NJ debate on $15 hr min wage shows hypocrisy (Opinion)
Michael Symons' story on a minimum wage hearing was very revealing. In his role as our Statehouse correspondent he covered a budget hearing Tuesday where the idea of a $15 an hour minimum wage was debated. Labor commish Robert Asaro-Angelo heartily endorsed the idea extolling its virtues as being so wonderful for the economy. Then concerns were raised. And concerns were discounted.
When it came to groups he had heard from like summer camps and landscapers he said, "Here are two industries that can't be moved out of state. They can't be outsourced."
In other words, if you're stuck, screw you. Pay your workers more. He went on to talk about how all landscapers would be on a level playing field and they wouldn't be losing out to a competitor who could pay workers less. Well, okay, unless it's under the table. And also, even if you don't lose out to other competitors couldn't you lose out by needing to raise prices and losing some customers who just decide to do the work themselves?
Ah, but this is government. They don't think things through. Now our progressive governor certainly wants to see a $15 an hour minimum wage. But a number of lawmakers brought up exceptions that should be made. Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego said that high school students should not receive $15 and should have a lower minimum wage. She pointed to some data saying only one fourth of minimum wage workers are teenagers. Well, having a separate minimum wage for the same job would be age discrimination, wouldn't it? And what if the teenager is a female and the 21 year old is a male? Didn't Gov. Progressive just claim a big win with wage equality between the genders? So how would that fly? Don't discriminate based on gender for the same job but go ahead and discriminate based on age? Curious.
Then there was Sen. Paul Sarlo who had a list of exceptions that he insisted be made. "Seasonal workers. High school workers. Folks who work for our Parks and Recreations in our towns, and we hire a bunch of counselors. Lifeguards." This is where it gets interesting. So he's thinking about how municipal governments might have a hard time affording workers for their Parks and Rec at $15 per hour and that those jobs should have a lower minimum wage, but he's not caring at all that a small businessman might have just as hard a time with his own budget. Again, curious.
The likelihood is that a $15 an hour minimum wage will raise consumer prices and lead to job loss. It would be nice to live in this utopia that lawmakers imagine but for hardworking New Jerseyans with dirt on their hands and debts in their mailboxes, they live in the real world where touch choices have to be made. This is not the time for a $15 an hour minimum wage.
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