Higher minimum wage benefits economy

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: February 20 2014 | 2:26 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:57 am in

Regarding Mario Perri’s Feb. 17 letter, “Raising minimum wage is like a fool’s gold”:

Raising the minimum wage is not only economically advantageous, it’s essential for our economic well-being. Mentioned was the meme that minimum wage jobs are for “beginners.”

The problem with this meme is it doesn’t take into account the average age of a minimum wage worker is 35. These are working parents, not teens obtaining their first checks.

One reason is that in the past 10 years, America has shed more than 60,000 factories. Well-paying jobs are becoming harder and harder to find. We need manufacturing jobs back, but it’s a pipe dream without import tariffs. Could you imagine how many more BP spills and Charleston-style water poisonings we’d have if we lowered Environmental Protection Agency standards instead?

Mentioned was that “raises should be based on productivity of each individual.” Fine, let’s look at productivity. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that if the minimum wage were to have continued to track productivity, such as it did every year until the 1970s when Richard Nixon started cutting import tariffs, the minimum wage would be near $22.

The real tax on everyone is the lack of money injected into the economy by the lower income cohorts, where nearly every dollar is spent, which is unlike increasing incomes of the wealthy because they mostly save or invest their money.

As numerous studies and history have shown, raising the minimum wage stimulates the economy and increases gross domestic product. Always has and always will.

Donald Brady

Cedar Rapids


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