I'd like to start out by writing that I enjoyed reading the debate over the course of the week. It pretty much solidified my reasoning for doing this blog. A lot of people gave their preconceived notions of why each side thinks the way they do and of course, assigned nefarious reasons for doing so.
So I'm going to do this particular blog in two parts. Starting with preconceived notions about Conservatism.
Republican doesn't mean Conservative (especially in blue states like Rhode Island). When a politician states they are Conservative, that also doesn't mean they are nor does it mean that they hold what is considered a conservative opinion on every single issue. I don't think anyone does ... I sure don't.
The best example I can use for "Republican does not mean Conservative" is former Gov. Donald Carcieri.
Any Conservative will tell you that governments, be they state or federal, have no business giving taxpayer money to a private enterprise. Any conservative will tell you that reducing regulations and lowering the corporate tax rate are what gets businesses to not only come to your state, but flourish.
Currently, Rhode Island is tied (with Connecticut) for 6th highest in the nation in regards to that tax rate. Between that and regulations, we get an F for business friendliness and are ranked last in the nation for 2012.
As a result, we are second in the nation in unemployment.
Conservatives, in general, are for intelligent deregulation and a reduced tax burden in order to not only attract businesses but to let them flourish, we are not for giving $75 million taxpayer dollars to a private company.
On a national scale, former President George W. Bush signing the initial Stimulus and the initial Auto industry bailout, even if it was at the beckoning of a remarkably Liberal Legislative branch, was not something Conservatives agreed with either.
That said, lets get to this week's question.
Tiverton Dad asks, "Do you think the minimum wage should be raised?"
No. I have two reasons why.
First, nowhere in either the federal or state Constitution does it give those governments the power to regulate wages. As such, any law in regard to wages, is unconstitutional, in my opinion.
Our republic was built with this dynamic in mind and, in my opinion, this really is the cornerstone of today's conservative thought.
The people hold all the power, they cede power in certain areas (foreign policy, infrastructure management, law enforcement, disaster relief, defense, etc.) to the governments (national, state, local) by ratifying, through either directly elected representatives or by direct vote, a constitution or a charter.
The hierarchy in our country is federal, state, local, the people... if something is not covered in the U.S. Constitution it falls to the state. If it's not covered in the state Constitution, it falls to the local charters ... and if it's not covered there, then it falls to the people.
My second reason for not agreeing to a higher minimum wage is that it has the opposite effect that you're trying to achieve by raising (or having) it in the first place.
Most people take minimum wage jobs because they don't have the skills for anything better. When the minimum wage is raised, it forces businesses to cut positions in order to make up for the added costs. This means that there is less of a chance for people who hold or only qualify for minimum wage jobs to keep their job, never mind find a new one after they are laid off. This link adequately explains this position and brings up other issues not covered here.
You also have tertiary effects of a minimum wage increase.
Say one person is making $1 an hour over the minimum wage. They earned this by being a good worker and showing up on time. If you raise the minimum wage by a dollar, what happens to them? Don't they deserve to maintain the $1 over minimum wage compared to brand new employees who haven't proven themselves yet?
You also have cost increases associated with raising the minimum wage. Everything from groceries to restaurants will have to increase what they charge in order to make up the difference or, even with a minimal staff, they will go out of business. What use does 50 cents an hour make if you end up spending more than that just to eat?
Conservatives believe in the free market. If a business wants to hire people, and they want to pay only $2 an hour, who will show up for the job? Will they get enough people? Will they get the right quality people? If not, then they have to pay $3 an hour, and if not still... then $4... so on and so forth. Never mind that they are competing with other businesses for the same labor pool.
Finally, as an answer to one of your "statistics": In the US, less than 29 percent of households earn less than $25,000 a year.Their average household size is 1.9 members. What does that tell you?
This is all for the second edition of "Ask a Conservative." I'd like to thank you for your comments and well wishes. I'd also like any ideas to make the format better. Please remember while debating in the comments section that the other side (whichever it is) does not have some evil agenda. Explain to them your position as you would want their position explained to you.
If you have a question you want answered I would prefer them to be in the form that Tiverton Dad used this week.
Feel free to ask a question in the comments below or send it to email@example.com.