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Chicago Tue Jul 05 2011

Raise the Minimum Wage?

Illinois is tied for the third highest minimum wage in the country, only outdone by Oregon and Washington, despite that advocates are calling for an increase is a stagnant economy.

A coalition of organizations are calling upon elected leaders to pass legislation to increase the minimum wage one year after the bump up to $8.25 per hour. Working 40 hours a week for 52 weeks equates to a $17,160 salary - without taking time off.

Rev. Jason Coulter (full disclosure - I attended seminary with him) in the video above makes the point of increasing wages as a common sense and not solely a religious or moral value.

The coalition's (Raise Illinois) objective is to garner support for a bill that would peg the minimum wage to inflation while also increasing it in a manner to match the 1968 high. Over the next four years the increase would be 50 cents plus inflation.

It would allow wage earners a guarantee of a pay increase as well as some manner to keep up with the cost of living increases. According to the coalition:

Consumer spending drives 70 percent of the economy, and increasing demand is the key to jumpstarting production and rehiring. A raise in the minimum wage helps low-income households who immediately put the money back into the economy at the local grocery store, barber shop or gas station. The Economic Policy Institute estimated that the 2009 federal minimum wage increase from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour would generate $5.5 billion in new consumer spending. A robust minimum wage can help build a sustainable economic recovery- - without increasing costs to taxpayers. Despite opponents' claims, extensive research on state minimum wage increases shows no evidence that such increases result in job loss, even in times of economic recession.

A net positive effect for the local economy and for every day workers.

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Dennis Fritz / July 6, 2011 10:07 AM

This is a great idea. Let's not forget, the federal minimum wage has by no means kept up with the rate of inflation. In real terms, the minimum wages is far lower than it was a generation or two ago.

Rich / July 11, 2011 12:55 PM

I believe that the minimum wage should be double of what it is currently. Basically pay a minimum wage of 14.50 per hour. Why you may ask. The single major point of this move upward in wage is to incentivize the people who have figured out that working DOES NOT pay. Why would someone work when the gov't will pay them more to not work. Poor people are poor not braindead. When the gov't will pay for your housing, food, medical bills, etc. these actions along with the poultry minimun wage has disincentivized the working poor. These workers have mutated to people who are taking from the system. So these people have gone from working and paying into the system to people living off the system and not paying anything into the system. This is whats really happening in the US. So we have created a segment of people in this country that have NO intention of working. Their only "work" is to find out more ways to live off the system. That would be considered to them a pay increase because for them there is NO pay raise. We as a nation have to change their mind frame because this segment is growing at an alarming rate. These are the people who are multiplying and you would be to with all that extra energy you get when your not working and you have all day to do nothing. Entitlements can work if the population as a whole has morals and scuples. Its unfortunate that the US people of today basically care about themselves and if get over on you then thats too bad(for you). People don;t realize that this is a zero sum game. When someone gets an entitlement. There is a winner(you) but there is also a loser(americans paying into the system). We as a nation have to get everyone working and paying into the system. This would help to keep these programs solvent and available for the needy, for which they were intended for. The argument that says if we raise the wages we will have more unemployment. I do not agree with that statement. I am a business owner and I emloy people when I need them. I do not more people just because their wages are low. I don't care wages are only $.10. If I need 2 people I will hire 2 not 3 or more because wages are at $7.25. Also if wages go up by two fold I'm going to fire people because I hired them for a reason. Wages are only 1 expense in a sea of many expenses. Its not a direct linear relationship. Sure if my costs go up then there is something to contemplate. But last case scenerio would be to lay off. Before that I would cut hours or try to get more efficientcy. So in conclusion my belief is to double the minimum wage rate this will free up a segment of the population and give them the incentive to get off the system and also give them their inner pride and impower these people to strive and try to reach that elusive and harder to reach "american dream". God bless you and the USA.

Sarah / October 13, 2011 12:43 AM

Now wait a moment. First you say you want min wage to go to 14$ an hour - and then later you say you'll fire people if min wage goes up? And in the same breath say that raising the min wage will help stop unemployment?

Make up your mind. Please.

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