November 01, 2006

AZ Propositions - 202

Proposition 202 - Raise the Minimum Wage for Working Arizonans Act

This ill-conceived proposition not only increases the state minimum wage by $1.60 per hour, it sets a yearly increase automatically, as well.

All the arguments I have heard in favor of this go the same way - some variation of how people can't raise their families on $5.15 an hour. Well, they shouldn't even be trying. The minimum wage is nothing more than a starting point, and a bad one at that.

To paraphrase JP Morgan when asked if he felt he should be able to pay his workers $.25 an hour, he said, "If I can find someone to do it for that much". I wholeheartedly agree that the market should decide this. Artificially increase the wage range, and you increase the cost of doing business. Not just the $1.60 an hour, but the additional burden of higher workers compensation rates, higher unemployment insurance rates, higher federal & state taxes, higher Medicare and social security contributions.... Increase the cost of labor and you will get less of it. Increase the cost of doing business and the cost of goods and services you buy increase as well. Suddenly, someone trying to support a family on $6.75 an hour has the same problem they did before.

I heard one of the proponents on the radio yesterday saying that the average person who would benefit from an increased minimum wage is 28 years old and has been in the job market for 12 years. WTF! If you are 28 years old with 12 years worth of experience, and you are still only making minimum wage - perhaps you aren't even worth that amount. You would have to be seriously challenged to be in that position.

I have young nephew who has a high school education, no special skills, no experience, the whole goth hair pierced face thing, and he has no problem getting jobs (repeatedly) for more than that. His latest position started at $8 an hour, has a benefits package that kicks in a few months down the road, offers advancement opportunities and regular pay increases. And you're telling me some 28 year old is trying to support a family on $5.15? Please.

There is no need to artificially increase the cost of labor. There is no reason to increase the hiring of illegal workers, which could easily be one of many unintended/unforeseen consequences.

Perhaps scariest of all is the language that allows "private lawsuits" to enforce the law, and blanket accessibility - "ANY PERSON OR ORGANIZATION MAY FILE AN ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT WITH THE COMMISSION CHARGING THAT AN EMPLOYER HAS VIOLATED THIS ARTICLE AS TO ANY EMPLOYEE OR OTHER PERSON." Yeah, that isn't just begging for misuse and nuisance suits.

Prop 202 - NO, NO, NO!

Posted by Vox at November 1, 2006 09:11 AM | TrackBack | Arizona , politics

Back in college, I was making $8 an hour doing data entry at a bank. It wasn't the most mind-invigorating work, but it wasn't impossible for the average joe to do either - and it was significantly above the minimum wage at that time.

The only people I knew who were making minimum wage were working at fast food restaurants. Sure, I wasn't raising a family on that $8 an hour...but I also knew that having a family while making that little was a recipe for disaster, so why do it?

Rather than bitching about how low the minimum wage is, why don't these same folks figure out how to get a higher paying job?

Posted by: Stacy at November 1, 2006 02:31 PM

Excellent arguments - I wish we could get them in a commercial! Of course, why confuse them with logic??

Posted by: onelamb at November 1, 2006 08:30 PM

Can anyone provide a link that that would enable me determine what judges in Pima County are conservative or liberal? I am unable to find any information on Brammer, Eckerstrom, Espinosa, Alfred, Borak, Browning, Campoy, etc. etc. and I want to make an informed decision when voting on Tuesday. Help!

Posted by: Linda at November 1, 2006 09:38 PM

Or, as I put it...not just No, but HELL NO!

Posted by: Macker at November 2, 2006 07:40 AM

The only thing I have found on the judges is this, Judicial Performance Review, which tells you nothing. It seems that all of them get a passing grade from their buddies on the commission.

I looked for something last time around and never could find it, other than one site specifically targeting 2 or 3 judges.

Sorry, wish I could be more help.

Posted by: Vox at November 2, 2006 07:50 AM

I'm actually torn on this one. I was leaning yes but you do make some good arguments here. I also looked at that "may file an administrative complaint" with raised eyebrows. I mean, what in the hell is that all about??? I don't like that.

Posted by: Lori at November 6, 2006 09:03 PM

It really does seem to give easy access to anyone to "review" personnel files, definitely something that should be avoided.

Also, since there is no limit to who can file the complaint, and under what circumstances, it would be far to easy for a business rival to launch an unfounded attack. The employment commission has to spend time and money to research it, and the targeted business has to spend time and money to defend themselves - whether the charges are valid or not.

Bad, bad, bad

Posted by: Vox at November 6, 2006 09:09 PM