Minimum Wage

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

The minimum wage today, adjusted for inflation, is 65% of what it was in 1965. The poor just keep getting pushed further and further to the back of the economic bus. Enough is enough.

If you wonder why corporations and businesses are completely content paying employees a non-livable wage, consider the fact that these businesses are fully aware the US government is providing a direct and covert subsidy to their business as a result of these low wages. The government, in effect, subsidizes corporations and businesses by providing food stamps, housing assistance, and child care assistance to those earning today‚Äôs non-livable minimum wage. It is estimated Walmart employees receive $7.5 BILLION in government assistance every year. And for this, the seven direct heirs of Sam Walton, of course on the top 50 richest Americans list, collectively hold wealth equal to 140,000,000 Americans. Their attitude is simply, “Why should I pay them any more money when the government will do it for me?”

The sad reality is there are solutions to this issue but Congress is too busy protecting gun manufacturers from being sued for mass murders, pharmaceutical companies from the prospect of drug price regulation, and telecoms from having to compete with each other. With all this other important campaign fund raising legislation to protect, is it any wonder why they do not have the time to sit down and address the issue? Guess it is up to me, so I will.

My program would implement a $15 an hour minimum wage for ANY person working over 20 hours a week. Now, I fully understand that if you are a small business currently paying $10 an hour, an immediate 50% increase in labor cost would be difficult, if not impossible, to absorb. So, beginning on day one of the program, any business with less than $5 million in net revenue would receive a tax credit equal to the difference between the $15 an hour rate, and the previous rate of pay, up to a maximum of $3 per hour. This credit would remain in place for two years, then be gradually phased out over the next three years. This, in effect, tells the small businesses, “You have five years to figure out how to make this work.”

I have discussed this proposal with several small business owners, and they agree, over a five year period, they could make this work.

Based on a 50-work week year, this wage equates to $30,000, which is $5,000 over the US federal poverty level for a family of four. With two people working, which is most households, that is $60,000 and a welcome return to a solid middle class. The benefits to this proposal are enormous. To start with, the reduction in food stamps, housing assistance, and child care alone would MORE than offset the cost to the government of the $3 an hour business labor tax credit. And the spending power of millions of people with this level of income, would catapult the US economy.

I think the proposal is so solid, I welcome any Republican to steal it, implement it, and take full credit for it. Of course, I have no concern Greg Walden would EVER do such a thing.