Republicans have pulled a major stunt to show business leaders how a Democrat majority in the General Assembly might spell bad news for their bottom line.
It all had to do with a vote that took place on the Senate floor for a bill that would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 over the next two years.1
Republicans letting this bill through committee — the place ‘bills go to die’ — was no accident, as holding this vote served two major goals.
First, this got both themselves and their Democratic opposition on record for the upcoming election. During election season, voting records usually speak louder than words.
The second was a foretelling that the Democrats would likely pass a $15 minimum wage bill in their first term, should they win a majority in the General Assembly this November.
The Republican message: “Look how close the vote is now, this is exactly what will pass if the Democrats take the majority in November”.
Using price control –- which minimum wage is a subset of -– to solve economic inequality has been attacked by Republicans as being ineffective, antiquated and causing more harm than good.
The main problem, they contend, is that a minimum wage raises labor costs above the amount of wealth that some low paying jobs produce.
At a minimum wage of $15 dollars an hour, a full-time employee must be increasing their employer’s bottom line by at least $35,000 a year, and not all positions can support this threshold.
Another growing concern is automation. As labor costs rise, machines replace a larger number of people in the workplace as seen in fast food kiosks or the introduction of ATMs.
Despite the expansion of automation, the minimum wage is likely to be a hot-button issue heading into election season.
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