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FLORIDA TODAY: AMENDMENT 2 WOULD HURT THE PEOPLE IT’S SUPPOSED TO HELP WITH $15 MINIMUM WAGE | OPINION
Tallahassee, FL — Florida Today published an opinion column by Christopher Muro, an assistant political science professor at Eastern Florida State College, in opposition to Ballot Amendment 2. The article warns that the mandatory minimum wage hike would cause great economic harm, increase unemployment, advance automation and impose higher prices across Florida’s hospitality industry.
“Minimum wage increases are typically approved with more than 60% of the vote, whether they are on the ballot in Arkansas, Oregon, Missouri, or California. Approval makes voters feel good about themselves, believing all they must do to solve hunger and homelessness is fill in a bubble on a scantron voting sheet. If only life were that simple.
“On the contrary, approval of Amendment 2 will only serve to hurt the very people its advocates claim to be helping. Affirmation of the minimum wage increase will lead to higher unemployment, automation, and higher prices for consumers. Floridians need to set a trend by rejecting these outdated economic policies and continue moving Florida’s economy into the 21st century.”
Maro disputes the myth of a constitutionally mandated minimum wage hike, providing the harsh reality for hospitality workers, especially those who earn tips.
“A common myth associated with this issue is the notion that there are millions of Americans struggling to feed their families but are trapped in poverty due to the low minimum wage. The problem with this argument is that, according to the most current data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 2.1% of the workforce earns minimum wage. That is correct, 97.9% of hourly wage earners in the United States earn a wage higher than the minimum wage. By way of comparison, in 1980 just over 15% of hourly paid workers earned minimum wage. Also consider that the single largest employer of minimum-wage workers, according to the Pew Research Center, is the restaurant and food service industry as servers and bussers who are tipped and truly make much more than the minimum wage.
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most actual minimum wage earners are under 25 years of age, never married, work fewer than 35 hours per week, and have not earned a high school diploma. There were no statistically significant variations regarding minimum wage and race; White, Black, and Hispanic workers earned the minimum wage at the same percentage of the workforce. Thus, the typical minimum wage earner is young, not the head of a household, and is working in an entry level position that does not require a high level of training or education. These statistics should not be surprising and are, in fact, rather intuitive.”
Maro explains the economic effects of government intervention on wages that will force private businesses to offset increased labor costs.
“The deleterious economic effects of a minimum wage increase will be even more pronounced in Florida as there is a sizable segment of our economy that is retail and service based. Approving Amendment 2 is nothing more than a voter imposed unfunded mandate on private businesses. Business owners are then forced to offset increased labor costs in the form of higher prices for consumers, a reduction in hiring or embracing automation.
“The minimum wage increase is outdated and is just bad public policy. Hopefully, the voters of Florida will let Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, and the minimum wage rest in peace by voting no on Amendment 2.”
To read the full column, click here.
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