U.S. can't support raising minimum wage to $15

July 30, 2017 at 3:12 p.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

According to news reports and other sources, there is a political movement to raise the federal minimum hourly wage to $15. The current rate is $7.25, set in July 2009.

While it may appear the current rate is too low, it is also apparent a raise to $15 is completely unsupportable. Following is a discussion regarding this issue.

Basically, the minimum wage law was enacted to prevent worker exploitation. The problem is it is a politically devised wage limit that cannot possibly address the nation as a whole. For example, if the wage rate was raised to $15, the economic effect in high-cost-of-living states would be much less than in low-cost-of-living states, where such would cause an economic disaster. Clearly, an alternate approach is needed, such as eliminating the federal minimum wage program and letting each state use its minimum wage laws to determine its own minimum wage limits or establishing a federal wage rate based on the economics of the lowest-cost-of-living states. Such rates should not exceed a level that would cause a significant change in employment or prices of goods and services. Politically, the government will probably never eliminate the federal minimum wage program; therefore, I suggest the option of using a rate based on low-cost-of-living states.

Presently, 29 states have already raised their wage rates above the current federal rate.

Only five states have no minimum wage laws.

In summary, if federal or state minimum wage rates are set too high, many unskilled workers will be priced out of the job market as businesses must remain competitive both domestically and worldwide or go out of business. Excessive minimum wage levels are counterproductive to our economy and to the very workers they are supposed to help/protect.

Considering advancing technology and other factors, higher-paying jobs will require a good education and advanced skill levels. High school students must be made aware that today's higher paying jobs will require a degree from a college or technical/trade schools. Lacking the same will lessen their ability to compete.

Allen J. Novosad, Edna


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