SHARE

Raising the minimum wage suddenly became a hot issue in the Texas governor’s race just after Labor Day, with Democrat Wendy Davis endorsing it and Republican Greg Abbott opposing it. The national campaign by fast-food workers calling for raising the minimum wage helped spark the discussion.

“I’ll fight to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10, because this is a family issue,” Davis declared on Sept. 4 at a rally at the University of Texas-San Antonio, during her multi-city tour of universities. “Half of the 2.8 million people in Texas who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage are supporting families,” she said. The current minimum wage works out to $15,000 a year, “and I know from experience that is not enough to support a family.”

The minimum wage, pushed by Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt and approved by Congress in 1938 at 25 cents an hour, has been gradually increased over the years, reaching $7.25 in 2009. To have equivalent buying power now, due to inflation, it would have to be $8.05.

Twilite-Lounge_Rectangle7

President Barack Obama has called on Congress to raise the minimum hourly wage to $10.10. The fast-food workers want it to be $15.

A higher minimum wage would boost economic growth and create jobs in Texas, according to the Economic Policy Institute, Davis says. Those whom Davis said would benefit include 1.5 million women; 917,000 parents; and nearly 370,000 Texans over the age of 55. Of the workers who would be affected, 55 percent are Hispanic.

Abbott’s campaign claims the proposed hike would cost Texas jobs. “Texas has come too far to be pulled back by Sen. Davis’ Obama-style big-government mandates,” charged Abbott campaign spokesman Matt Hirsch,

Spokespersons for the Texas Association of Business and the Texas branch of the National Federation of Independent Business warned in statements that hiking the minimum wage could make it harder for unskilled workers to find entry-level jobs.

“Those job opportunities will go away, and the very people that Sen. Davis is trying to help will actually be hurt, because they will have fewer opportunities,” said Bill Hammond, head of the Texas Association of Business. “We need to keep the Texas job engine producing at full capacity, and Sen. Davis’ proposal of raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour is a good way to throw a wrench into a system that is working.”

Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller in a statement said, “Wendy Davis is right: Texans need a raise.” The current minimum wage “mires workers in the depths of poverty and cannot decently support an individual, much less a family.”

Moeller said that “Texas taxpayers would not have to subsidize as many Texans through public assistance programs if all Texans who work full time could take care of the basics.

“Greg Abbott is wrong,” she said. “So is his political party, which wants to abolish the minimum wage in Texas altogether.”

(That’s true, it does. The Texas Republican Party platform bluntly, though succinctly, declares, “We believe the Minimum Wage Law should be repealed.” The Texas Democratic Party platform is wordier on the subject, calling for raising the minimum wage and indexing it for inflation, “to keep it from eroding again.”)

Moeller applauded Davis for speaking for herself.

“Wendy Davis is backing a higher minimum wage at stops across Texas from her own lips,” Moeller said. “Abbott is using a spokesman to claim a minimum wage hike would ‘destroy jobs and opportunity for hundreds of thousands of Texans.’

“Abbott won’t speak directly on the subject because he knows the large majority of Texans favor not just keeping, but improving the minimum wage,” she said.

Working 40 hours a week at $7.25 produces $290 before taxes, or $15,080 for 52 weeks. A $10 hourly rate would produce $400 a week, or $20,800 per year. A rate of $15 an hour would bring $600 a week, or $31,200 a year.

When Franklin Roosevelt first proposed the minimum wage to Congress in 1933, he addressed the ethics of too-low wages.

“No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country,” he said.

Veteran Texas political journalist Dave McNeely can be contacted at davemcneely111@gmail.com.

30 COMMENTS

  1. If you raise minimum wage too high – there will be layoffs and less people doing the job. Also you have no incentive to improve because you will never get a raise.

    • Minimum wage laws to reduce poverty are analogous to laws mandating recalibration of bathroom scales to reduce fat people’s weight. On the surface, it’s a good thing because a 300 pound porker can say they “lost” weight. Unfortunately, what used to be a fat 300 pounds becomes the new fat 200 pounds, and nothing’s really changed. There will always be winners and losers, and efforts to avoid that fact are futile. Sadly, the current Administration champions the losers and curses the winners. A stagnant economy is the result.

      • Well said–and the “cursed” capitalistic corporate “winners”-even the liberal ones–like Buffet- are voting with their feet and leaving.

      • You’re the loser Stouty, a pure loser, a black-hearted loser, The Master suggest that it’s in giving that we recieve, why do you despise and rebuke Him? Your sense of entitlement is disgusting. If anyone is a porker, I suggest it is you and your fellow travelers. You represent the putrid depths of our countries self-appointed, entitled gentry. You any kin to Cullen Davis? Do you also ridecule the Deity like he does? This country suffered terribly during the Great Depression.The same savage bankers and high rollers were calling the shots then as now.The very same heros that got us in that fix did it once again…self satisfied greed-heads, inhuman rubbish. You need to get right,I’ve got you on my prayer list.

      • “For it is in giving that we recieve.” Insisting that Baggers and other greedheads pay a bare minimum pittance to workers is basic Christian behavior. Why do you hate Jesus, Mr. Stoutstud?

  2. There’s not enough bandwidth to describe how bad an idea this is and it’s negative impact on the Texas economy. In addition to the points made by silverdragon8448, and in the article, any small business that wants to continue to make a profit, much less remain in business will be forced to pass along this Wendy Davis Big Government TAX to us, the consumer. $17 cheeseburger at your neighborhood pub anyone? Anytime in my life that I didn’t find myself making enough money to suit me I went out and found ways to increase my income, and yes that includes a second job. But under the Democrats way of thinking there is no incentive to secure additional employment because if you do then you will lose your entitlements such as welfare, food stamps, and section 8 housing subsidies. I must be Rip Van Winkle because I must have slept through the part where you live within your means, which includes CHOOSING to NOT start a family when you have no sufficent means to support them. I swear this woman is bad news and we didn’t need her here in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, and Texas sure can’t afford her.

    • Again you and silverdragon8448 are totally correct. At one time medical transcriptionists were getting $18-20 per hour not including overtime. Since everyone in the medical industry was being squeezed by increased govt regulations, license fees and declining reimbursements from insurers, on top of inflation and increased overhead–guess what happened?–Automated transcription. Their clinic and hospital jobs went bye-bye. I can assure you that fast food outlets and restaurants will find a way to streamline their operations and be productive with fewer people and more automation. The WSJ had an article about the effect on family restaurants of mandated minimum wage increases in the pacific north west–fewer workers, fewer jobs.

  3. Numbers in these debates can show whatever each side wants but when you haven’t raised the bare minimum that someone makes in 5 years, it’s time to give them that increase. They need it. If the increase is fazed in over 1 or 2 years it will have a minimal effect on jobs or the economy as both will have time to adjust to whatever increase businesses will make in their product to cover the higher wage. As far as getting a 2nd job, I teach children whose parents are often those that are paid minimum wage. They are already working a 2nd job and for some of them a 3rd job as well. This has a snowball effect on the home and family because the parents aren’t able to spend as much time as they would want to because they have to work so much to support the family. Stoutimore, you make no sense at all. I’m sure when you wrote the whole scale/weight analogy it made sense to you but no it just doesn’t. Sorry.

    • Don’t you think the choice should be up to the employer as to how much he or she wants to pay the employee based on their operation? Do you really think the government is better equipped to set the wages at Sal’s Pizza, or the local pub? Or any of the jobs similar to the ones fed-up refers to? I know of several small businesses that already pay wages in the $10-12 range for reasons of their own; supply and demand, quality of workers, weekend and night shifts, etc., etc., etc. They know their business and they know what to pay their employees, especially so they can remain in business, make a profit, and feed THEIR family. This country, this state, heck this city relies heavily on small business employment. If you run small businesses out of business they will take the jobs they now have available with them to bankruptcy court.

      • If the Peckerwoods are so ineffective, and so selfish, and so arrogant that they are unable to pay a livable wage to an employee and also make something reasonable for themself, well then, they need to get a job themself and let someone with a little more sense and a touch more compasion take over running their chickensnit business. Everyone does good only when everyone does good. How smart do you Baggers need to be to understand that? What goes around comes around. Is every Bagger in Texas so stupid that they refuse to accept that Jesus is not lying to us? Good grief….it’s in giving that we recieve. You’re hypocrites and hammer-heads…your feet stink. You’re not nice people . You are disgusting whiners, you’ve caused the innocen,t decent people to be assumed to be as black-hearted as you Repug losers. It’s inequiitable, our jails are filled with more decent folks that you.. You shut the USA down, you’re disgusting, America could not pay our bills! Have you no shame? Have you no shame????.

  4. If it were left entirely to the employer they would pay sub par wages to maximize their profit. Very few employers would pay a living wage if they could avoid it. In the case of small businesses the pay could easily be low because the owner would , naturally, want to increase profit for his own family. This can be shown to be historically true. Granted there would be and have been exceptions but very few of them.

    • I don’t think you have ever run a business. Businesses which are successful in the long run pay a competitive wage. It may be true that some employees are more motivated than others and are usually compensated in a meaningful way by the employer. The key as an employee is to be an asset to the employer and firm. Generally this works if the employee realizes that his/her best efforts are an integral part of the success of the business. (If the employer is not making a profit, he won’t be needing ANY employees).

  5. There are specious arguments and idiotic arguments. And then there is reality. Of the 13 states that raised the minimum wage in January, 2014, 12 have seen job growth, not job losses. Seattle, which raised the minimum to $15 per hour–incrementally over the next several years–is going to boom like nowhere else. When the Wall Street Journal can make the case that a family of four earning $400,000 annually is having a tough time, well, I think we can all admit that a family of four with two full-time minimum wage earners making an aggregate $31,000 and not eligible for ANY health insurance, food stamps, section 8 housing, or welfare, is definitely being squeezed more than necessary. Just raise the price of a burger by something like ten cents, and fast food joints could increase minimum wage by a couple of bucks an hour. And they wouldn’t lose business, they’d be applauded.

    • Why should the pacific northwest family of four profiled in the WSJ have such a “hard time” since the region is “booming like nowhere else?” according to YOU Mr. Gorman–also Oregon significantly expanded Medicaid and found out that health care costs and patient dissatisfaction ratings were rampant-although everyone has “insurance”. Your arguments don’t make any sense and are based on speculation and delusion rather than reality.Even very liberal Warren Buffet’s CFO (who has been with Berkshire for several decades) professed in the WSJ today that “companies do themselves and their employees no favor by having more employees and higher wages than are required for maximum profit and efficiency” If you can’t convince Buffet’s organization, you can’t convince me. BTW–Buffet’s Burger King is moving to Canada now to avoid high US taxes–I pretty sure that in the global scheme of things there won’t be any “minimum wage” Americans working for Burger KIng in Canada

        • Warren Buffett and Charles T. Munger are “nameless”? I would say that the Wall Street Journal is a more credible source than you are “Wee Wee” (lol)

  6. Thank you Mr. Gorman. You put paid to the selfish me firsts that don’t care that it benefits all of us when employees are truely treated with the respect they deserve and are paid a fair and decent wage. Weekly, I don’t have to have run a business to no the difference between what’s right and the selfish self- interest of greedy corporations that can pay their CEO’s millions but won’t pay their employees a fair wage.

    • To “fed-up”:
      :People who DO run businesses are unlikely to be persuaded by the arguments of someone who doesn’t understand the difference between “no” and “know”.

  7. To reader, that was written at the end of a long day but no excuse for not proof reading. If that’s the best you can do for an argument that I’m wrong, I’ll take it. Isn’t it amazing that when you don’t have a real argument against what Gorman wrote, you switch subjects. Pretty weak.

    • There are several “arguments” against Gorman which are WELL outlined by Weekly Reader. Let me outline them (sigh) again: 1) Gorman either has not read or speciously misquotes the 9/6/2014 WSJ article about young people with $200,000-$400,000 salaries who faced financial ruin because of OVERSPENDING not as Gorman alleges “struggling”.Featured was a young lady named Flores who worked in high tech industry in CA making over $200,000 but was facing bankruptcy because she had accrued $300,000 dollars of credit card debts,had several expensive tropical vacations, a cook a nanny etc. The story is again highlighted in yesterday’s WSJ and on the WSJ personal finance blog. Note to Gorman: I realize that you don’t have any arguments but please at least try to read the article with which the commenters rebut you, ( It seems well, dishonest, to deliberately misquote the WSJ. MHO) 2) “Reader” also gives actual industry examples of pay inflation jobs eliminated by automation–Medical transcription-eg. 3)Gorman states that the Northwest is set to “boom as never before”. Really? with major aircraft manufacturers trying to leave Seattle and Oregon’s current multi million dollar Medicaid expansion Obamacare disaster. The isn’t any actual data presented by Gorman to support his speculation. 4)Warren Buffetts’ vice chairman-Charles T Munger is pretty eloquent about why Buffett is looking overseas for opportunities. Regarding US companies and their employees he states in yesterday’s WSJ: “Ultimately,we don’t do the world a favor by employing more people than we need for companies to run efficiently”–last time I looked Buffett was a liberal.4) Anumber of months ago WSJ did analyze the effect of state mandated minimum wage increases in local family run restaurants in Washington and Oregon: fewer jobs and fewer workers. Bottom line just raising the minimum wage for the same job is a concept which is an outdated failure by almost every economic measure. That doesn’t stop politicians from using the concept to try to get elected.

      • Rats are going to be rats, Baggers are going to be Bagers, decent folks will refrain from giving you what you truly need, ….if we can maintain our resolve. Give us strength, Jesus.

  8. Hey everyone! Lets just raise the wage to $100 an hour for all! No more poverty! Everyone would be rich! There would be no consequences!

  9. There’s a difference in big biz and small biz that no one mentions..

    small business owners pay employees, utilities, contractors, etc., FIRST

    big business pays investors first, and cuts everything possible to increase their payments each time

    Trickle down is a proven failure. But, they will keep doing it anyway. punishing those at the bottom for their mistakes every time. This whole tall tale about how Texas is doing so well will only last for so long. Many Texans are opening their eyes and seeing how Betsy and Rick and the rest of the Texas snakes are replacing Texas teachers with Visa workers from Mexico. Some Texas police departments have even hired visa workers from Mexico and put them in uniform with a badge and a gun to be patrol officers. it’s all available online if you really dig hard to find the info. Its a war against all the middle class and Texas leadership doesn’t care how it affects school children and endorse the killing of innocent Texans by law enforcement. its also in the platform. they want to take control as in take away our American given freedoms.

    • How’s that .25 to 2 % economic growth working out for you, “Wee Wee”? Keep on voting for high taxes, regulations, and unfunded social welfare programs and poverty rates will continue to rise.

    • Gonna have to call BS on the Wendy Davis like absence of facts diatribe there Lee2, just for grins, please humor me. Please cite ONE, just one single municipality that has a sworn peace officer on their force that is a “visa worker”. Any country, doesn’t have to be Mexico, your call, even Canada, try Canada if you’d like. Unlike your insanity filled rant I actually DO have a way to verify that in minutes. So let’s start there please, just one, you name the municipality or county and I will verify it for you. After you do that then we can address the balance of your dementia.

  10. OK, let’s turn this conversation around then. Since many of these guys argue against raising the minimum wage, let’s clarify some things.

    1. Do you think poverty is a problem in Texas?
    2. If you answered yes to the previous question, what is Greg Abbot going to do to help fix that problem?
    3. If a full-time worker, making minimum wage, can still receive welfare, why would adding more full-time minimum wage workers be a good thing for the Texas economy?

    Have at it boys…

    • 1. Do you think poverty is a problem in Texas?

      Yes, as it is in most every other state in the union and all over the world. I believe it’s the responsibility of the individual to do something about it if they are unsatisfied with being impoverished.

      2. If you answered yes to the previous question, what is Greg Abbot going to do to help fix that problem?

      The Attorney General (not “Mr. Abbott” as Senator Davis felt the need to disrespectfully address him during the last debate. Looking forward to hearing her address him as “Governor” and him addressing her as “Former Everything”) has outlined a plan to augment and continue the tremendous job growth currently experienced in our state, jobs that ARE NOT minimum wage jobs.

      3. If a full-time worker, making minimum wage, can still receive welfare, why would adding more full-time minimum wage workers be a good thing for the Texas economy?

      It wouldn’t, I know of no job creation plan proposed by either candidate that places an emphasis on increasing the number of “full time minimum wage workers” ; a phrase soon to disappear from our vocabulary by the way thanks to Mr. Audacity of Hope himself and his healthcare plan. The plan, as written, is forcing employers to cut hours of all hourly workers under the 40 hour threshold for obvious reasons. Additionally it is going to penalize employers by actually fining them for having a healthcare plan that is too “rich”. AND tax employees on additional “income” if they are enrolled in an employer sponsored plan that is , again, too “rich”. My current employer, a county government entity is looking at a $4 million hit if they DON’T WEAKEN our current plan. A hit that will be the burden of every tax paying citizen residing in this county. Nice huh?

  11. Minimum wage laws literally force the employer to discriminate against people with few skills.
    It’s the most anti-poor people law on the books.
    The only true minimum wage is 0$.
    Also, what’s the use of getting a 3% raise if prices go up by 4% as a result?
    It makes no sense.

LEAVE A REPLY