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Wed Feb 13, 2013, 07:11 PM

An idea for how to undercut GOP arguments against raising the minimum wage

First, I can't take credit for this idea. A friend of mine mentioned it earlier today on Facebook.

So, as we all know, the GOP always argues against any rise in the minimum wage because (so they allege) small businesses will be unable to afford it, and it will thus reduce those business' ability to create new jobs (which, of course, we all know is a bogus talking point). As my friend and I were talking about it, I made the point that if a business really cannot afford to pay someone $9/hour, then perhaps the owner should reconsider whether he really has a viable business in the first place. But my friend came up with something that was better still: raise the minimum wage (ideally to $12 or $15 per hour), and then provide tax breaks (or even direct subsidies) for those tiny, mom and pop operations for which the rise would create a genuine hardship (obvioualy, some sort of criteria, or measure of hardship, would have to be devised, but that really wouldn't be all that difficult), and at the same time perhaps eliminating tax breaks and other subsidies given to large businesses that are already hugely profitable.

Now, the more I thought about this, the more I liked it. I think a proposal like this would be hugely popular with the public. It would manage to do four things: (1) provide an incentive for small businesses to hire new employees; (2) would help samll businsses which may struggle even with paying the minimum wage; (3) provide much needed economic relief to workers at the bottom of the economic scale; and (4) create a significant economic stimulus by providing a greater level of disposable income to a group that will be most likely to spend it, and who will begin spending it almost immediately.

But above all -- not to suggest that items 1-4 above don't make for a powerful argument in their own right -- it would place Republicans in a very awkward position, given their rhetoric about how raiising the minimum wage would hurt small businesses and inhibit job growth. I mean, they would have to be pretty creative in trying to come up with a rationale for opposing it, wouldn't they? (Although they would surely try.) Whadday'all think?

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Reply An idea for how to undercut GOP arguments against raising the minimum wage (Original post)
markpkessinger Feb 2013 OP
markpkessinger Feb 2013 #1
Samantha Feb 2013 #2
markpkessinger Feb 2013 #3
markpkessinger Feb 2013 #4

Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 07:31 PM

1. Anybody have any thoughts or observations? n/t

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:46 PM

2. Start with facts and statistics

I found the link I would like to refer you to that I think you will find helpful:


The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a website I discovered years ago when I was upset with my employer limiting all COLAs to 6 percent. At the meeting at which this was announced (I worked in a lawfirm, believe it or not) I calmly responded that if I received a limited COLA of 6 percent, I would have no choice but to leave my job. I held an extremely difficult job in that firm, one which took them 9 months to fill.

I did some research after the meeting and found out that the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles part-time and full-time rates of compensation for areas all over the United States. Included into its compilations are cost-of-living factors for living in that particular region. For instance, a clerical worker in the District of Columbia might make a lot more than one in West Virginia simply because the property taxes and utilities, for instance, cost a lot more here than there.

The data I found at this site helped me to negotiate my way out of an impossible situation. I really didn't want to leave my job, but I commuted to DC and that was an expensive proposition for me. All I wanted was a fair increase to help cover those expenses.

When my raise was awarded, guess what? I received a 6 percent increase. I should have said that in that particular year, inflation was very high, and once I applied that figure to my increase, I received less than zero for performance. I started a new job search, was fortunate to find a similar position just a little bit more prestigious, though, and I was offered $5,000 more than my current salary. I resigned. That afternoon, the Managing Partner sent me a message via the Human Resource Manager that the firm would give me a $5,000 bonus or a $5,000 increase, whichever I chose. Naturally, I took the increase.

I knew that it would cost that firm more than what I was asking for to find another candidate to take my current job, and I also knew the likelihood of a new person staying was remote. My job was that stressful, and that difficult. I neglected to mention earlier that I brought that fact up in the original meeting -- it would cost them more in fees, time and inconvenience to find someone else who could do the job than it would to award me a raise covering inflation and including at least SOMETHING for merit....

The reason I have responded to your question is simply to encourage you to arm yourself with the best information you can before you negotiate.

$9.00 hourly is a ridiculous rate to pay any employee in my opinion. Who can live off that?

Good luck.


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Response to Samantha (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:58 PM

3. I agree $9 is far too low . . .

. . . But I wasn't talking about a negotiation with an employer here, nor was I advocating the proposed $9 minimum wage, per se, but was speaking more about the overall approach to whatever minimum wage increase might be proposed (since we know the GOP will fight it no matter how large or small it is), including providing government assistance (by way of either tax incentives or direct subsidies) to small businesses that could genuinely demonstrate that they could not afford to pay existing minimum wage employees at the higher rate, or who were avoiding hiring new employees because of the new higher rate (regardless of what that right might, in the end, be). As I said in my first post, I think this kind of approach genuinely helps struggling small businesses and minimum wage employees, AND provides stimulus to the economy, AND undermines a favorite GOP talking point and would put the GOP on the defensive.

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 11:13 PM

4. Still looking for feedback on this . . .

Do you think such an idea would be workable? Why or why not?

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