Feb 11, 2015

The Minimum Wage

Although I consider myself a conservative, especially in fiscal matters, today I joined Lehigh Valley's State Representatives and candidates in endorsing the bill to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. The event was organized by Alan Jennings of Community Action, and held at the Second Harvest Food Bank. My position is simply that the fruits of person's labor should earn them more than one Happy Meal. Although the sparse audience was essentially the food Bank workers, one by one, the representatives gave essentially the same speech, some even quoting Roosevelt and Martin Luther King.
reprinted from September 2014 
A sample comment, submitted by Wayne Woodman in Sept. of 2014
Fewer than 2% of working adults earns the minimum wage. It will have no real effect other than to make self indulged elected officials feel like they have compassion for the working poor. Maybe it makes for good politics but it makes for bad policy. A fifty percent increase will definitely have a trickle up affect causing those making more than $10.10 an hour currently to demand commensurately more since they offer more value. In the least worst case this will lead to wage and price inflation negating the increase of the minimum. In the worst case, which is more likely, business owners, especially those in low margin businesses like restaurants, will have a greater incentive to invest in capital to streamline their services or, if possible, fully automate a position currently held by a low wage earner. To weak kneed politicians this is preferable to addressing the real problem. Failing schools are producing graduates, if they graduate at all, unqualified for all but the most minimal of tasks. Our economy is currently oversupplied with these workers and for many residents of inner cities, in particular, these minimum skill jobs are their only access to the first rung on the employment ladder. There is no doubt at all that having a job, even a low wage job, is better than remaining idle when it comes to producing a better future for ones self. This type of thing seems to always occur in election years as the equivalent of the tradition of the Roman Empire of providing bread and circuses to the mob upon the elevation of a new emperor. Once again what makes for good politics produces bad policy. Wayne Woodman September 2014 

At the time, I received many comments opposing an increase to the minimum wage. Yesterday, Tom Wolf pledged to introduce a minimum wage bill to Pennsylvania's State House. Locally, Pat Browne supports the increase. With a Republican majority in both chambers, I see no possibility of it passing. My support is based on my experience as a property manager. When the fruits of a minimum paying job cannot support even a modest roof over your head, in a low rent town, some increase is in order.


Anonymous said...

A higher minimum wage reduces employment opportunities for young people. There are far less teenagers working today. Do we want to compound that problem? One cannot use good intentions as the final measure when crafting legislation. It must be a net plus to get support. The higher minimum wage is just feel good legislation.
In the meantime one is free to pay their employees $10.00 an hour now if they see a benefit or want to do "the right thing".

Scott Armstrong

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...


In short, supply and demand. There is an over abundance of low wage qualified employees. Poverty wages have existed forever and I believe most people in these positions are happy enough to do only what they need to do to get by.

As an employer myself, I have witnessed as I raised wages most worked less hours therefor worked only to sustain themselves but never better themselves. While I am not against the idea I have seen firsthand what the unmotivated class does. You can lead them to water but you can't make them drink.

With that in mind, our government has no problem importing millions of low skilled workers that will only replenish the pool of these workers. Rinse and repeat.


doug_b said...

As the cost of a component rises (whether it's labor or goods) the market will look for other ways to achieve the same result.

Forcing wage increases, without productivity increases will encourage business owners to search for other solutions. Current automated solutions my be available - but too expensive. Once you raise the wage - automated solutions may be cheaper or more attractive.

Some Applebee's restaurants have iPads at the table. You order your meal, and 'runner' brings out your food. Presto! No server.

A real living wage would have to be around $15 - $18 an hour.

michael molovinsky said...

there has been a minimum wage law in effect since 1938, with the current rate since 2009.

Dreaming of Justice said...

There does need to be an increase in the minimum wage.. to at least $10.00 per hour. An alternative could be to exempt employers who are offering full benefits to all employees.

Anonymous said...

In many cases I have found ones opinion on the minimum wage is significantly impacted by their own financial status.

Many do not know the stress of cobbling together a living on a couple of part time jobs and occasional temporary employment.

The Affordable Care Act has compounded the complexity of this issue. In my opinion health care should be FREE to everyone and then increase the minimum wage.

AuH20 said...

if we increase the minimum wage do we then lower the earned income tax credit. That credit, in fact, is designed to compensate low wage earners by returning to them taxes they never paid. Only in liberal America.
Most minimum wager earners are not responsible for 'putting a roof over their heads.' They are kids working after school, moms taking a part time job, etc. For those who do have to put a roof over their heads they are always qualified for rent subsidies, food subsidies, medicaid and on and on.
Why should the guy who owns a deli or bodega be responsible for paying someone more than they can afford..or think the employee is worth?
Cut illegal immigration, put back strict work requirements for welfare recipients and other practical reforms and the minimum wage won't matter....except in election cycles.