Across the country there is a movement to get minimum wage to $15 an hour so people can have a “livable” wage. There have been protests in many cities. Though we haven’t seen this kind of outrage in Chattanooga, I’m sure many working fast food and big chain stores wish this would come true.

I can understand how many young people are worried about their futures. My post-high school daughter and I debated this many times. College wasn’t in her plans. We lived in Kentucky at the time and they had raised the state to a much higher rate, going 50 cents per year. At the time, she worked at Walmart and was getting probably a dollar over minimum.

I asked her “so what do you think will happen to your pay rate after the next 2 jumps in the rate (raising the minimum to a dollar higher). She told me that she assumed her pay would go up. I reminded her that that wasn’t the case, that it only raises the minimum rate, not all rates. “Not fair!” she exclaimed.

The reality is, that the money spent on an increased minimum will be absorbed by reducing raises for more experienced staff. You’ll work at a job for 5 years and still make the minimum rate, the same rate the “deer in headlights” new kid has when they come aboard.


This will only take away an individual’s desire to perform better to try to get ahead. The net wage base will be the same. It’s just like communism, really.

The dirty secret is that the big drive to raise the minimum wage is the unions. Many of the contracts that unions have is tied to the minimum wage. Having gotten all they can by threatening their corporate benefactors in a bad economy, they have figured out how to raise it another way, by taking advantage of how their contract is written. You can see here.

The best way to actually raise wages for poorer Americans, is to reduce the influx of cheap illegal alien labor which will increase demand for labor, and to reduce government spending which will help reduce cost of livings. Local and state governments that spend money wastefully have very high cost of living rates as those taxes and regulations get passed on to the consumer, and hits the poorest of a community the hardest.

All of this is basic economics, but most would rather just pass a law to fix something than try to fix things in an intelligent, reasoned fashion.

Jeff Johnson

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