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Minimum Wage Plan Should Spark Maximum Rage

Minimum Wage Plan Should Spark Maximum Rage

February 18, 2013

By Raynard Jackson

NNPA Columnist

Last week, President Obama gave his annual State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress. I am stunned at how far left he has moved politically. He wants more government spending, more programs, and more government regulations. Ted Kennedy, the late senator from Massachusetts, would be very proud of Obama’s continued lurch to the left.

The one thing that stood out with me from his speech was his wanting to increase the federal minimum wage from $ 7.25 an hour to $ 9 an hour. With a weak economy, you want to increase the cost of labor? Are you kidding me?

This is like asking someone who just had a root canal to have a steak dinner or someone with a broken leg to play basketball—it’s painful. I am philosophically opposed to a minimum wage because it is very detrimental to the very people it’s supposed to help – low and under-skilled workers.

I know why a minimum wage was created. Its creation flowed out of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Workers were routinely exploited in factories and sweatshops and worked in unimaginably horrible conditions.

Like many government programs, good often intensions lead to mission creep. Mission creep is when you create a program to solve a very specific problem and then the solution is expanded to address an additional problem that had nothing to do with the original problem. It’s like going to the grocery store to buy food and walking out with a new pair of shoes along with the food. There is nothing wrong with buying a new pair of shoes, but it has absolutely nothing to do with feeding your family.

Minimum wage started out as a way of protecting mostly women and children from being exploited. But, it has now led to the notion of livable wage. I live in Virginia where the livable wage is in excess of $ 10 an hour (well above the federal minimum wage of $ 7.25 an hour). Local politicians determine what the livable wage is (but it is always higher than the federal minimum wage).

Even the most radical of liberals must admit that workplace protections have improved drastically since the 1930s; so worker protection is no longer a valid argument for minimum wage laws. Thus, the pro-minimum wage crowd has morphed into the pro-livable wage crowd.

As an employer, my goal is not a livable wage, but a profit. I know with the Obama crowd profit is a dirty word; but no businessman opens a business with the goal of paying a livable wage. Their whole raison d’etre is to make a profit. Any smart businessperson knows this means he or she has to pay a fair wage to make a profit or the employer will constantly lose good employees. It’s called free market economics. What a novel concept in Obama’s America!

As cold as it might seem, as an employer, your not making enough money to raise your family is not my issue. It is your private matter. Employers pay employees based on value added to the business, not on how many kids you have or the cost to sending those children to school.

The people who want employers to pay them so they can raise their children (a private matter) are the same people who tell their employers to stay out of their private lives—they should be able to smoke away from the job, be overweight (even if it make the cost of health insurance more expensive for all employees), watch pornography at home, or be a member of the KKK during their hours away from the job.

So, I am somewhat confused that employees want privacy when it comes to certain personal behavior, but when it comes to pay, they want to use their personal behavior (having a family) as the basis for increased pay. You can’t have it both ways.

My point is that the market place should determine the cost of labor based on value added to the business, not some politician who doesn’t understand business or has never had to meet a payroll.

Am I cold and heartless? Not at all. But rest assured that if I mistreat my employees, it eventually will affect my business and I won’t be around very long. Most business owners understand the value of having satisfied employees. But either your private life is off limits or it’s not. Make a choice.

After hearing Obama’s speech about the minimum wage, I am amazed that more Americans haven’t responded with maximum rage.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at raynard1223.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

amark February 23, 2013 at 09:55 PM
Fifa that game was terrible. My team did not put on a good showing, however I stayed until the end. I must say they need to get the traffic flow on that campus corrected because I was stuck in a parking garage for almost an hour after the game. Maybe Owe'malley can raise taxes to fund some new roads around campus or something.
FIFA February 23, 2013 at 10:10 PM
amark, we agree on one thing, your team stunk. Secondly, it is not up to O'Malley (correct spelling) to fix parking. Only rookies park in garages for Terp games. Pay some more money and get in lot 9b with the elites. I was home north of Baltimore in 1 hour, and I stayed until the end.
JustABill February 24, 2013 at 02:32 AM
Steve, I know plenty of members from several different unions that will say the one spreading myths is YOU! Most hospitality, service industry, retail workers, skilled trade unions, and even utility workers as well as some government employee unions have language in their contracts that directly bases how their wages are calculated off the minimum wage. Most of them also make adjustments to their base wage package at the same percentage as adjustments to the minimum wage.
JustABill February 24, 2013 at 02:56 AM
Sue, you can believe this all you want but the unspoken truth about minimum wage jobs is they are most often not filled by the "head of household" wage earner so the point about it being below the poverty level is moot. The claim that raising the minimum wage by $1.75 (or if Obama got his way by $2.75) would only result in a few pennies increase for goods and services is a pipe dream. This much of an increase will result in a snowball affect on the cost of everything from fast food and groceries to hotel stays and retail goods. Fifa's earlier example of McDonald's labor cost was wrong from the beginning but not just because he calculates the labor cost increase affect on the gross margin incorrectly but also because he is not including the eventual cost increases to everything involved in the restaurant operation such as food cost, cleaning supplies, packaging, advertising, even pest control that will all be directly connected to the increase in the minimum wage. Anyone that assumes that increasing the minimum wage will only increase labor cost for any business clearly never sat through a semester of Business 101 and perhaps never even managed a business of any kind.
kevin February 24, 2013 at 03:19 AM
Why Don't we limit comments to one or two per article? For God's sake you can replace FIFA and his crew with DNC and give them a blog isn't woth reading comments anymore when FIFA and his gang get on it's all political BS you have to read through 30 comments to see one other point.Patch knows this of course so does the Maryland Democratic party .Please do someting about this how about The Patch corner? After one comment you go to a blog and let people choose if they want to hear a drunken arguement go on and on.I know I've been guilty in past realized this is a community paper and I'm NOT that important. These diatribes are ruining"the Patch " experience.I used to ask people did you see The Patch it had an article about The kids school or full stories about fires,accidents ,new stores ,events. Now honestly all I hear is it's just a political rag.Not fair to editors and real reporters .Fair for people to exchange point but limit it to once ,that might eliminate the way it always ends as soon as you see certain people enter the string.
franking February 24, 2013 at 04:07 AM
What are you yammering about?
Needaname February 24, 2013 at 04:41 PM
... or do what the majority of us do, skip over certain contributors altogether.
FIFA February 24, 2013 at 04:48 PM
You said it needaname.
Penelope Patch February 27, 2013 at 06:14 AM
ditto
Penelope Patch February 27, 2013 at 06:17 AM
FIFA really doesn't know what he is talking about. I in fact have a graduate level business degree. LOL
Bel Air Girlfriend March 02, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Excellent Article. Well said. Thank you.
FIFA March 02, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Perhaps the time spent reading the article would be well spent watching this video as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM&sns=em
McGibblets March 02, 2013 at 09:34 PM
from your video... "and this has only gotten worse in the last 20-30 years" imagine that, it coincides with full deployment of the minimum wage for all covered, non exempt workers which began in 1978. From your video in 1976, before this full tilt minimum wage, allegedly more americans held more of the wealth. So what exactly is the point of your video as it pertains to this blog/post? Are you suggesting that raising the minimum wage will actually narrow the gap? that it will actually employ more people? that it will raise the wealth of the poor while lowering the wealth of the rich? Surely you're not that naive.
1ke March 02, 2013 at 09:45 PM
I like the visual bending, stretching, unstacking and re-stacking. I think the most frightening thing is the part that basically decent people play in defending the justice of this scheme to the bitter end. The recruitment of this avant garde of suckers has been subtle and phrased in terms that refer to godliness and love of country. I appreciate the link and will pass it along in life.
FIFA March 02, 2013 at 09:45 PM
The point is that the income gap is increasing to all times highs equal to that of the Great Depression of the 1930s, you make of it what you wish. Those are facts, deal with it.
McGibblets March 02, 2013 at 09:49 PM
"Those are facts, deal with it." What evidence do you have that I dont 'deal with it'? You've yet to illustrate though how, as you may be suggesting, raising the minimum wage will solve the problems your video discusses.
1ke March 02, 2013 at 09:51 PM
I guess you understand the dire implications of falling off the chart, of becoming so microscopic that even whipping out the magnifying glass won't help find you and your babies. And we are supposed to preach non-violence and obeying the law and working hard and getting a good education to people who are off the chart? Do you even buy it?
McGibblets March 02, 2013 at 09:51 PM
"I think the most frightening thing is the part that basically decent people play in defending the justice of this scheme to the bitter end." Something we both agree on, i guess liberals will never learn!
FIFA March 02, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Mc, the problem is much larger than the minimum wage. The minimum wage is just a window into the problem.
FIFA March 02, 2013 at 09:54 PM
And in actuality, the cause is mostly due to individual income tax rates at 60 year lows.
1ke March 02, 2013 at 09:54 PM
You blame so-called liberals for this accelerating inequality?
McGibblets March 02, 2013 at 10:03 PM
"Mc, the problem is much larger than the minimum wage. The minimum wage is just a window into the problem." Minimum wage is more than a window into the problem its an actual culprit. Again, you remove the ability or capacity for unskilled (the poor) to acquire skill (the wealthy). I'm not rehashing statements/posts already made in this same thread that you ducked due to convenience or whatever reason... you and 1ke can discuss it all youd like.
Freddy March 02, 2013 at 10:26 PM
On average the probationary firefighter and police officer makes about $15.00 an hour starting out. So let me get this you want to raise the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour for a hamburger flipper, a kid working at a video arcade ect... So for $6.00 more dollars an hours these guys/gals are laying their life on the line for the public. Something don't add up. But then again a football entertainer just got a 6 year 120 million dollar contract to play a stupid game.
FIFA March 02, 2013 at 10:34 PM
You're right Mc, at least 1ke and I would have an intelligent discussion about the topic. Good day.
1ke March 02, 2013 at 10:53 PM
You got it, Freddy. And there are well-meaning decent people who scream until the veins bug out in their necks that public employees have it easy and that they are overpaid, too. They have a right to be pissed, but they have it wrong. They are getting screwed and blaming it on public employees. How do you explain the situation that is explained in the video that FIFA linked?
Steve March 02, 2013 at 11:18 PM
What's the difference in skill levels between a burger flipper and a hose puller? Not much.
1ke March 02, 2013 at 11:33 PM
Except one for one thing, Steve: the hose puller works for us.
1ke March 03, 2013 at 01:50 AM
Drama-rama, OT. Skill was the issue, not working conditions.
Eastsider March 03, 2013 at 02:32 AM
@1ke Let me get this correct your saying the skill of a firefighter is that of a burger flipper?
1ke March 03, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Walking in the door, yes, the skill set is about the same. Come to work, do as you're told, take advanced training as it is offered, and climb the organizational ladder. The fitness requirement is much more demanding for firefighters. Now, if the entry requirements have been raised because of budget-torture imposed by taxpayer resistance or an expanded pool of unemployed people, that has no bearing on the skills argument.

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