I am behind on my DVR with Up With Chris Hayes, but very happy he is talking about this for an extended period of time. Even better the small business owner he has on, is the owner of a store I have shopped at since like 1986, Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis.
I got my first job when I was 12 delivering papers in 1982. Other then a few years until now I've always had a job. But only those jobs until I got out of college did I make minimum wage.
When the whole dot.com thing happened I went from making well over $100,000 a year to making well, nothing. I got an amazing package as I left from the employeer, but the money was quickly running out. I went on interview after interview but nobody was hiring at my level. As one ad agency lady said to me, a very honest women, I'd love to have you but I can hire two more junior people for what you want to be paid (and I was asking a lot less then I used to make).
So I felt I was able bodied and I took working the nighshift at a 7/11 type store. Made $7.87 an hour of my memory is right.
What I learned about this below the fold.
First off maybe I had lost touch with lower income people and I wasn't nearly as politically aware as I am now. I was making a lot of money. Among my friends I was the "poor" guy. I had not really thought that much about the fact many of the folks I worked with at that store, single mothers, were trying to raise their family on minimum wage.
The first thing work conditions were terrible, but that is another story.
But those work conditions and low pay meant a high turn-over rate. Now working at this store wasn't rocket science, but it took time to train a new employee. That hurts the bottom line.
The second was folks not showing up for work and/or stealing. My boss loved me the five months I worked the nightshift cause well I worked. It was easy to count down my drawer. I was making them money. A few customer noted to my boss that they were coming in more often cause I was polite and he knew at 5:15 I always had a fresh pot of coffee on for him.
As I left I told the manager maybe paying their employees a few more dollar per hour they would work harder. Show up for work everyday. Not steal anything. She looked at me like I had a third hand growing out of my forehead.
That is that point. Now a second point.
I think it was Joan Walsh at Salon that wrote months ago that for Papa Johns to enact the Affordable Care Act it would cost .12 cent more per pizza. She said who knew it was that low, I will pay that.
Look if the cup of coffee or the burger I buy increases by $1.75 to pay workers more, well I wouldn't be much of a fan of that. But if it was like .12 cents well I will pay that THIS VERY SECOND. And I will let you guess if a change in wages will cause cost to go up by cents (if they go up) and not dollars.
Finally and this is maybe the most important thing. Henry Ford in like 1917 was asked why he paid his workers almost three times what his competition paid their workers. He said, "I want them to be able to buy what they make!"
If you work at say Wal-mart and you make more money where do you think you are going to spend it? Well at Wal-mart. It isn't like you pay a lower income worker they will just "pocket" that money and not spend it. They are the group that will most likely turn around the day they get it and spend it.
I will end with our nation is close to FUBAR. Watching all the Republicans slam Obama after the SOTU about minimum wage makes me think we have little hope.