Robert Brown to introduce minimum wage increase…

……And as expected, Georgia Republicans oppose it.

State Sen. Robert Brown, D-Macon, announced that he will introduce a bill in the General Assembly to boost the state’s minimum and to peg it to inflation so it will automatically rise in the future. He said the chances of success were enhanced by the poll.

State Rep. Jerry Keen, R-St. Simons Island, the majority leader in the House, opposes the increase.

“I personally don’t support it. You start eliminating part-time jobs for young people when you raise it,” he said.

Source: Augusta Chronicle article “Majority backs boost in state minimum pay”

The poll that Sen. Brown is referencing is the one done by the University of Georgia Survey Research Center between Sept. 25 and Oct. 11 among 600 adults. According to this poll, “nearly 90 percent of Georgians surveyed favor raising the state’s minimum wage”.

The last time Georgia’s minimum wage was increased was back in 1997. It’s time to raise the minimum wage again, and I honestly don’t understand why Jerry Keen and the Georgia Republican Party are against giving Georgians a raise.

They’ve earned it.

NOTE: This was cross-posted at Georgia Politics Unfiltered.

71 comments

  1. ugadog says:

    This fits pefectly into the overwhelming theme of why I’m a Democrat. Republicans don’t give a damn about anything but making money.

  2. David says:

    No offense, Andre, but they’ve earned it? Really? Have they gotten more education, acquired new job skills, improved their work ethic? Gained more experience? THESE are the things that get your hourly rate increased. If you become more valuable to the boss, THEN he’ll give you a raise. Of course the majority approves of it. Getting something for nothing is always popular.

  3. Jason Pye says:

    If they can give themselves an extra $45 a day, they can give working folk an extra $0.45 an hour.

    I’m no fan of politicians, are they not working when they are in session?

  4. ColinATL says:

    David,

    Have you tried to live on minimum wage? Do you know how little that is? You have to work two jobs to live, period. Which of course leaves lots more time to get more education and acquire new job skills (lots of generous minimum wage employers out there sending their employees to job training, right).

    You really have no understanding of reality. An increase in the minimum wage would take impoverished people from being totally poor to being mostly poor. Some raise.

  5. Fiddes says:

    “… I honestly don’t understand why Jerry Keen and the Georgia Republican Party are against giving Georgians a raise.”

    Because it’s called ‘market forces,’ Andre. And WHO is going to pay for this raise? It isn’t “government.” Can you guess who it will be?

    I’ll let Donald Deere, Kevin M. Murphy, and Finis Welch from the Cato Institute further my point: “Workers are of varying productivity, so that wages also vary, and a minimum that attempts to raise the wage of those with the lowest productivity will have effects similar to those described in the uniform-quality case. Some will get jobs at higher wages and others will lose jobs. Among those who would earn less than the minimum without the legislation, those with wages closest to the wage floor are the ones whose continued employment will cost employers the least, and they will be most likely to keep their jobs. Within the low-productivity group, the minimum will function like a tax, from poorer to poor—the winners will be those who would have fared best in any case.”

    But at the very least you’ll feel better about yourself, right, Andre?

  6. David says:

    Colin, I have lived on minimum wages before: when I was a teenager in high school. I actually worked at a Western Auto that paid $1.75 and hour when the minimum wage was, I believe, $2.35. I had a good work ethic, was gaining an education and learning more skills that increased my value to my boss at the store. I was promoted and my wages increased. Even today, I still work two jobs. Live is about choices, Colin. If someone doesn’t have the necessary personal traits/drive to earn more than the minimum, then that’s a choice they’ve unfortunately made. And if they are the primary breadwinner making only minimum wage as an adult and have actually reproduced, they are guilty of child abuse because they can’t possibly hope to give that child anything. At that point, they become massive burdens on the productive members of society. Minimum wage increase, sorry. It will only cost jobs. Pure economics.

  7. buzzbrockway says:

    A couple of things about this:

    1) Andre, the government can’t give Georgians a raise, unless they work for the State.

    2) Colin, can people really live on $7.25/hr? No. So if the purpose of the minimum wage is to lift the poor out of poverty as you and many Democrats suggest, let’s raise it to $40k per year and be done with it. While we’re at it, let’s give everyone an Escalade…and a flatscreen.

    3) The Democrats love to talk about the minimum wage not because they love the poor, but because Unions and Government employees want the minimum wage increased so they get a raise – either through existing contracts, or pressure to keep them a certain percent higher than the minimum wage.

    If you want to help the poor, cut taxes on people and on businesses, remove regulation that makes employees and doing business expensive, and generally get government out of the way of the private sector.

  8. Decaturguy says:

    Can 90% of Georgians be wrong? I guess Republicans think so. So much for following the “will of the people.” This is the best chance for Democrats to get back some relevance. Bring it on!

  9. David says:

    Decatur, of course they aren’t wrong. I’m surprised it isn’t higher, actually. Nobody will say “no” to getting another freebie handout from the nanny-state government.

  10. jsm says:

    I hate re-posting things, but sometimes issues have to be re-argued:

    From the U.S. Dept. of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov):
    -Less than 2% of the American working population is currently making minimum wage.
    – Sixty-three percent of minimum wage workers receive raises within one year of employment.
    – Only 15 percent still earn the minimum wage after three years.
    – Only 5.3 percent of minimum wage earners are from households below the official poverty line.
    – Forty percent of minimum wage earners live in households with incomes $60,000 and higher.
    – Over 82 percent of minimum wage earners do not have dependents.
    —-

    The free market should determine wages. Government mandated minimum wage results in fewer entry level jobs, higher product costs, and inflation while essentially helping no one.

  11. David says:

    JSM is right. I’ll try and paraphrase a famous quote that has been with us for many years. “When the populace of a democracy discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury, then democracy is doomed to failure.” It’s true. Our current “vote buying” government way of doing things cannot last.

  12. GabrielSterling says:

    Thanks jsm,

    I was looking for that information. Minimum wage jobs provide the bottom rung of the job ladder.

    As usual, democrats don’t understand economics to save their lives.

    Their plan will just saw off the bottom rungs of the job ladder.

  13. jsm, as has been noted here, other wages are based on the minimum wage floor and not just union and government contracts. I am almost positive that what Chick-Fil-A pays is based on the minimum wage. While it may be more it is very likely related.

    While many Americans don’t make the exact minimum wage, I wonder what percentage make within 10% of it, I bet it is a lot higher than the only 2% that make the actual minimum wage, if you see my point. It’s kind of like saying well no one drives the speed limit, which might be true but a large percentage of drivers stay within about 5 or 10 miles of the limit which influences how we set speed limits (5 miles lower than what it actually needs to be).

    Now, the ultimate proof of whether this will be ruinous should be this: the minimum wage in Georgia and nationally has been raised multiple times since its inception. Has that ever led to economic ruin before? What about even an economic downturn?

  14. ugadog says:

    Buzzbrockway,

    Let’s see what GA Republicans do with HB10, a Georgia Earned Income Tax Credit. It’s a tax cut that Pres. Reagan said was the best anti-poverty, pro-family piece of legislation to come out of Congress. Why do I have a feeling it will never make it out of committee?

  15. David says:

    Uga, the earned income tax credit is horrid. Another vote buying scheme that gives under incomed people something for nothing. Repubs are just as guilty of vote buying as Dems.

  16. atlantaman says:

    I think through all the pandering and demagoging I’m going to ignore the facts regarding minimum wage (the main one being that nobody makes it except for high schoolers) and support it.

    I don’t want people to be poor either, so I say take Buzz’s idea and pay everybody a minimum of $40,000 a year and force employers to throw in a flat screen TV for a signing bonus. To make sure those sneaky retailers can’t raise their prices to offset the increase in their payroll (leaving the poor folks no better off then before), we can place price-caps on everything. The caps worked so well under Nixon.

    Calling Karl Marx.

  17. atlantaman says:

    “Has that ever led to economic ruin before? What about even an economic downturn?”

    No, it’s a shell game. I don’t see how folks can’t understand that in the long run it’s inflationary.

  18. Decaturguy says:

    I completely understand that raising the minimum wage is a shell game. I get it. However, it makes for a great political issue for the Democrats since 90% of Georgians support increasing the minimum wage and Republicans are almost 100% opposed to it. You guys use this sort of stuff all the time to drum up votes. Now it is the Democrats turn. Its a taste of your own medicine.

  19. jsm says:

    Yea. That’s the ticket! Democrats should play a “shell game” with the minimum wage and actually foster inflation to “drum up votes.”

    Fooling poor people who don’t understand economics in order to get their votes, while not actually improving their situation, is despicable.

  20. Adam Fogle says:

    This is basically a moot point. A minimum wage hike truly has little-to-no effect on anything. Democrats trumpet it as a key solution to the “war on poverty” and Republican over-hype it as devastating to small business. Neither are true.

    A leading study by Card and Krueger (1994) found that a minimum wage increase had no effect on employment and the cost of the hike was passed on to the consumer. But taken as a whole, the increase in price to the consumer was more significant when dealing with large businesses like McDonalds as opposed to small businesses (Card & Krueger, 1994)

    That is because big business are a monopsony in the labor market. That essentially means that they have great influence on the market of labor and can significantly affect the market price buy varying the amount purchased – or for these purposes, the number of persons employed.

    Card and Krueger (2000) later reaffirmed the findings in their 1994 study that an increased minimum wage had no effect on employment and possibly had a small positive effect. Some firms raised employment while others cut jobs and, if the minimum wage hike was “modest,” then the two essentially canceled each other out. The only real negative effect noted was a very small overall decline in hours worked (Card & Krueger, 2000).

    The studies also found that there is really very little impact on inflation as this only effects a minimal number of workers, and most significantly big businesses. Because the cost is only moderately passed on to the consumer, there is little evidence that if effects the overall level of prices. The traditional forces of supply vs. productivity and interest rates will dominate determinacy of inflation rates. A minimum wage increase is a very insignificant “force” in this dynamic.

    I’m generally of the absolutist lassaiz-faire style of economics, but in this case – because the effects are generally insignificant – if it makes people feel better about working, I suppose there’s really no harm in a modest wage hike.

  21. “Fooling poor people who don’t understand economics in order to get their votes, while not actually improving their situation, is despicable. ”

    JSM i’ve been looking for the perfect way to describe the “Fair Tax” for some time now and you’ve done a better job than I ever could have.

  22. On a lighter note, if there is one thing in the world that would make my mother happy (and many of other suburban moms) it would be their teenage children (my younger brothers) getting jobs during the summer so they aren’t just hanging around the house for 3 months.

    A minimum wage increase to them would mean a summer job is instantly about 20% more appealing than it was before. Considering Republicans do so well with Republican voters, I’m surprised more of them aren’t for this also.

  23. Decaturguy says:

    Jsm,

    That is exactly what Democrats are going to do and it will leave Republicans having to explain to the 90% majority of the population why they are wrong about this issue. Good luck with that!

  24. DougieFresh says:

    The poll is useless, as are all of them. The voter is never confronted with debate on the issue, and they answer with whatever makes them feel good at the moment. Politicians who base their votes on polls such as this are dim-witted fools.

    I want to sponsor a poll that asks.

    “Should the government guarentee that every worker earns above 100K a year?”

    Since the average worker makes less than 40K, I am sure it will get a majority of the vote. So, does it make good or responsible policy?

    How about, “Should the government stop collecting taxes?” Or “Should the government prevent prices of food and neccessities from increasing year after year?”

    I am pretty certain those will get a majority as well. Is this good policy?

    If the minimum wage works so well and is such a wonderful idea, why not make it high enough to guarentee that everyone is rich? If that is not such a good idea, then at what point does it become one? The answer is that is never does.

  25. Adam says:

    I was just about to post the same question as Decaturguy. Is it reasonable to assume that those of you opposed to the hike are opposed to the minimum wage altogether? I don’t want to mischaracterize anyone’s position.

    In the meantime, here is some interesting reading on states that have a greater minimum wage than the federally mandated level: http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/briefingpapers_bp150

  26. DougieFresh says:

    Rug,

    There is no hyperbole in my questions. Pollsters report the ignorance and intellectual laziness of the average voter. This is why we elect representatives. It is a lot easier to evaluate the judgement of a single person than the merits of 1000’s of pieces of legislation.

    DG,

    So, you are advocating taking away a person’s right to choose to work for anything they want. What about volunteers? Why should it be legal to volunteer if there is a minimum wage? Why is it legal to recieve $0.00 an hour, but illegal to recieve $0.01, if it is what I personally choose to do?

    I would ask where you stand on the abortion issue, but I am pretty confident it is the side that claims to be “pro choice”. Except of course in the area of choosing how much your labor is worth.

  27. Buzz, you say:
    Yea DG, Democrats never use an issue purely for votes. Right.

    Fortunately for Republicans, we are not very good at picking issues that the majority of voters are with us on. In that sense, a minimum wage increase would be the exception to the rule.

  28. DougieFresh says:

    Adam,

    I am opposed. Unlike almost everyone of you, I was raised by someone who was making an “unlivable” wage, and pretty much all of what is posted here is by people who have no concept of that situation.

    We got by because we didn’t have cable, didn’t run the air conditioner, lived with chilly setting on the thermostat in the winter and never ate out. I read encyclopedias and books for entertainment. I also wore second hand coords and faded shirts.

    I was still able to go to college (georgia tech) and graduate with a degree (chemical engineering).
    mother who made minimum wage, and still managed to go to college (Georgia Tech) and graduated with a Chemical Engineering degree (out of state, no less).

    I have known many people with fast food jobs and have worked as a cashier, bus-boy and even sorted bolts to help pay for college, and I have never seen minimum wage.

    After a couple years of school, I was able to get jobs that then paid over $10 and hour. The only thing the minimum wage does is prevent completely unskilled labor from finding employment. Once you have any marketable skill (even in fast food or gardening), you will be able to demand much more than minimum wage.

    This issue is simply one that con-men try to use to fool people into voting their way. There is no logic (in a free society) for allowing such non-sense from a business side or from the labor side.

    I am glad to know that DG knows exactly at what point a low wage becomes an exploit of the worker, despite his own wishes. Who cares if it results in his unemployment, as long as it makes DG and other liberals feel good.

  29. So DougieFresh why don’t you (and others) take opposition to the minimum wage to its obvious conclusion and advocate the elimination of it?

    I (and the vast majority of Georgia voters) would be against it but if it’s so great for the economy to eliminate the minimum wage after the initial political hit you’d be back in power by showing voters what a good decision it was. No?

  30. DougieFresh says:

    I said I was against it. But, many other things are more important and more winnable to me.

    Preventing a foolish action, raising it, is important enough to comment on.

    If you are sliding toward a cliff, once the slide has stopped, you can breath somewhat easily. When the slide is restarted by some liberal do-goodery, then its time to go into panic mode again.

    As once being someone these liberals were “protecting” I am really offended when they speak of things they know nothing about.

  31. Decaturguy says:

    Dougie,

    Do you really truly believe that there are workers out there who would “choose” to make $5.15 an hour if, all other things being equal, they had opportunities to make more money in another job. Do you really think that if you provided these people a “choice” between $5.15 or $7.25 they would not take the $7.25?

    When Congress passed the 1938 law establishing the minimum wage, I’m just assuming that employers were exploiting the lowest skilled workers out there and not paying them enough to get by on. Why do you want to repeat the past?

  32. liberty21 says:

    90% of Georgians I am one of them is for Increasing the minimum wage. I guess a GOP majority has a stance on this issues of a vast minority. Workers need better paying jobs.

  33. Adam Fogle says:

    90% of Georgians I am one of them is for Increasing the minimum wage. I guess a GOP majority has a stance on this issues of a vast minority. Workers need better paying jobs.

    liberty21,

    Is that the English language you are attempting to destroy? I know it’s the internet and grammatical rules are lax, but damn, there’s a certain mandatory minimum of coherence.

    Seriously though folks, minimum wage is such a non-issue. As I’ve already stated, a modest minimum wage increase won’t affect unemployment and won’t affect inflation.

    If anything, it may slightly increase productivity, but that’s really the only plausible impact.

    Can we please move on already?

  34. atlantaman says:

    The government can’t artificially increase the buying power for a job skill-set.

    It’s like the argument, “Why not make the minimum wage $100,000 and everyone will be happy”. To which liberals people reply, “That’s ridiculous everyone knows prices will increase dramatically if the MW is set at $100,000.” But the point is if you raise the MW in a small incremential amount, then the market will adjust in a barely noticeable incremental way.

    Not only will in adjust at the bottom, but there will be a chain reaction. If Joe teenager get’s a minimum wage increase, then Joe’s manager will eventually get a proportional salary increase, and then the CEO of the company will get an increase, etc.. Then if other non-movie companies don’t want to lose their executives to the now higher paying salaries of the movie chain they will have to increase their executive pay as well. As all these companies have to pay more salary they’ll have to raise prices to remain profitable, because if they don’t maintain the same level of profit people will sell their stock and it’s price will plummet.

    When prices get raised as a result of all this, they’ll be another bleeding heart calling for a raise in the MW.

    Here is an interesting link to article Buckley recently wrote about the MW:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ucwb/20061123/cm_ucwb/thephonyworldofminimumwage

  35. joe says:

    buzz and chris,

    Government contracts (at least fed contracts) are not based on the minimum wage. They are based on a Department of Labor wage determination. The determination may be on a local or national basis.

    Government salaries (again feds) are base primarily on union negotiatons. I do not know, but doubt if they use a factor of the minimum wage. They may have years ago, but since the minimumum fed wage has greatly surpassed MW, it is more likely based on previous years and cost of living.

    I am a government contractor.

  36. I’m going to attempt to close out debate on this subject and thread by saying that the nonpartisan Georgia Budget & Policy Institute (GBPI) released a study that suggested that “an estimated 672,000 workers and 413,000 children” would benefit from a $2.10 increase in the state’s minimum wage.

    Since 1997, the last time the Georgia minimum wage was increased, the price of gas has increased; the price of groceries has increased; the cost of putting a roof over your head has increased, but the minimum wage hasn’t.

    For me, something is incredibly wrong with that.

    We are fortunate enough to live in one of the richest countries on the face of this earth, and yet we have folks that go to bed hungry each night; folks that are struggling to make ends meet; struggling to support their families. I’m not saying that raising the minimum wage will put an end to the struggles of living, but it’s something that will most certainly help.

    $10,712 a year is not enough to live on or raise a family on, and we Democrats are strongly in support of creating opportunity for Georgians who work hard and play by the rules.

    Since 1997, the last time the minimum wage was increased, we’ve seen the likes of Ken Lay and the boys get richer and richer while America’s middle class has been in decline. Georgia’s working families and America’s working families have sat back and watched as Ken Lay and his ilk have gotten rich by breaking all the rules.

    As I’ve said, we Democrats are for creating opportunity for those who work hard and play the rules; and now the time is to reward those Georgians and those Americans who have worked hard, played by the rules, and done their best to support their families.

    In Zell Miller’s book, “A Deficit of Decency”, he wrote that when the decision-makers are gathering to make policy that affects the people, they should ask themselves this one question…

    Is it decent?

    Simply put, raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do and it is the decent thing to do.

  37. Jason Pye says:

    We are fortunate enough to live in one of the richest countries on the face of this earth, and yet we have folks that go to bed hungry each night; folks that are struggling to make ends meet; struggling to support their families. I’m not saying that raising the minimum wage will put an end to the struggles of living, but it’s something that will most certainly help.

    The overwhelming majority of the wealth in this country is through individual achievement. After all, wealth is not distributed, it is EARNED.

    Employers should determine when a raise is given, not government.

    Government should stay with in it’s boundaries by protecting the individual rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

  38. Adam Fogle says:

    Since we continue to discuss a pointless issue, allow me to make a pointless observation:

    We’re all doing a hell of a lot of work here, and NONE of us are being paid to do it (unless you’re on PP at work).

    Hence, I propose a wage hike for bloggers. Hell, I propose a wage… period. Think about it y’all. We work harder on PP than your average Taco Bell employee works on making the #2 e. coli special burrito, and we make about $6 less per hour for doing so.

    In the pathetic prophetic words of Andre, “Simply put, [paying bloggers] is the right thing to do and it is the decent thing to do.”

  39. David says:

    “Working families…” WTF is that?!?!?!?!?

    Class warfare, envy at it’s best. It’s sickening…

    Are those who make $100,000 a year not WORKING for their salary?

    People are not equal in this world. They never will be.

    Artificially trying to make it happen is BS.

    A person gets paid what they’re worth to their employer. Period.

    The “decent” thing to do would be to reduce the confiscatory tax rates that are already in place on those citizens who actually produce. They are the true “working” people!

  40. atlantaman says:

    “Georgia’s working families and America’s working families have sat back and watched as Ken Lay and his ilk have gotten rich by breaking all the rules.”

    Hasn’t it already been established that “working families” don’t really make the minimum wage? I know the issue is harder to demagogue when you’re fighting for waitresses and part-time high schoolers, but try and make your arguments at least somewhat factual. There are illegal aliens in Hall country, working in chicken processing plants, making $10 an hour for God’s sake.

  41. Decaturguy says:

    If anyone can show me that the last minimum wage increase from $4.25 to $5.15 an hour in 1996 caused caused massive inflation, job losses, and economic hardship, then I may buy your argument. But you cannot.

    I will ask again, if you oppose increasing the minimum wage on the grounds that the free market ought to set wages, do you propose eliminating the minimum wage altogether and if an employer wants to pay a worker 50 cents an hour they could?

  42. jsm says:

    “Since 1997, the last time the Georgia minimum wage was increased, the price of gas has increased; the price of groceries has increased; the cost of putting a roof over your head has increased, but the minimum wage hasn’t.

    “For me, something is incredibly wrong with that.”

    It is not government’s place to make sure wages keep up with costs, nor should it be. That’s backward logic.

    “$10,712 a year is not enough to live on or raise a family on…”

    You should add to that a tax refund of approximately $3000 to 5000, depending on number of dependents, etc. See memberg’s post above.

    “…now the time is to reward those Georgians and those Americans who have worked hard, played by the rules, and done their best to support their families.”

    We’ve already established here that there is no reward to minimum wage earners since the cost of living rises with the minimum wage.

    We all know raising the minimum wage is nothing more than a political stunt to hose the poor and take advantage of their vote. Real statesman should shout this from the housetops.

  43. atlantaman says:

    If you force a company (like a movie theatre or restaurant) that pays minimum wage to raise their payroll costs the money has to come from somewhere…it doesn’t just grow on trees.

    You’ve basically got three options:

    1. Raise prices – inflationary
    2. Cut costs – job loss
    3. Reduce Profits – shareholders redirect their capital

    I dont’ think anyone is stating there will be massive inflation, massive job loss or destroy the economy if the MW is raised.

    To answer the question about $0.50 an hour, I would say you’re only going have the buying power the free market decides your skillset deserves. The government can’t change your buying power, if it could poor people would have been eliminated a long time ago. The best thing government can do is stay away from business, entrepreneuralism and innovation – which is why America experienced such an increase in the standard of living during the last 200 years compared to other countries.

    If a lot of people began working for $0.50 an hour it would be deflationary – manufacturers could reduce their prices, etc.. I’d be happy to make $0.50 an hour if a car cost $1,000.

    The currency only assists in people trading skillsets and goods in the free market. What you earn is basically irrelevant, it’s what you can buy with what you earn that is relevant.

  44. atlantaman says:

    Touching on the $0.50 an hour idea a little more I have two thoughts:

    1. You already have an underground workforce of illegal aliens that essentially has no minimum wage. If employers wanted to they could pay the illegal workers $0.50 an hour since the employers are already breaking the law by hiring the workers. Yet time and time again we see that illegal aliens make in the $8 to $12 an hour range – the free market at work.

    2. If someone actually was stupid enough to work for $0.50 an hour that stupidity would be utilized in other areas of their job performance. Basically the person would be so stupid that he would be unemployed at the minimum wage level. So the question is, for this ridiculous exception, would the person be better off making $0.50 an hour without minimum wage laws or unemployed with minimum wage laws.

  45. Adam Fogle says:

    “part-time high schoolers” these days I’m sure have families. Or at least children.

    Yup… and they’re all on here trying to play politics with one of the most over-hyped issues of our generation.

    IT DOESN’T MATTER, FOLKS!

    Republicans: Move on because Democrats make you look like an elitist jackass when you deny 17 year olds an extra soy-burger an hour. In light of the fact that a reasonable minimum wage hike obviously does not affect inflation, Dems will always take you to the house on this issue. If you meet this criteria, you’re an idiot. Pick your battles… this isn’t one of them.

    Democrats: Keep baiting Republicans into arguing this issue because any takers fall into the above category.

  46. Decaturguy says:

    The best thing government can do is stay away from business, entrepreneuralism and innovation – which is why America experienced such an increase in the standard of living during the last 200 years compared to other countries.

    And the minimum wage has been in effect since 1938 – for 68 years. Haven’t we seen some of the biggest economic growth and increase in standard of living in the U.S. since 1938?

    Another fact: Over 68% of people earning just the minimum wage are adults, not high school students.

    About illegal immigrants, I am certain of one thing. If you took all of the illegal immigrants out of the workforce, you would cause much more economic harm, inflation, and costs to business, then any increase in the minimum wage would do.

  47. Decaturguy says:

    It’s kind of funny the way many of the “free market” wage people are against the “free market” when it comes to immigrant labor.

  48. jsm says:

    We’re not against the “free market” when it comes to immigrant labor. We’re against ILLEGAL immigrant labor. The free market will take care of itself.

  49. Decaturguy says:

    You are against “illegal” immigrant labor, but what makes that labor illegal? False Controls on immigration that do not regognize the “free market” demand for such labor. If there truly were a “free market” for labor and wages, businesses would be able to hire whomever they needed to do a job, regardless of where they found them, and be able to pay them whatever the demand. That is not true, so we really don’t have a free labor market, now, do we?

  50. jsm says:

    Businesses are hiring illegals now. So, this does not take away the existence of a free market. Additionally, the presence or non-presence of illegals does not affect whether the market is free. Only the available labor pool changes. The availability of a commodity is a force in the free market; it does not end its existence.

    We don’t have a pure “free market” for labor because of the minimum wage (i.e. price control). Businesses pay the market price for labor as long as it’s above the government requirement.

  51. atlantaman says:

    Decaturguy-

    For the most part I agree with you that the labor market is not free due to restrictions on who can move to the USA. Ironically when the problem first began to surface over 20 years ago the Democrats like Bill Bradley and labor unions were very opposed to illegal immigration due to their forcing wages down. I think lately the Dems and unions have adopted a, “If you can’t beat them join them attitude”.

    There is no question that illegal immigrants and outsourcing for that matter make products and services more affordable for everyday Americans. I think that point is lost when we get too focused on raising wages.

    The only reason I don’t support more immigration is the country has changed from its roots. It’s not the same as it was with prior immigrants. There are no so many social programs, freebies and medical give-aways available that it’s suffocating many border states. I see this trend continuing across the country.

    If it were a true free market then we wouldn’t be obligated to provide a support structure for all the illegals.

  52. defnotrep says:

    I think there should be a two tier minimum wage. If you are under, 18 yrs maybe $4 or $ 5 an hr. and if you are over 18 maybe $8. Personally I don’t think most teenagers are worth over $4 or $5 an hr. Oops sorry that’s probably not politically correct.

    At least having a discussion on a different strategy might be good.

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