The Desk

September 8, 2014

The Minimum Wage Push

It was May 23 that I said we need to increase the minimum wage and that it would happen. By June 1 I was back on the increase minimum wage soapbox. The Federal Congress didn’t seem to want to listen to me. A few weeks later, they said “no” to increasing the minimum wage. Ah, but that was June and July. This is November.

It seems as though more than just dear George are listening to the populace. Among the election revelations was that several additional states voted to increase the minimum wage. It appears the federal government will adopt a resolution to increase the minimum wage.

This minimum wage increase issue is still being fought tooth and nail. Commentary on this morning’s news brought out the fact that for each 10 percent increase in wage there will be an accompanying 2 percent decrease in number of jobs available. The spokes person advocated for retaining the minimum wage. The logic is that it provides a great bottom-line entry-level wage for new workers. It is not fair to increase the wage and then cause minorities and especially minority youth to lose their opportunities at gaining work experience at entry-level wages. Unfortunately, the spokes person did not take into consideration that there are veteran workers who still slave at minimum wage and work three and four jobs at that wage in order to support them selves and their families.

What’s interesting about the conservative argument is that it so profoundly and adversely affects the minority communities. Imagine having someone from any one of those communities turn to you and say they cannot escape from the blight in which they live because they are force to live on minimum earnings, if that. Additionally, they foresee that business in their community will die out because “you can’t buy anything if you don’t have anything to buy it with.” No discretionary income means no spending on entertainment. It means hold the standard low for learning and achievement. It means kill the potential for qualified skilled workers. It means the American Dream will become welfare and less than meager existence. Sloth.

Yes, adjustments will have to be made because of raising the minimum wage. No doubt the cost of goods will be increased in order to absorb some of the cost. The increase will be so marginal compared with the opportunity value of the wage increase that those affected by price increases will hardly complain. In fact, they’ll rejoice at the fact that they are able to purchase and enjoy.

Salary increases are not the means of retaining good personnel. But good, livable wages are the way to attract willing workers who are interested in doing a good job. And those livable wages are a means of saying “thank you” to those who are willing to do their part in contributing to Domestic Product.

[Republished from The Desk (on, Trends and Forecasts, November 9, 2006]

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