Jim Clark: Is jacking up minimum wage the right move?
October 29, 2014
President Obama and key Senate Democrats would like to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, an increase of over 39 percent.
Supporters claim that Walmart and Costco acknowledge that such a move would increase their costs of business only infinitesimally. They cry that inflation has risen 9 percent since 2009 (a rate of 2.25 percent per year).
They don't tell us what McDonalds, Denny's, Safeway and other high labor percentage firms think, but I guess if you jack up minimum wages some more, we'll all find out. What we do know is that when McDonalds' enunciator says, "may I take your order, please," your response is transmitted to India for processing because it's cheaper than paying locals even today's minimum wage.
As if that weren't enough, protestors are marching around various US cities complaining that $10.10 is way too low; they want $15 per hour minimum wage for burger flippers.
But no one is lobbying for our all-volunteer military whose members are regularly getting shot at while earning the princely sum of $8.83 per hour. Moreover, inflation is tripping along at a 2.5 percent annual rate. The government agency that tracks inflation leaves out "inconvenient" cost factors in setting the Employment Cost Index so that federal employees will receive only a 1.8 percent increase starting in 2015.
But even that excludes the military, because for the second year in a row, President Obama has invoked his "executive authority" and is proposing to cap active duty military pay at a 1 percent increase. Actually, Obama has been pretty busy going around screwing the military, having also invoked his executive authority to nearly triple military pharmacy co-payments and cutting military housing allowances by 5 percent.
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Congress can overrule the president on military compensation matters, so the GOP-controlled House rejected Obama's proposals in their version of the FY 2015 Defense Authorization Bill. But the Democrat-controlled Senate Armed Services Committee included Obama's cuts in their draft legislation.
Fortunately, for those who guard our nation, Sen. Kay Hagen (D-NC) has introduced an amendment to nullify Obama's attack on military pharmacy benefits; Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) introduced an amendment which would restore full housing allowances; and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has sponsored an amendment that would restore a full 1.8 percent active duty pay raise. The draft Senate bill and amendments will be thrashed out during the lame duck session that will follow the November election.
It's interesting to witness traditional GOP support for the military coupled with support of two "red state" Democratic senators who have large military constituencies and who are both in tight races for reelection. If they get toppled, their GOP opponents won't be seated until January 2015 so it remains to be seen whether their military support will fade away when Congress reconvenes.
One feature of an all-volunteer military is that when a member's hitch is up, he or she has an option of reenlisting or not. It seems to me that Mr. Obama, as CEO of "US Military, Inc.," ought to be able to recognize that if burger flippers start getting $10.10 or $15 per hour, some of our finest and most devoted citizens might be turning in their uniforms for chefs' hats.
Hopefully a Republican House and Senate next year will be able put a stop to this liberal idiocy.
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Nevada State and Washoe County GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at email@example.com.