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January 8, 2007

Politicians harm disabled workers

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .

Several states, including the State of Arizona, have just raised their minimum wage. I’m told that the Arizona newspapers have been full of stories during the past week about how organizations that employ disabled workers are now having trouble making ends meet.

The politicians of Arizona, with one wave of their not-so-magic wand, have priced many disabled people, and a whole lot of young and low-skilled workers, out of the job market.

Now, the politicians of Capitol Hill are set to do the same thing, nationwide, with a 40% increase in the federal minimum wage. There should be no increase in the FEDERAL minimum wage.

We really shouldn’t have to explain this to anyone, but just in case . . .

Businesses fill jobs and hire employees ONLY when the income they will earn by doing so will be GREATER than the cost.

For every type of job, and every employee, there is a cost at which it is not profitable to fill that job or hire that employee.

The costs involved include not only the wage, but also liability insurance, the costs to comply with government employment regulations, and the employer’s share of the Social Security tax. Now, the politicians in Congress want to increase the wage and tax portions of these costs by 40%.

There really is very little debate about this among economists. The empirical evidence is also pretty clear. Increasing the minimum wage increases unemployment among the young and the poor and the disabled. As recently as a few years ago this was a “settled issue,” even in the minds of the editorial board of the “New York Times,” which argued strongly against the minimum wage.

But now . . .

The politicians and many citizens seem to have forgotten that this is a settled issue, so we must go back to the barricades once again to defend the poor and the young and the disabled, as well as the small Mom-and-Pop independent stores that are having a hard time competing against the Big Box corporate chains.

The minimum wage, especially this massive increase, is a regressive policy.

But let me be clear. Most states already have a minimum wage and states are free to choose this self-destructive course. But it is a core Downsize DC principle that nothing should be done at the federal level that is already being done at the state level, or that could be done at that level. Power should be decentralized, whenever possible. This minimum wage increase is . . .

* a violation of the enumerated Constitutional powers of the federal government.
* a one-size-fits all policy superimposed over state minimum wages that are more likely to fit local economic conditions.

The minimum wage increase must be opposed. We understand if you, personally, cannot agree on this campaign. But if you agree with our assessment, you can tell Congress what you think HERE.

BY THE NUMBERS: We’ve recruited 195 new Downsizers in the first 7 days of January, making this now our best January ever (and it’s only January 8). We’ve also soared past the marks we set for messages to Congress in January, February, and August of last year. We’ve sent 13,443 messages to Congress in the first 7 days of January, which is 7,494 more than we did in all of January one year ago. Congratulations Downsizers! And thank you for taking AGGRESSIVE ACTION.

MORE NUMBERS: Over the weekend we received 2 more one-time contributions totaling $50, and 5 more new monthly credit card pledges totaling $130, which will be worth $1,560 over the coming year. Thank you Downsizers! You can make your one-time contribution or start a monthly credit card pledge by clicking HERE.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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