The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

15 February 2006

Minimizing the minimum wage

House Bill 2639, authored by Rep. Richard Morrissette (D-OKC), would have raised the state minimum wage to $6.15 effective in November. The House Business and Economic Development Committee killed the bill today on a party-line 5-3 vote.

The AP story contains this curious paragraph:

Opponents say raising minimum wages will increase costs for businesses. They also argue that almost all businesses in the state already pay more than the minimum wage.

Which, of course, invites the obvious question: if they're already paying more, how does this increase their costs? I can assure you that I wasn't going to get paid more if this bill had passed. Are some people being paid at a rate defined as the minimum plus X, or the minimum times X?

Yes, I understand the philosophical issues. But if this wire story accurately reflects statements by the opponents of the bill, let it be said that the state GOP is doing a fairly inept job of selling its positions: this stance, as represented, merely makes them look like dullards, and cheap dullards at that.

Now if their real objection was to the provision of HB 2639 that would establish a "living wage" for school-district staff and contractors (for districts of 30,000 students or more), which starts at $11.67 an hour and increases yearly thereafter, why didn't they say so?

(RTF text here.)

Posted at 6:41 PM to Soonerland


TrackBack: 7:47 PM, 15 February 2006
» GOP kills bill to raise stateís minimum wage from Independent Christian Voice
We surely canít have people making a living wage. We would rather they continue to depend on government assistance and never to escape the poverty trap....[read more]



Which, of course, invites the obvious question: if they're already paying more, how does this increase their costs? I can assure you that I wasn't going to get paid more if this bill had passed. Are some people being paid at a rate defined as the minimum plus X, or the minimum times X?

You got it. In a lot of industries (I don't know, though, if Oklahoma has many of them) the unions start their calculations for what kind of raises to demand, using a number of factors -- of which the local statutory minimum wage is one.

Posted by: McGehee at 11:14 AM on 16 February 2006

But if this wire story accurately reflects statements by the opponents of the bill...

If I'd had a mouthful of beverage when I read that, you'd owe me a new keyboard and monitor. What a riot.

Posted by: McGehee at 11:16 AM on 16 February 2006

Think of stopped clocks, every 12 hours or so.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:56 AM on 16 February 2006

As much as I disagree with the doomsayers who promise an economic collapse every time the idea to raise the minimum wage surfaces, I must admit that there would likely be more jobs had the minimum wage remained at $1.65 or so. In fact, probably enough for two or three per person.

Posted by: MikeH at 2:02 PM on 16 February 2006