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I don’t have time for extensive comments except that contrary to popular free market ideology, some studies have indicated that raising local minimum wages has actually helped local economies by increasing the consumption base with a multiplier effect. The argument has always been that higher wages means few jobs, but it doesn’t take into account two factors:
1. Minimum wage jobs in small businesses are more often than not essential to the business, meaning that the businesses would have to cut back somewhere else, increase their prices for everybody (spreading the cost around), or simply absorb the increase in wages.
2. Increases in minimum wages increase the amount of money in the hands of consumers who will spend it on goods, not savings or investment. This inflates a local economy which if it’s large enough can actually facilitate a spurt of expansion of the local economy. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t, but the minimum wage earners aren’t usually the workers commuting from the suburbs. The money they get will be spent, mostly given back to their employers.
In any case, I’m all for it. I mean I don’t know anything about the particulars, but I support the idea. It’s mitigated some poverty issues in places like San Francisco. It’ll do the same here.
Now maybe the poster who wanted me to comment on it can get off my back (yes, whining works – even with me).
Addendum: Here’s a mixed review of the economic results of the minimum wage increase in Santa Fe. You’d think the people interviewed live in different cities.
Here’s a study of the impact of minimum wage increases in the state of Washington. It’s a PDF file which I can’t really access on my laptop without freezing the thing up (yes, I returned home yesterday only to turn around and drive back to Ukiah tonight). This article discusses a pre-increase study.
And here’s a more detailed analysis of minimum wage increases in general from the Economy Policy Institute, an article from 2006 which begins with the following notes:
- If the minimum wage were increased nationally to $7.25:
1. 14.9 million workers would receive a raise,
2. 80% of those affected are adults age 20 or over, and
3. 7.3 million children would see their parents income rise.
- Families with affected workers rely on those workers for over half of their earnings.
- 46% of all families with affected workers rely solely on the earnings from those workers.
- Some minimum wage workers remain in low-wage jobs for substantial periods.
- The best recent research on the economic impact of the minimum wage shows positive effects without job loss.
- Even the research that suggests a negative labor market effect shows only a minimal impact that is more than offset by the higher wage levels.
- The states that have adopted higher-than-federal minimum wages have seen low-wage workers’ incomes rise with no negative side-effects.
- Over 650 economists, including five Nobel Prize winners and six past presidents of the American Economics Association, recently signed a statement stating that federal and state minimum wage increases “can significantly improve the lives of low-income workers and their families, without the adverse effects that critics have claimed” (EPI 2006).
At 7 a.m. Wednesday the picket lines went up, and with signs, red t-shirts and noise makers, the Mendocino County Public Attorneys Association went loudly on strike in front of the Mendocino County Superior Court House.
“We have 100 percent of our membership picketing,” said MCPAA President and Deputy District Attorney Matthew Finnegan.
Finnegan said members were also picketing at the 10 mile and Willits branches of the court.
The county and the MCPAA negotiated late into the night Tuesday, trying to hammer out a contract that would be acceptable to both sides and bring union members closer to the average salary paid to public attorneys in the surrounding five-counties.
While unable to discuss a specific contract, Joseph Martinelli, a trustee representative with the teamsters union, with whom the MCPAA is affiliated, said the MCPAA made an offer of salaries that would be 93 percent of that average.
We need to revamp some old union tunes!
The morning, the evening, the middle of day
They’re the same to the lawyer, who labors away…
Photo is from the Ukiah Daily Journal
Addendum: Apparently Humboldt does pay better. Heraldo has the details.