Friday, May 25, 2007

Minimum wage, maximum deceit

Most of the arguments in favor of the minimum wage have always amused me for a variety of reasons, but the Star-Tribune highlights what I consider one major fallacy with the whole concept. The article is entitled “Congress approves $2.10 hike in minimum wage” with the sub-head “Congress sends first increase in the federal minimum wage in a decade to Bush for his signature.”

Parts of the article read as follows:

Congress handed a major victory to low-income workers, approving with little fanfare the first increase in the federal minimum wage in a decade.

President Bush was expected to sign the bill quickly, and workers who now make $5.15 an hour will see their paychecks go up by 70 cents per hour before the end of the summer. Another 70 cents will be added next year, and by summer 2009, all minimum-wage jobs will pay no less than $7.25 an hour….

…"Wages have been unconscionably frozen for the last decade" said Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee...

...Rep. George Miller, D-Calif….said, "America's workers have been waiting for a raise for a long time."

Ok… will someone please point out to me ANY responsible able-bodied adult who’s been making the minimum wage for ten years? If you can, I’ll have little problem pointing out bad personal decisions or work habits keeping them there, not ‘the system’ or ‘the man’ or lack of a Congressional minimum wage hike.

Let me put it another way…if you take away my work history, resume, post-high school education, paint me any color you’d like (within humanly definable DNA patterns), and put me in a job paying $5.15 an hour, it’s not going to take ten years for me to reach $7.25. It’s not going to take 10 months or maybe even 10 weeks. In fact, before the end of the year I’d probably be making at least double that. How? Simply by being a good worker. Employers love reliable employees who show up on time, put in the required hours, don’t look for reasons to bitch and complain, and maybe even do a bit extra. That sort of approach to work yields a positive reputation, a commodity with which I can build a resume that commands higher compensation.

Congress actually gets in the way of all this by telling people that they don’t have it within themselves to achieve a better life without this kind of legislation.

One other amusing note; Nancy Pelosi just had to throw in her belief that "…we are raising wages for the hardest-working Americans."

I’m sorry, but the “hardest-working Americans” won’t be found in minimum wage jobs. They don’t limit themselves to 5 8-hour days a week. They work at least 60 hours a week (usually more), on weekends, and don’t depend on Democrats to give them a raise. They’re independent types who make it on their own and have no need for the government when it comes to making a higher wage. Which is probably why Democrats don’t talk about them very much.

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