The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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Baxley Proposes State Minimum Wage Increase

Posted by ALmod on August 17, 2006

The Birmingham News reported the following this morning:

Citing rising costs of gasoline and child care, Democratic Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley said Wednesday that she would work to raise the minimum wage in Alabama next year from $5.15 to at least $6.15 an hour, if she’s elected governor.

Say what you will about Baxley. At least she’s talking about valid campaign issues. My respect has gone up a notch for her. Is it enough to make me vote for her? Probably not, but I do appreciate that she hasn’t released a campaign commercial that equates Bob Riley with Tom DeLay and Ted Stevens.

Now, I doubt that she can promise such, since this would have to first be passed by the legislature, but it’s nice to think that she would fight for such a change after the U.S. Congress voted it down and voted for a raise for themselves.

I would very much like to hear what the other two main candidates have to say on the issue, as this is something that I feel affects many in the state of Alabama.

I’m a capitalist and a conservative on most matters, but the “trickle down” economy created by the president doesn’t seem to be working. For the most part, it depends on those at the top to be less stingy with their profits so that they share the wealth with their employees. So far, it hasn’t worked, so I’m beginning to believe that we should try a “trickle up” strategy again.

I’ve heard about how our economy is doing great. Hooray for the economy. But the truth is that I do my family budget. When I see that the cost of living is going up and our family income is staying the same, I don’t see a good economy. The only people this “good economy” seems to be benefiting are the big businesses and those who already have a lot of money invested. For those of us still getting started, it sucks.

I’ve heard about how an increase in minimum wage will only affect those working a minimum wage job. Not so. What I have experienced is that people don’t want to be paid an entry level salary if they are skilled and experienced. Your employees will go elsewhere if you can’t offer a competitive salary. In an effort to retain those workers, companies will offer a better wage to their employees who are at the next step up the ladder, and then the next step, and so on. It trickles up to all of us eventually.

I’ve heard about how this will seriously cut into the profits of businesses. That isn’t necessarily so, either. Big businesses may see some cuts in their bottom line, but then many have been seeing record profits lately. (As for Ford and GM, I have little sympathy for companies that keeps pumping out gas guzzlers when the public is demanding, and the competition is supplying, the polar opposite.) Eventually, however, this will benefit companies again. As Americans get more money, they will spend more money. What if they invest it instead? Doubtful, considering the trends of previous years. More likely, they’ll rack up more debt, but then that will be a problem of their own making.

So that’s my view on economy: People are more likely to spend than companies are likely to share. It’s only my opinion, and I base it on my own experiences, which are limited due to my age. But I’m very interested in what others may think about this.

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