Commentary by Floyd Bayne
A Response to Obama’s comments at the State of the Union Address on Income Equality aka raising the minimum wage:
Income equality? Increase the minimum wage? Here is just one real-world example of how that actually works -
My family used to own three grocery stores in south Richmond. We employed quite a few high school kids looking to make a few bucks and become acclimated to the workplace. We also had some older employees who had less than an ideal educational backgrounds, but were good workers just the same.
The older employees took on more responsibilities and learned more about how to run the business, thus they were paid more, because they were more valuable as assets to the business. The teens were limited in their responsibilities, because their primary focus was school, as it should have been. During the mid 1990's, when Clinton was calling for yet another increase in the MW, my family and I were against it. We pointed out to our representatives how such an increase impacted not only the business, but the employees.
Well, we got the increase, which in turn increased our business's overhead (that's the cost of doing business). We had to make a decision to keep from losing money. We had to let many of the teenagers go, because, quite frankly, they were not as valuable to the business as the older, more skilled employees. The older employees could do more than just bag groceries and sweep the floor.
This meant that those teens, who were making their own money...THEIR OWN MONEY...by working, would no longer have that money coming in. They would also lose the opportunity to learn how to deal with people in a real-world workplace, a valuable skill as they grew older and moved on in life. Now tell me, how exactly did that MW increase help those teenagers? How will future MW increases help those low-skilled, poorly educated workers, who need that income, meager though it may be, and the opportunity to "move up" in the business they are in? Please do think about it.