out. Remember that minimum wage is just a suggestion.


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