Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

April 2, 2014

House of Burgess: Minimum wage still a joke

Obama: Raise it from $7.25 to $10.10

On Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden — filling in for traveling President Barack Obama — delivered the The White House’s Weekly Address. The remarks were revealingly titled, “Raise The Minimum Wage – It’s The Right Thing To Do For Hardworking Americans.”

“The big difference between giving a raise in the minimum wage instead of a tax break to the very wealthy is the minimum-wage worker will go out and spend every penny of it because they’re living on the edge,” said Biden. “They’ll spend it in the local economy. They need it to pay their electric bill, put gas in their automobile, to buy fundamental necessities. And this generates economic growth in their communities.”

Biden is right. Seriously, what do you think people will do with a bit more money in their paycheck? Spend it, of course! This is America, after all.

Our economy depends on the concept of continuous consumption to function. Fortunately, other national politicians have been joining in the fight, including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who has been campaigning hard for a $15-an-hour minimum wage in his city.

“Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy on Thursday signed into law a measure that will phase in the highest minimum wage of any state, in line with a push by Democrats nationwide to raise the entry-level wage,” reported Richard Weizel of Reuters on Thursday. “The bill, which was approved by state legislators a day earlier, will raise the state’s minimum hourly rate to $10.10, a figure that matches what President Obama has asked Congress to consider imposing nationally.”

Raising the minimum wage above $10 would instantly save taxpayers billions in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funding alone.

“More than half (52 percent) of the families of front-line fast-food workers are enrolled in one or more public programs, compared to 25 percent of the workforce as a whole,” stated a University of California at Berkeley and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign report, “Fast Food, Poverty Wages: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Fast-Food Industry,” released Oct. 15, 2013. “The cost of public assistance to families of workers in the fast-food industry is nearly $7 billion per year.”

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