We’ve done our best to explain why a constitutionally-enshrined minimum wage hike would prove disastrous for New Jersey’s fragile economy, Save Jerseyans, despite the fact that the ballot initiative appears destined to pass in November; the latest poll out today shows it garnering 65% support.
I’m not giving up yet. The stakes are too high.
Let’s not mince words: the problem underlying this debate is one which is endemic throughout our politics – emotion overwhelms logic.
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it well after November 5th… the minimum wage is NOT a family wage. Never has been and it never will be. Anyone who says it is a family wage is either (1) unnervingly ignorant themselves or (2) consciously trying to manipulate you. Either way, prove yourself to be a member of the smart caucus and disregard the lie. Then go a step further and help us clear the air in the minds of your fellow voters.
Here are a few more surprising facts worth noting directly from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics:
In New Jersey, 1.77 million employers work for an hourly wage. Most of them work for “small” businesses which are least well-equipped to absorb new regulations and taxes including a minimum wage increase.
Of those employees who earn by-the-hour, only 2.5% of them, or 44,250 individuals, actually earn a minimum wage. A plurality of these individuals are between the ages of 16 and 19 years old! 77% of teenage women between 16 and 19 years old, 88% of women between 20 and 24 years old, and almost 80% of all full time employees earn a wage higher than New Jersey’s current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Coupled with the fact that most minimum wage workers are part-time employees, earning a secondary household income and hold such positions for relatively short periods of time before moving up the employment food chain, then it’s patently clear that raising the minimum wage is NOT a moral imperative (and that’s particularly true when you consider that most of our state’s truly “poor” families are eligible for public benefits exceeding what an individual can earn working for the minimum wage).
Raising the minimum wage will, however, lead employers to cut shifts, layoff employees, and engender a situation where less New Jerseyans are earning ANY wage, minimum or otherwise! Without fail, every time. You can set your watch by it. One projection forecasts 31,000 job losses in the near term. The math is simple. At some point, an unskilled minimum wage worker costs more than he or she can produce every hour on the clock. Government’s role in facilitating that situation is what we refer to as a crime of unintended consequences.
The real effect is pain and poverty for the very people whom voters were trying to help by voting for a minimum wage hike.
Vote for New Jersey’s minimum wage hike if you want to cut shifts and jobs generally, Save Jerseyans.
Oppose New Jersey’s minimum wage hike if you are capable of doing the one thing that ALL human beings must do when they really, truly care for someone – place logic ahead of emotion.