Federal Minimum Wage and Common Sense

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common sense pillsI have never understood how our congressional elected officials could arrive at the conclusion that what is good for one state is good for all states in this American Republic that we call the United States of America. United means joined together for a common purpose, not of the same mind, culture or economics. What is good for the citizens of California is not necessarily good for the citizens of South Carolina, Florida or Maine.

Take, for instance, the bill recently introduced to raise the federal minimum wage from $ 7.25 over three years to a federal minimum wage of $ 10.10 per hour. Yes, we can all agree that workers, who are currently being paid at the minimum wage, are indeed at or below poverty level as defined by national standards. But, has anyone looked at state by state comparisons lately of overall cost of living, specifically housing, food, clothing, health insurance, property taxes, public education and so on? They are all different. So, why then, should all workers who are being paid at the bottom of the scale, be paid the same amount? Furthermore, the economic impact to businesses state by state, will vary in accordance with tax structure and state and federally mandated employee benefits.

The argument as to how high to raise the minimum wage is not the point. The more important point is being lost in the rhetoric arguing how much. The more important point is that each state should decide what minimum is best for their citizens based on the economic impact of small business. And, in the case of independent restaurants where the profit is often as low as 1% of revenue, it is both the customer and minimum wage workers who will bear the cost—the first with higher prices and the second with loss of jobs.

Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef Angela Bell
Beyond the Bull (an “eat smart” kitchen)
233 W. Main St., Central, SC 29630

Last modified: May 15, 2013
Angela Bell

This story is part of our Small Business Corner, a peek into the life and trials of small business owners.

Category: Insider's perspective, MPR Authored, Restaurants, Small Business, Small Business Corner, small business owners, startups