WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Wednesday that he supports a Democratic proposal to increase the U.S. minimum wage but said it should be coupled with tax and regulatory relief for small businesses.
In a relatively short article, the President makes a reasonable suggestion concerning the new Congress' desire to push an increased minimum wage. As noted in the article, President Bush would like to see something a little more comprehensive than just increasing the minimum wage. When the cost of doing business increases for businesses with a very small profit margin that margin shrinks or disappears. This either forces the business to limit the hours a minimum wage earner works, lay off senior and junior wage earners in favor of the minimum wage earners in order to save labor costs, or both. These cost saving strategies are counter productive for the Democrats in their efforts to increase the income for minimum wage earners as it poses the risk of those workers losing income due to low hours, or losing their jobs outright due to the company they work for not being able to afford their employment.
In order to forestall these complications it would behoove Congress to work out a plan which would benefit both the wage earners AND the small businesses that employ them. Lowering the taxes the small business pays will allow the wage earners to keep their jobs, most likely with the hours they are used to working, with the possible benefit of allowing the small business to increase their workforce with the extra capital the lower tax base will allow for them. This way the government wins, mostly through the increase in tax revenue from the increased income-tax base of both the higher wage and the increased number of workers earning the wage.
Of course, my input is negligible. There's no way anyone who makes decisions will hear or even pay attention to what I have to say. We'll just have to see if the people we've elected to make our decisions for us have thought this through enough to allow for the possibility of a bipartisan approach instead of the typically divisive partisanship that has been attributed to this issue in the past by the Democrats. Everyone gear up for the next round in the "Income War"!
I have sent an email to both Senators from the state of California. Lets see if that makes much of a difference.
UPDATE 2!!!! 21DEC06
I received the following email response from Senator Barbara Boxer concerning the comments I have made in this post. Notice how she blithely ignores the core of what I am trying to suggest. She even thanks me for my support of the proposed increase in the minimum wage! Amazing how one dimensional our elected officials can be sometimes. Her reply and my response to her reply are attached below. Unfortunately I was not able to save the email I sent to her the first time, but I'm sure you'll be able to get the idea from my response to her reply.
Dear Petty Officer First Class Pisano:
Thank you for writing to me in support of increasing the federal minimum wage. I appreciate hearing from you, and I completely agree that an increase of the minimum wage is needed to help lower-wage workers make ends meet.
In the 109 th Congress, most Senate Republicans supported a bill that would have raised the minimum wage. However, this bill would have also shortchanged hundreds of thousands of workers who rely on tips for a large portion of their income. I am pleased that this bill, which would have penalized countless lower-wage workers, died in the Senate.
Passing a real increase of the federal minimum wage is one of the top priorities for the Democrats in the next Congress.
The minimum wage is about fairness, a fair wage that rewards people for an honest day's work. In these difficult economic times, it is even more important that working families be able to support themselves with the wages they earn. I will join my colleagues in the fight to obtain an increase in the minimum wage , and I will remain committed to ensuring that all American workers receive the fair pay that they deserve.
Again, thank you for taking the time to write to me about this important issue.
United States Senator
Please visit my website at http://boxer.senate.gov
MY RESPONSE TO HER REPLY
Senator Boxer,You have misunderstood my aim in emailing you. The purpose of my message wasn't to ask you to support a simple increase in the Federal minimum wage. This would ultimately hurt low income families because businesses will react to the increase in their cost of doing business by lowering their labor costs through lay-offs. My intent was to help you see the need for a comprehensive plan developed to help low income families AND small businesses achieve more by increasing the minimum wage while at the same time providing for tax relief for the small businesses who employ minimum wage earners. This way small businesses won't have to consider lay-offs as a solution to the shrinking bottom line issues which would be created by simply increasing the minimum wage alone. I do not support a simple increase in minimum wage.Please take my comments into consideration, and make sure you consider everything that's being said to you, even if the ideas presented are not popular to you or your colleagues. As a servant of the public, I know my job is to be a protector of the public trust, regardless of my personal or political aim. You, as a public servant, would do well to remember there is more to the picture you're painting than the low income families you're purporting to protect.ET1 James Pisano