Thursday, February 15, 2007

Minimum Wage Fallout

I've been sick for a while, so I was a little delayed on posting this. But I didn't see anyone else do it.

It appears that Arizona's new minimum wage increase has resulted in the laying off of teenage workers. from the article:

Tom Kelly, owner of Mary Coyle Ol' Fashion Ice Cream Parlor in Phoenix, voted for the minimum-wage increase. But he said, "The new law has impacted us quite a bit."

It added about $2,000 per month in expenses. The store, which employs mostly teen workers, has cut back on hours and has not replaced a couple of workers who quit.

Kelly raised the wages of workers who already made above minimum wage to ensure pay scales stayed even. As a result, "we have to be a lot more efficient" and must increase menu prices, he said.


The sad thing about this is that provisions could have been made into the law to account for this. It appears, however, that actual economics and the reality of who is making the minimum wage were not among the chief concerns of this law. Indeed, perhaps the largest impact has been among the disabled.

State lawmakers are wringing their hands and sorting through opinions from legal and labor experts on how to proceed. I have a suggestion:

They might do well to meet people such as Amanda, Jennifer, Lillabee and Sarah.

From assembling aircraft parts to ensuring drug testing kits are in order, the women are part of a thousands-strong work force in Arizona whose employment is in question because employers might be forced to double or triple their hourly wage.

"I can't imagine what we would do," says Dee O'Neill, a Tucson lawyer whose daughter Jennifer has Down syndrome and works five days a week placing colored drug-detecting strips into plastic sleeves. "It would be a disaster."

Now you may want to say, "Evil cooperations! how can you take advantage of the disabled by paying them low wages!" However, raising their pay can problematic, and here is why:

Beyond the issue of hourly compensation, if some of the workers begin earning $6.75 or more an hour, they become ineligible for Social Security benefits and independent living assistance. Their new and improved salary would hardly make up for that.

The legal "oops" is a tragic illustration of what happens when we make laws through initiatives without complete knowledge, or in some cases concern, about the consequences.

Can someone honestly tell me that this resolution was thought through much at all above the feel-good, "look how much we care" aspect? Judging on many of the problems that were predicted, and are now occurring, that doesn't appear to be the case.

4 comments:

Framer said...

Peter,

Generally I offer quite a bit of lienency in the comments section. You however have violated two rules of propriety.

1. Try to keep the comments on the issue at hand, or geared toward the post you are commenting on.

I could almost forgive this if. . .

2. Do not SPAM the same comment on every board you come across.

If what you have to say is so important you wish for everybody to see it, start your own blog. The barrier to entry is not that high. If it is any good, I might even link to it. However, you have no right piggybacking on the credibility of other blogs to get your message out.

Sorry to have to be a jerk.

P said...

Framer:

I forgive you. You do have my
E-mail address on file to express same to me directly. I thought that I was posting directly onto the page as a link. My bad. I respect your Blog and I will follow the rules. Promise.
Please erase this related content and let's start anew?
PP

Framer said...

Peter,

I am sorry, I just realized who you are. If I'd have known, I would have given you a lot more leeway. Unfortuately, you were in part paying for mistakes that others have made in the past.

Feel free to post anytime.

sirocco said...

Oh, man! How come Peter gets slack and leeway, and I get nothing but hassle and abuse??

OK ... maybe "hassle and abuse" in the above paragraph should be replaced with "respectful, honest critiques and debate" ... but that just wouldn't have the same ring to it ... ;P