Check it Out…Increasing the minimum wage in promotion and practice (April 12, 2017)


Recently, Jesse Jackson stated inequality has reached obscene extremes and encouraged efforts to double the minimum wage.
Do you remember ACORN? (The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now)  The organization dissolved in 2010.  They lost funding after a video surfaced of ACORN officials coaching a couple to defraud the IRS.  Before their troubles ACORN focused on voter registration drives, affordable housing, healthcare, and a living wage.
A living wage factors in the cost of living and raises the minimum wage to a level that meets basic family needs.  ACORN wanted employers that signed contracts with government agencies to pay their employees higher than the established minimum rate.
It’s hard to argue against the concept.  Even Adam Smith, the father of capitalist economic theory, stated: Workmen of different kinds make up the far greater part of society.  No society can be flourishing when the far greater part of its members are poor and miserable.  It is but equity that those who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of people should have a share of the produce of their own labor to be themselves well fed, clothed, and lodged.
Now, right before ACORN launched their national campaign in favor of living wage laws their California branch made an argument that the minimum wage had an adverse effect on their statewide operation.
ACORN sued the state of California to be exempt from their minimum wage requirements.  They argued: The more ACORN must pay each individual outreach worker …The fewer outreach workers it will be able to hire.
ACORN was unsuccessful.
But it must be noted that ACORN made the same argument private sector employers make when the bottom line indicates an increase in the minimum wage will negatively impact their ability to hire.  (Along with other nonprofit organizations that don’t have half of ACORN’s funding.)
Is that a double standard?  Or is it standard for proponents of “social justice” to promote one thing and practice another?
Jesse Jackson also said, “A $15 minimum wage is written into the Democratic Party platform, and it’s being written into law in more cities across the country.”
Recently Baltimore’s new Democratic mayor, Catherine Pugh, vetoed city hall’s legislation that would have raised the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.  (Maryland already mandated a minimum wage increase to $9.25 an hour in July and to $10.10 in 2018.)  Mayor Pugh stated at a press conference Baltimore would become “a hole in the doughnut” if it required a $15 an hour increase.  Many Baltimore residents that voted for Mayor Pugh are upset.  During her campaign Pugh said, “I am aware of the current initiative to raise the minimum wage in the city council to $15 per hour and when it reaches my desk I will sign it.”
Is this another double standard?
Not exactly, according to the Foundation of Economic Education, Mayor Pugh, did what other mayors did not have the courage to do.  She actually researched the economic policies, and, as a result, Pugh decided she could not sign the legislation when the economic repercussions were potentially dangerous enough to harm the entire city.
Pugh realized legislators and executives have different measures of success.  Success for a legislator is their signature on a bill that passed, but an executive is judged by the success of the bill’s implementation.  (That was Obama’s failure, he took too long to adapt from a legislator to an executive.  He praised himself for the passage of Obamacare, but took no responsibility for its implementation.)
So next time you hear Jesse Jackson or a candidate advocating wage increases remember there’s a difference between what’s practiced by people in charge of implementation and what’s promoted by people who are not.
(J. Pharoah Doss is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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