Sunday, April 26, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Minimum wage hike won’t kill jobs

By Bob Schelen

It has been the same old story since the advent of the minimum wage: “I cannot pay my workers a fair wage because prices will go up and then there will be job losses.”

And it has never been true.

In fact, enlightened employers of the 20th century wanted to pay their workers a fair wage. They knew their workers were the people who were going to buy their products.

“If you cut wages, you cut the number of your own customers. If an employer does not share prosperity with those who make him prosperous, then pretty soon there will be no prosperity to share. We like to have plenty of customers.” That was Henry Ford explaining why he doubled wages in the midst of 1914’s deep recession.

It was because of this attitude toward wages that we saw the strongest middle class in history become established in the mid-20th century.

Many studies support Ford’s logic. In fact, a 2011 study by UC Berkeley found that San Francisco’s minimum-wage law did not kill jobs in the low-wage sector. Studies by Chicago’s Federal Reserve Bank, the Economic Policy Institute and New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (Santa Fe has a local minimum-wage law), among others, demonstrate that increases in the minimum wage immediately stimulate consumer spending and economic growth in large amounts.

When San Jose enacted a measure that set the minimum wage at $10 per hour, many naysayers feared the worst. But a 2012 UC Berkeley study found that the increase would stimulate the local economy by injecting more money and attracting better workers and would cause no job losses. The price increases passed on to consumers, like 25 cents on a $30 restaurant meal, would be minuscule.

Studies also show that the wage increase benefits employers, too, because workers stay in their jobs longer, reducing turnover and training expenses for their employers.

It is also false that low-wage jobs are only entry-level positions for teenagers to enter the workplace. In fact, the typical minimum-wage worker is an adult white woman who is often a single parent whose family relies on her paycheck.

California is experiencing the largest income gap between high- and low-end wage earners in the past 30 years. Those working at the lower rungs of the societal ladder are struggling with the rising costs of services and goods. The rising tide has not lifted all boats.

California’s minimum wage is less than the minimum wage workers earned in 1979, when adjusted for inflation. For the state to fully recover, this has to change.

Opponents of a minimum wage hike contend that it is bad for business in a time when the economic environment is harsh. Ironically enough, Congress found that it was in the best interest of commerce when it established minimum wage during the Great Depression with the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

Raising the minimum wage would put more money in the pockets of workers struggling to provide food, clothes and housing for their families. This, in turn, would generate consumer spending and give a much-needed boost to the economy.

Still others argue that now is just not the time. Yet, 10 states have minimum wages that increase with the Consumer Price Index. In fact, six other states and the nation’s capital have minimum wages above $8 (the minimum wage in California today).

Assembly Bill 10 raises the minimum wage to $9.25 a hour by 2016 and then ties it to cost of living adjustments. It is a modest measure that is a matter of economic equity.

It is also the right thing to do.

— Bob Schelen is a longtime Davis resident who chairs the Yolo County Democratic Party.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
     
    Davis team wins world robotics championship

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Suspect in UCD assault arrested

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

    Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Watch them in action

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

    Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    We did it (together)!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

     
    $2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Those texts still linger

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

     
    New ways of giving locally and beyond

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

     
    Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

     
    Poker proceeds help youths

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Invest in water of the future

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Water, water everywhere?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

     
    More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

    By Our View | From Page: A12

    Anaheim, where The Force is with you

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery

     
    .

    Sports

    Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

     
    Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

     
    DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

     
    Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Davis Roots hires new general manager

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Comcast announces speed upgrade

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Obituaries

     
    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8