Debates Focus on Minimum Wage


Around the nation as the mid-term elections draw near candidates are (at least in close elections) debating and one of the issues that crops up in all of the debates is the minimum wage issue. Democrats are for raising the minimum wage the GOP are against it or won’t address the issue except with non-answers or to say they believe there is no need to raise the minimum wage or they are like the lady in Iowa Jodi Ernst who believes Iowans do well on the minimum wage and that we should abolish the minimum wage.

Of abolishment of the minimum wage is something that has been bandied about by a number of Republican righties. Michelle Bachman even went so far as to say that if we abolished the minimum wage people would be able to find more jobs and would likely actually go back to work. At what rate of pay they would receive she didn’t seem to know but she did allow that they would be a lot happier not having to earn a minimum wage.

The minimum wage was instituted because of the need to help raise people out of poverty during the Great Depression and it worked its magic for many years until Congress stopped increasing it so that it kept up with inflation. There was a time in the 60’s and early 70’s when Congress still did its job and actually seemed to care about fighting poverty that the minimum wage was a very livable wage. You could raise a family of 4 on minimum wage and do it without having to work at two or three other jobs to keep your family fed.

As Congress began to lag behind in raising the minimum wage when it was needed suddenly people who worked at minimum wage jobs found themselves unable to adequately support their families. Then came the Reagan Revolution and people earning the minimum wage and people suffering the throes of poverty began to be stigmatized as leeches and bums and people who only wanted a handout and didn’t really want to work for a living.

We have come to the point when a lot of people who should know better now believe either all who work for minimum wage are teenagers who don’t really need the money or that people who work for minimum wage are lazy and shiftless and don’t try hard enough to find living wage job. This type of reasoning flies in the face of the facts.

First off the average age of a minimum wage worker is 35 years old that’s not even close to being a teenager. And the absurdity of someone working for minimum wage being shiftless or lazy is carrying stupidity to the highest level, if one actually believes that to be true. It tant so McGee. People who work for the minimum wage work hard, long hours for the measly pay they receive and almost always without any benefits or even overtime.

Some of these clowns who go about dissing minimum wage workers should have to work for a couple of weeks at a minimum wage job. Most of them wouldn’t last two days before they would quit.

It’s a sad scenario when workers at the lower end of the economic scale are maligned and made fun when they are often just trying to survive and make enough money to put food on the table for their families.

The minimum wage needs to be raised to a living wage. In other nations where they have a minimum wage that is a living wage poverty is almost non-existent. The minimum wage was designed to lift people out of poverty and it once did. It should be raised to the level that it once was. People who live in poverty DO NOT CHOOSE TO LIVE IN POVERTY, but the deck is stacked against them and often the harder they try the deeper they sink into poverty.

It’s not creeping socialism when the minimum wage is raised. But it is creating conditions whereby people can finally raise themselves and their families out of poverty and have a shot at their piece of the American Dream. That’s not socialism that is just plain good sense. The closer we are to full employment the better our nation prospers. The facts are there for anyone who has half a mind to look for them.

The minimum wage is not a job killer it never has been a job killer. The minimum wage has always created jobs. It puts more money in the hands of those that need it the most and when they get more money to spend those at the lower end of the economic scale put it back into the economy. They don’t horde it, they spend it. And when they spend their newly gained wages everyone from top to bottom wins.

That’s no brag, just fact!

Bob Bearden

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