Friday, March 7, 2014

No Excuse for not Raising the Minimum Wage

When the Dallas Morning News relayed the story of Sandra Hudspeth, a mother of two who works two jobs, one as a cafeteria worker at Dade Middle School and another as a home health care worker, it reports on the dilemma of the minimum wage.

The article relays the yin and the yang of the circumstance. Hudspeth and those like her, run the risk of losing federal supports such as food stamps, earned income tax credit and housing subsidies. The article also points out the loss of some jobs that currently pay minimum wage. 

I argue that facing those choices Ms. Hudspeth would rather have her wages raised. The article projects that she's likely to gain an extra $500 a month in income while losing some $250 a month in benefits. But $100 of that is the earned income tax credit, an annual benefit that comes to low income workers. It is another $150 a month with which she can buy the food she wants with no restrictions, or another $50 a month that she can save. People would indeed rather earn their own money,

Another concern with in the article is that raising the minimum wage could cause some jobs to disappear. But the perceptive among us know that those jobs are likely to go away anyway. Go to a grocery store and see the computerized cash registers. Or the clothing stores which have roving sales people with 'point of sale' technology.A low minimum wage is a guaranty of vulnerability to technology not protection from it.

The article sites the Congressional Budget Offices prediction that ",,,raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would boost earnings for more than 16 million people and lift nearly a million out of poverty...." while also eliminating half a million jobs. But economies rest on the concept of 'planned obsolesence', a model where certain jobs go away because of technology and growth.It's the reason why the buggy whip maker and stage coach drivers lost jobs.

Again, the concern for these raising the minimum wage is false concerning young people. "...Data from the Economic Policy Institute shows that 90 percent of minimum-wage workers in Texas are over the age of 20 and that 55 percent have children. Census data shows more than 700,000 minimum-wage jobs in the state are full-time." And if you know anything about work in retail industry, for instance, one knows that's those 'full time jobs' are not 'full time' all of the time.

I would rather these 'experts' listen to Rickey Roy a CitySquare resident, a 58 year old man "...who gets by working as many hours as he can get — usually 20 a week — at minimum wage. Three years ago, he suffered a stroke that left him unable to walk for more than a year. Now, with the help of Dallas social service agency City Square, he lives in a subsidized apartment in South Dallas."

"To make ends meet, he gets federal food stamp benefits, which give him about $150 a month to spend on food. Roy said a raise to $10.10 “would be a big help,” allowing him to afford more groceries and other necessities."
“"$7.25 is not a living wage,” he said. “You really can’t do anything with it.”"

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