It’s past time to raise the minimum wage

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: March 3 2014 | 3:11 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:06 am in

OK, the minimum wage originally was a Democratic idea, but Iím surprised that so many Republicans are opposing a hike. It has been decades since the minimum was raised; meanwhile, inflation creeps forward. Iíve seen statements that would put the minimum wage at above $15 per hour if it were tagged to inflation rates. But, heavens! The proposal is only to raise it from about $7 to a modest $10.

An increase to $10 an hour would raise government revenues without raising taxes (a Republican mantra), it would reduce dependency on food stamps and eligibility for other welfare programs (a Republican dream), it would stimulate the economy without a government stimulus program (something Republicans hate) and it would reward honest work with a livable wage.

So, whatís preventing the Republicans from supporting it? They rail about job losses, but I donít see where ó how many motel maid jobs or fast food jobs could be exported to China? None. Not a single one!

Should the government play a role in our economy? A Republican in the Iowa Legislature recently said that wages should be determined by employers, not government. Really? Remove the wage floor? That would legally enable the return of slave labor. Iím sure Iowans donít want to go there. So Iowans do, indeed, have a real interest in setting the standards for labor practices and wages in our state. If government is the extension of the peopleís will, then itís high time to raise the minimum wage. The people want it.

James Conger

Iowa City


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