Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Opinion: Raising the Minimum Wage

The following opinion piece was recently submitted to area newspapers by former Jackson County resident Lawrence Bay:

The minimum wage is being raised to $15.00 an hour in many areas and there are efforts to raise it nationwide. But why raise it to only $15.00? Why not $100.00? Why not $1,000,000 per hour?

When I started work in 1960 my dream was to make $2.50 per hour, the minimum wage was $1.00 per hour. However in 1960 you could buy a decent house for less than $15,000, a new car for less than $2,000 or mail letters for four cents and post cards for one cent. A carton of cigarettes was $1.80 and you would not believe how low food and gasoline were. Night clubs were cheap: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. plus two drinks totaled $5.00. Are real salaries higher now?

In Turkey in 2000 everyone was a millionaire! But a million Turkish Lire was worth 67 cents American. Of course you could buy very little with a million Lire. Turkey, and other countries, saw the folly of this and reformed their currencies. Does the United States wish to become another Weimar Republic?

Raising the minimum wage, and the resultant inflation, would wipe out the assets of anyone with savings accounts or government bonds and destroy anyone on a fixed income while moving workers into higher tax brackets. It would do nothing to raise the standard of living for low wage workers.

What counts is not the salary but its purchasing power. Control inflation. Raising the minimum wage solves nothing!

Lawrence Bay

Port Byron