|Heading home in the rain last week|
On our way home from the Smokies we made a stop at the visitor center in Berea, Kentucky. It's one of my favorite places to stop now. Clean bathrooms, big rig parking, and lots of local art including the collection of whimsical frogs that tempts me to open my wallet and bring one home.
|A little more money in my pocket needed to bring one of these guys home though the price is fair for the work|
I watched the two Wisconsin gubernatorial debates on YouTube the other night and one of the hot topics in our state right now is a proposed hike in the minimum wage. Governor Walker does not support raising the minimum wage because he feels folks that have those sort of jobs should be working toward something better by going to school to elevate themselves and that if we raise the minimum wage there's no incentive for them to do so. He feels minimum wage jobs are a starting point for high school kids and that we shouldn't expect that people are "trying to live" on that kind of job/wage. Wow, right?
I personally think that is an incredibly elitist point of view and shows his real lack of understanding for the common man. Plus, it's a little hard to further your education in this state when he cut all kinds of funding to the UW system. Trust me, I heard plenty about that because my daughter was a UW student at the time. Besides, not every individual is capable of pursuing a higher education. What about those who struggle academically? Or those who are going to college full-time while supporting themselves without grants and scholarships? Or those trying to raise a family alone and don't have time to go to school? Are they supposed to rely on handouts from family or the government? Or starve? Or perhaps just cease to exist? No secret who I'll be voting for in the coming election. He also went on and on about the people he helped get in to technical programs to get good jobs to earn higher wages...but failed to mention all the ways he blocked others from getting a higher education.
The proposed hike to $10.00 an hour is maybe a little higher than is realistic, but out of curiosity I did a little research into what the rest of the states' policies are in this matter. As of August 1, 2014, 23 states have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage. Ten states enacted increases this year including the Midwestern state of Michigan. Many are moving to a wage that fluctuates with the Consumer Price Index.
From Sara Burnet, Associated Press release yesterday:
The impact of raising the minimum wage has been much debated over the years. A report by the Congressional Budget Office in February estimated that a federal minimum wage of $10.10 an hour, which President Barack Obama supports, could cost 500,000 jobs nationwide. But the 13 states that raised their minimum wages at the beginning of 2014 were adding jobs at a faster pace than those that did not, according to a Labor Department analysis in July of state-by-state hiring data.
Minimum wage proposals tend to be popular even in conservative states, said John Matsusaka, a University of Southern California economist who studies public ballot issues. All 10 of the statewide measures considered since 2000 have passed, he said.
Arguments for and against minimum wage hikes are many, but you can't argue with the fact that the minimum wage has not increased along with the rate of inflation. For that matter, neither has my wage. As an Optician I've been making about the same amount of money per hour for the last 10 years. And my wage didn't increase when I worked "across the border" in Illinois either, just my hours. This year I got my first raise in 6 years and I'm seeing an additional increase in my commission rate (which was practically non-existent before) so I'm feeling like my wage is finally where it should be, but what about everybody else out there? I know I'm not the only one who has seen little if any wage increase over the last decade even though the cost of goods (not to mention fuel) keeps increasing. Good grief, have you noticed what we're now paying for toilet paper and paper towels? Bottom line, more money in workers' pockets equals more money in circulation and more tax revenue collected to do more good and balance more government budgets, right? What's going on in your state and how do you feel about it?