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December 06, 2013

Minimum Wage: Feed a Cash Register, Not a Family

With a few weeks remaining in the holiday-shopping season, there’s an earth-shifting political movement to raise the minimum wage. On the surface, it seems like a pretty simple equation, added to a big political pay-off and great social feel-good narrative. 

But, in reality, this is just populist window-dressing to give struggling Americans the false hope of a living wage, when the minimum wages passed will barely amount to a few extra dollars for a Wal-Mart discount. And that's the real goal of this latest exercise: taking more money out of your pocket, not putting it in.

Still, elected officials in a number of cities, counties and states are giving each other warm embraces and fist bumps for what’s being hailed as forward-thinking wage bills passed in places such as Washington, D.C.; Prince George’s County, Md.; Montgomery County, Md.; New Jersey and Massachusetts. Even President Obama joined the fray, making a long-overdue appearance in the poverty-stricken Anacostia section of D.C. (took him long enough) where he attempted a rhetorical half-commitment to passing a federal minimum-wage increase. Meanwhile, Congress hopelessly debates raising the national standard from its embarrassing $7.25/hour to $10.00/hour—perhaps over the dead bodies of House Republicans who aren’t having that.

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