[This is the last of a three part minimum wage post [four if you count Here Come The Clowns]. However, just because this post series is done, don't expect me to stop talking about the minimum wage. As long as I am a small business owner, it will be discussed on this blog.]
As a conclusion to everything else I have written, this post is more to get out my remaining thoughts, tangents, and beliefs. They won't necessarily be presented to form a definitive argument on the minimum wage issue, but rather a few parting shots and quick hits of ideas:
Let me state for the record that I stand behind my position that minimum wage should not be raised. So firm are my beliefs that I have even challenged those who support a minimum wage increase to give me a chance to prove my position in a real world setting. When Des Moines Register columnist, Rehka Basu, wrote a bleeding heart pro-minimum wage increase piece, I emailed her and presented an offer. I said if she could produce one person making $5.15 a hour for 40 hours a week, then I would take time out of my schedule and work with them to get a raise within their current job or help them find a better one. No response. When Oprah Winfrey did a show about people making minimum wage, I emailed her staff with the same challenge. No response. When I was an official blogger for the Gannett run entertainment magazine, dmJuice, I issued the same challenge to the Juice staff. No response. I also challenged Rep. Leonard Boswell [D-IA] when I met him on the campaign trail for the 2006 midterm elections. I got the official democratic party line on minimum wage, but no mention of taking me up on my offer.
If these people I just mentioned cared enough to write columns, produce TV shows and make campaign promises then why won't they help me help those making minimum wage? I contend that the market is working and if you truly wish to find a better job at a better wage then there is one out there waiting for you. Open up the help wanted section of the newspaper or walk down the street and you will find dozens of entry level jobs paying well above minimum wage. The catch, of course, is that it requires some personal accountability and responsibility of your own actions. If you are waiting around for the government to help you, to save you, then you are in deep trouble. May I offer the government's response to hurricane Katrina as an example of the type of help you will get.
No, people like Mrs. Basu, Oprah, and Rep. Boswell only care about those making minimum wage when it can sell a newspaper, boast ratings or snare a vote; otherwise they are callous in their actions. Not of these people will make another mention or show compassion for those making minimum wage once it is raised by the Democratically controlled congress until the next round of elections are upon us. Only then will they talk about the poorest of the poor and then only to take credit for raising the minimum wage. Their personal claims of success will not be dependent on whether or not any minimum wage earner improved their life, in fact it will be completely beside the point.
Don't confuse the minimum wage issue with big corporate windfall profits or CEOs making obscene money. Raising the minimum wage will not hurt the Exxons, the Microsofts, or the Enrons of the world. No, raising the minimum wage only hurts your neighbors. Your own friends and family who have invested their money back into your community. The average citizens who own the vast majority of small businesses in America. Their children attend school with your children. They pray next to you in church. They are committed to your town and to making your community a better place to live. I dare anyone to make a case that a national, corporately run business could impact Waukee in the same way that my business has. It can't be done. I am part of the town, down to the most personal of levels. My relationship with citizens of Waukee is symbiotic in nature, as we both need each other.
Nowhere is it said that the life must be fair. There will always be winners and losers. Those who strive for greatness and those who watch the world pass them by. The Constitution of the United States doesn't guarantee you a job or a living wage. Rep. Leonard Boswell defended his position on minimum wage with this condescending comment to me: "you look like a bright young man who will find a way to make it [a minimum wage increase] work."
Let that statement ring in your ears...those of us with ambition and drive are now expected to compensate for those among us that don't. Does that belief represent capitalism and democracy or socialism? I know what I believe, what do you believe?