Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Tue, Oct. 15

Point-Counterpoint: Is Obama's living-wage proposal realistic? - NO

When Vice President Biden stated, "Just pay me the minimum wage what you paid folks in 1968," he was supporting President Obama's minimum wage proposal of $9 per hour. The year 1968 was used as a reference point because that is the year the federal minimum wage hit its inflation-adjusted high point.

If Biden had used 1948, instead of 1968, the inflation-adjusted minimum wage would be $3.81. Use 1988 and the inflation-adjusted minimum wage would be $6.50. If Biden had used 1938, when federal minimum wage standards started at $.50 per hour, the rate would be $4.07 today, according to the Wall Street Journal's article "An Economics Lesson for Joe Biden."

Using deceit and manipulating facts may produce more "perception is reality" voters for Obama, but it will be very destructive for these same people. And when Obama says "a family living with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty level, that is wrong." He's right, that is wrong - because as usual, he left out the facts that change the context of the issue.

For instance, the federal poverty line for a four-person family is $23,550, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But left out of the calculations are food stamps, subsidized childcare, housing assistance, and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Further, on average, only 2 percent of workers older than 24 is making minimum wage.

A University of Florida study shows that two-thirds of minimum-wage workers receive raises in the first 12 months on the job. To get these raises, the person had to get a job first. One of the biggest drivers of economic growth is new businesses. These businesses deal with years of struggle, including debt load, compliance costs of insurance, regulations, equipment, taxes and, the biggest expense and liability of all, labor.

Now, they also have ObamaCare, new minimum wage laws, and a stagnant economy. The Securities & Exchange Commission finished a study that was meant to find ways to help start-ups and new businesses obtain sources of investment that had been shut off since the Great Depression. Instead, the Democrat-controlled panel added more regulation. The combined and unforeseen effects of all this is a loss of job opportunities for the very people Obama tells us he is helping. This same president is advocating destructive and counter-productive economic policies.

He can't have it both ways.

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