Republicans continue to fight minimum wage legislation at the federal level. I find it ironic in a way that a party that fights on the side of the rich has such an issue with understanding that you always get what you pay for, even when it comes to workers.
I run a small business so I totally understand the burden of having to be careful about every dollar spent. And yes, I do understand the added burden that federal and state laws can have on your business.
But I also understand and have learned that nothing is more important than productive and happy workers. Nothing. When your workers are distracted because they can’t make a decent living so they have to work another job to make ends meet, it impacts your business, and likely the other business too. We as business owners pay the cost in lost productivity and all too often the loss of a worker who has to find something else, which then means the cost involved in finding and retraining another worker. So we are going to pay one way or another. Why not pay enough in the first place to at least give workers a chance?
I know Republicans get this point when it comes to higher level workers who have options. We all know we have to compete for the best workers and that usually equates to higher wages. But for some reason, the logic on the Right dissipates when it comes to low income workers. Is it a lack of respect for what they do? A belief that those workers don’t have any options and should be happy with whatever they get?
Of course they would never publicly say these things. So what they argue is that the burden on small businesses would be too great to raise the minimum wage. That it would cause businesses to have to close their doors and it would certainly cause small businesses to slow their hiring of anyone if forced to pay more, thus hurting unemployment numbers further.
Well that argument just doesn’t hold up. A recent University of Delaware study looked at the 13 states that chose not to wait on the federal government and raised the minimum wage in their states since 2011. What the study found was that, contrary to the public argument espoused by Republicans, employment growth among teens not in college and adults without a high school diploma was stronger in states that increased their minimum wages than those that didn’t. These are real numbers. In fact, one letter in support of the minimum wage hike and its impact on the economy, authored by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., was signed by over 600 economists, from institutes and universities all over the country.
But economists and logic don’t seem to matter. Maybe a rich guy or two does. Republicans like those folks. One Seattle millionaire, Nick Hanauer, wrote a piece this past summer for Politico in which he supported a $15 minimum wage, higher even than the $10.10 wage being proposed as the national minimum wage by Democrats right now. In his piece, Hanauer wrote:
No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality...In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out.
I am afraid those on the Right fighting against minimum wage hikes will indeed only respond to being somehow forced to raise the wage. They are otherwise too blind and indifferent to the plight of those that they see on the bottom of the rung to care otherwise. Logic is surely not working.