Currie & Casper
Viewpoint: Should Minimum Wage Be Raised
by David Currie
I think the minimum wage should be raised to at least the proposed $10.10 per hour because it will hurt virtually no one and help 28 million people, or so the experts say.
I can’t comprehend how any business is currently not paying their workers at least $10 per hour, even if they are school kids. I don’t think I’ve paid anyone less than $10 an hour to work on my ranch in 20 years, even in the years I lost money ranching, which is most years, to be honest. People who work hard deserve to be paid a decent wage. It’s just the ethical thing to do.
Study history, implementing the 40 hour work week was supposed to destroy business in America.
Ending child labor was supposed to destroy business in America.
Paying women equal to men was supposed to destroy business in America, although more work still needs to be done in this area.
None of these predictions turned out to be true.
The fact is income inequality is one of the worst things about America at the present time and is one of the things holding back our economy. The rich don’t need more money, in fact, they should be paying much higher taxes, but working people are struggling. If rich people get a tax cut, they put more in the stock market; if working people get more money, they put it back into the economy.
In my mind, Republican economics is proven by history to always hurt America. Trickle-down economics is a joke. Every time we elect a Republican president he pushes through a tax cut for the wealthy that wrecks the American economy and yet people keep thinking what has never worked might work this time. Nonsense. Then we elect a Democrat and he gets the economy going again. Hopefully in 2016 we will remember history.
There is no business in America that cannot afford to pay its workers at least $10.10 an hour for hard work, no matter how old they are or what they do. It is silly to think otherwise.
Raising the minimum is the least we can do to help working families and help our economic recovery to continue to grow.
I was glad to see a recent poll that even 53% of Republicans believe the minimum wage should be raised so I’d like to think Republican legislators would pay attention to that but I know I’m dreaming. They will pay attention to who gives them the money to run (as do most Democrats by the way) so we will see what happens.
At least personally as individuals and business owners, why don’t we try to make sure we pay anyone who works for us well above the current (and proposed) minimum wage just as a commitment to trying to help the working poor.
David R. Currie is the new Tom Green Democratic Chair. David is a native of Paint Rock in Concho County where family came in 1879, and continues to ranch there as well as in the Christoval area where he and his wife Loretta live. Married for over 30 years, they have a blended family of 5 children and 10 grandchildren.
He is a graduate of Howard Payne University and also has masters and doctors degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminiary in Fort Worth where he did his doctoral work on agricultural policy and the Bible and received his degree in Christian Ethics.
He is a former pastor, staff member of the Southern Baptist Christian Life Commission which focuses on ethical issues and religious liberty and retired Executive Director of Texas Baptist Committed. He was also sheep and goat specialist with the Texas Department of Agriculture in the 80's when Jim Hightower was Ag. Commissioner.
David is the author of two books, On the Way and Songs in the Desert as well as hundreds of articles that can be found at www.txbc.org.
He is currently the president of Cornerstone Builders and Angelo Granite Worx, and managing partner of Stonewall Ranches development company. He has served three terms as president of the San Angelo Home Builders Association, served on the Better Business Bureau board, as a board member of Howard Payne University, The Interfaith Alliance, The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and is current Vice-chair of the San Angelo Adult Literacy Council. He and Loretta are members of Southland Baptist Church.
by Ken Casper
It seems like a good idea, but like so many “good” ideas, it has unintended consequences. Yes, mandating pay raises buys votes, but it doesn’t solve problems. On the contrary, it creates them.
Let’s start with hard facts. Less than three percent of the American workforce is actually paid the minimum wage. The majority of them are students or other part-time workers in predominantly unskilled, entry-level positions who live in households that are well above the poverty line. Most of them, too, receive pay raises within a year.
Now, some questions. Who determines what the minimum wage should be? What are their qualifications? What criteria do they use?
Here are some more facts. When the minimum wage is raised, the price of most commodities goes up. The people currently earning the least get more money, but the advantage is only temporary and very short-lived, because the cost of living increases proportionately, so they’re right back where they started. It’s a vicious circle, and like all circles, there’s no end to it.
Here’s another question: Who decides what is just compensation? The employer? He knows how much his product is worth, and how much he can afford to pay. The worker? He’s the one expending time and energy doing the job.
The answer is both of them. An employer and a worker reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial to each of them. It’s called free enterprise. Free, that is, until the government gets involved by making demands that violate the contractual rights of both parties.
Every law, rule and regulation limits freedom. Some are absolutely necessary. Murder, robbery and traffic laws are just a few. No society can be safe without standards of conduct. Some government standards, however, are or should be only advisory. How and what an employer pays employees and what employees accept in compensation for their labor is a case in point.
Let me give you an example. I own a few acres, a couple of horses and a tractor. For health reasons, I’m no longer able to adequately maintain this small estate by myself. Your son has the time and physical capability to help me out. I can’t afford to pay him the minimum wage, but we agree that I’ll give him five dollars an hour for his labor and allow him to use my tractor on weekends so he can earn extra money plowing other people’s fields. Seems fair, doesn’t it?
Unless we go through an elaborate paperwork exercise, documenting the value of the use of the tractor, etc., we are both breaking the law and can be in deep, deep trouble with IRS!
Now look at the actual harm raising the minimum wage does. As noted above, every increase boosts consumer prices and adds to inflation, thereby reducing the value of the dollar for everyone. The money families scrimped to save yesterday is worth less today.
Hiking the minimum wage often prices some workers out of jobs, thereby increasing unemployment. Welfare rolls lengthen, and either taxes have to be raised to pay for them or the deficit and debt increase, so we’re back to that vicious circle again.
Boosting the cost of American labor results in businesses exporting jobs overseas or hiring illegal aliens, not because they want to—American workers are the most productive in the world—but because they have to in order to remain competitive in the marketplace.
Let’s go back to the questions I asked at the beginning.
Who determines what the minimum wage should be? Bureaucrats. What are their qualifications? They work for the government. What criteria do they use? Complex, obscure formulas devised by other bureaucrats who work for the government. And like most bureaucrats, they have nothing to lose when they’re wrong.
My solution? Leave the minimum wage alone. Let it wither on the vine. Will some “evil” employers take advantage of the situation? Of course. They do now. Raising the minimum wage won’t change that. But as long as we preserve freedom in this country, workers in those positions can leave. If they don’t, it’s because they see a benefit in staying.
The lessons of economic history are clear! Liberty and the free enterprise system, capitalism, have produced the greatest prosperity for the greatest number of people in the history of the world. Otherwise why would so many people risk everything to come here?
Ken Casper was born and raised in New York City a long time ago. After graduating from college, he entered the Air Force and was assigned to Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo for training. He served overseas tours of duty in Japan, Vietnam and Germany, as well as stateside assignments. He retired from the Air Force Reserve in 1993 and from Civil Service at Goodfellow in 1997. In 1998 he published his first novel, A Man Called Jesse. Twenty-four books followed, including Upstairs at Miss Hattie’s. During those years he became good friends with Dr. Pres Darby. In 2011, shortly before Pres’s death from ALS, they published a joint novel, Mankillers, a Civil War thriller. Since then, Ken has published three Jason Crow mysteries set in West Texas.
A staunch conservative, Ken was the second president of the San Angelo TEA Party, 2010-2011. He has remained active in local politics ever since.