Senate DFL wants a raise for low-wage workers

  • Article by: JENNIFER BROOKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 10, 2013 - 9:46 PM

A bill to increase state's minimum wage draws fire from advocates for workers, Republicans and employers.

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jemerson91Jan. 10, 13 9:58 PM

Prepare for your favorite independent restaurant to shutter it's doors, the summer high school kids extra help and overall customer service to disappear.

nimrod888Jan. 10, 1310:26 PM

Why stop at $7.50 per hour? Why not $10.00 per hour? $20.00 per hour? If a livable minimum wage is what the DFL wants, why only $7.50 per hour? What about those making $8.00 per hour now, seeing some unqualified person start immediately at $.50 less per hour than they are making? Won't those people then need a bump in pay? This why the minimum wage argument is, and always will be, nothing more than political grandstanding. Anyone who understands Econ 101 knows the foolishness of setting any minimum wage standards.

TobsterJan. 10, 1310:33 PM

I have to agree that raising only some people's pay marginalizes everyone else. It's like everyone else just got their pay cut a little. I remember making minimum wage. It wasn't very nice so it motivated me to keep pressing forward in life. That did infinitely more for me than raising my pay would have in those unskilled jobs back then.

dbweeksJan. 10, 1310:42 PM

It is a given that if the cost of an item goes up, you buy less of it. When the cost of labor goes up, businesses will buy less of it. Proportionally a greater number of minorities are in the minimum wage jobs as they come into the work force. A higher minimum wage will result in a disproportionate "adverse impact" on minorities under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. With pricing out their labor, what you have is a discriminatory practice under the doctrine of diparate impact.

webceltJan. 10, 1310:42 PM

$7.50 is just a tiny bit less a starvation wage than the federal minimum. Given the dependence of low wage worker on charitable and government help, a low minimum wage is a subsidy to low wage employers. The minimum wage topped out around $11 relative to inflation, and that's still not much. Set it to $11 to get it caught up, and then index it to inflation. @Tobster Are you kidding with "It's like everyone else just got their pay cut a little". If someone else enjoys a good meal, does the food vanish from your plate? You're only happy if other people are miserable? I'm really mystified where you get that idea.

DufferHJan. 10, 1310:52 PM

The story adjusts the minimum wage to 1970s. How do average wages compare when adjusted to 1970? That is basic to this story.

marberryJan. 10, 1310:57 PM

Working for the minimum wage is something that every red blooded American should aspire to. After all, because we consume oxygen and occupy space we are entitled whatever government can provide for us.

dlzabzJan. 10, 1311:11 PM

In Zimbabwe a loaf of bread costs $10million (Zimbabwe dollars). All this talk of raising minimum wage is political grandstanding. You can't just raise one type of income without some type of counter effect. I'm sure in Zimbabwe the have a lot of billionaires.

cGeeJan. 10, 1311:12 PM

Once again, the laws of unintended consequences will hurt those most for whom the law is intended to help. You have to wonder about these politicians who tinker with wages and price controls, yet have never taken a course in economics or looked at financial matters through a filter of common sense. Can you spell B-U-Y-I-N-G V-O-T-E-S?

aviendhaJan. 10, 1311:15 PM

Everyone who thinks that paying someone a decent wage is going to mean the end of low prices and quality service should probably start shopping at Costco. They pay their workers well above the average ($15/18 hour) with benefits and their prices are great. Why? Because the executive board isn't out to scam every cent they can out of their employees. And frankly, I suspect anyone who touts Econ 101. Our current financial crisis was invented by people who thought they knew something about economics, to the point where they thought basic math didn't matter any more. People who make more money spend more money, up to a certain point after their basic needs and immediate wants are covered. That's why the middle class drives the economy: because nearly all their income is spent on basic needs and immediate wants. It's why the wealthy don't drive the economy: nearly all their income is taken out of the economy to draw interest, and the only thing they spend money on is their basic needs and immediate wants (which, for the most part, are not significantly different from the middle class--you don't see a lot of rich people with 15 cars and 20 TVs; wealthy people are by and large not conspicuous consumers like Paris Hilton). Look, the cost of living has gone up while wages have not. When $7.35 bought twice as much as it did today, the economy was better off. Keeping wages artificially low while costs continue to rise does exactly one thing: it puts more people in poverty, which is precisely what has happened. I can't think of a single economic system where increasing the poverty rate makes a society better off. Arguing to increase the poverty level by forcing wages to remain low in the face of rising costs is ludicrous. It puts more people on the bitter edge of survival and costs the government more money! What are you saving? Nothing! Pay people a fair wage for their labor, and NO, business owners do not get to decide what that is. If it were up to them, they would all be like Wal-mart: driving competition out through unfair business practices, paying workers the bare minimum while forcing them to work unpaid overtime or scheduling them just under the required hours to qualify for health insurance, to the point where the majority of their employees qualify for Medicaid! Yeah, no wonder Wal-mart is so profitable, the taxpayer is paying their bills for them. We do not want the fox deciding what's good for the henhouse. Federal wages need to be reflective of today's cost of living, and it needs to be regulated and enforced. If you want the privilege of doing business here, then you have to pay up. If you don't want to pay, then by all means take your business to the third world and see if they can afford your cheap t-shirts and toys. After all, their wages are so low, they must have tons of money to spend on your products, right?


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