2-22-14 – Minimum Wage a States’ Rights Issue

President Obama’s focus of giving the country a raise really imposes a price control on labor which is bad economics, bad policy and infringes upon state rights.

The cost of labor varies around the country because of industries, availability of labor and their skills. If there’s a shortage of labor in an area with low unemployment employers will pay higher wages. There’s no need for a national minimum wage that imposes the same “price floor” on every state and region.

There’s also no free lunch. Someone will have to pay for the increased cost of labor. Decades of economic research show that minimum wages harm workers and the economy. It stifles job opportunities for low-skill workers, youth and minorities which are the very groups the President is trying to help. It also increases prices and establishes a higher wage base for all other workers when labor contracts are negotiated.

If there’s going to be a minimum wage, let the states decide. 21 states already have a higher minimum wage than federal law. Even cities are defining what the minimum wage is in their communities and if it’s too high, businesses can appeal to local governing bodies if it’s damaging their business or affecting the competitiveness.

States should be reasserting their power and independence from Washington. Telling Congress to stay out of the minimum wage fight and let the states decide is the direction they should take. Also, the President should focus on policies that generate economic growth, which would generate rising wages and more opportunities for all workers.

– Frank Mazur, former Representative from South Burlington and former EAI board member.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mark Shepard February 28, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Excellent point Frank. Why does not someone in Congress just push this point by putting in a bill to get the federal government totally out of the wage setting business … based on the fact that it does not fall under the federal enumerated powers and thus belongs to the states. Play it as removing one more thing the president can use for political pandering.


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