Minimum Wage And The Senate
This is a blog post in full from a lobbying group.
By National Association of Manufacturers on Politics
This week the Senate is expected to take up the Defense Authorization bill, S. 2766. However, because there is no requirement in the Senate that amendments be germane to the underlying bill (remember, this is also the place that requires a super-majority — 60 votes — to cut off debate), Sen. Kennedy (D-MA) will reportedly be offering an amendment to raise the minimum wage. A few points:– As a rule of thumb, the minimum wage almost always comes up in a year divisible by 2, i.e., an election year. It is more prevalent still in years divisible by 4. It is not an economic issue, but rather a political issue.
And just why can't it be both economic and political? Lots of things in Congress have a 2 year life cycle. Its the nature of politics.
– You will read in almost any MSM commentary that the current minimum wage worker doesn’t earn enough to pull a family of 4 out of poverty. That’s correct. However, it’s fair to ask, “How many minimum wage earners are the sole breadwinners of families of 4?” Answer: Not many.
Hmmm. Just how many families of 4 are we keeping in perpetual poverty? Well it seems to me one is too many. I've known some and its a horrible existence. And "not many"? How many is "not many". I majored in math and don't remember the value of "not many" and I'm damn sure "not many" would not have been acceptable as an "answer" to any question.
– You will hear that minimum wage workers “haven’t gotten a raise” in X number of years. This is an old (albeit effective) rhetorical trick. It assumes the minimum wage population is a static universe. It is not. The minimum wage population tomorrow is different than the minimum wage population today, a dynamic group.
Agreed the makeup of the population mostly changes, but see my reference above to having known some such families. For the years I knew them (I've since moved) they stayed right where you wanted them. They stayed in poverty. What proof do you have that all in the minimum wage population are not in that population the next year or the next?
– The minimum wage is meant to be a bottom rung, from which people can climb to higher earnings. Try this test: How many people that you know (including yourself) ever made the minimum wage? Almost all, no doubt. How many make it today? Probably very few, if any.
Agreed that most people started at the bottom and are not there now, but not all advance. One burger joint doesn't need 50 managers. And "probably very few" is a stunning statistic. Bring the numbers next time.
– The fact is that raising the minimum wage costs jobs. It does every time it’s raised. Those marginal jobs at the bottom rung just get eliminated.
I just don't believe you on that one. Perhaps fewer bottom rung jobs are created, but I doubt very many are eliminated. Please bring me the facts because you undoubtedly have greater access to the numbers than I. Prove me wrong.
– For those who cry crocodile tears about helping the so-called “working poor” (most of whom make far in excess of the minimum wage), there is a direct correlation between skills and education levels and wages. If you want to lift people out of poverty, support efforts (as we do) to train workers and give them the skills they need to succeed in this 21st century workforce.
This is your best argument. I agree completely. However, this has almost nothing to do with the debate.
Let's assume all minimum wage earners are educated. To make it easy to see my point, let's help them all get a bachelor of arts degree. Who flips the burgers now? Silly example because all of them, I would guess, won't get a degree regardless how much assistance their given. There will always be workers at the bottom and they need to live and eat.
In any event, keep this primer handy as the debate plays out this week. You’re not likely to hear these points in the media coverage of Sen. Kennedy’s biennial effort.
That's because they aren't good arguments. We won't read in the MSM that raising the minimum wage will cause skin cancer either because its not true.
Haven't tried writing like this before. It was kinda fun.