|Cloy Richards, Op-Ed Contributor |
CPA with over 50 years in Business & Finance
I was highly in favor of the increase. I pointed out in heated discussions with the other officers of our company, and fellow restaurateurs that all of us could find enough time savings through better time scheduling and labor saving devices and methods to reduce employee hours and operate our business with fewer employees. It would also give us an opportunity to raise sale prices without a customer backlash.
Fast forward to today in the Missouri Ozarks where I retired.
Jobs are hard to come by here. That was true before the current recession, and it is especially true now. All the subsidized housing is occupied. The food pantries would be bare if it wasn’t for one especially generous millionaire who lives here. The last month saw over 2,500 visitors to one of the food pantries. We only have 15,000 people in the entire county.
You can get yard work done, or fire wood cut for $4 per hour. I know of two people who are thrilled to have a job which pays them $20 for four hours of janitorial work in a local restaurant. The waitresses are paid $20 for an eight hour shift, and worry about losing their job.
It wasn’t always like this. There were over 400 people employed in the clothing business, and over 100 in a shoe manufacturing plant back before free trade hit these industries. Their jobs paying minimum wages were effectively shipped overseas. This was also true of the people who woked at the Black and Decker assembly plant nearby. Daisy BBs were shipped to Peru.
The theory is, of course, that all these people will find new higher paying jobs. They are presumably better educated and therefore better use will be found for their skills.
Tell that to my grandson who is still trying to find a minimum wage job six months after getting his college degree.
The real problem is the Minimum Wage Law. Most of the unemployed people in this town would jump at a job which paid $3 or $4 an hour and was steady work. Factories and assembly plants would reopen and create higher paying jobs for the companies that ship the goods, manufacture the needed tools and weave the clothing.
We do not live in a fishbowl any more. We live in an ocean with China, India and other low wage countries. Duties and tariffs protecting U.S. manufacturers and workers no longer exist.
If you don’t believe me, then raise the minimum wage to $25 and see what happens to your job. We are paying for welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, food for children and all the other necessities of life anyway. Why not allow people the dignity of working? Get rid of the Minimum Wage and put this country back to work again.