Alexander: Making Hiring More Expensive “Hurts The People We Want To Help”

Thursday, March 14, 2013

At a hearing Thursday of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on legislation to raise the minimum wage by more than 39 percent and mandate automatic increases every year by the rate of inflation, Ranking Member U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) said the proposal, “while well intentioned, hurts employees and hurts the people best positioned to help employees—their employers.”

Senator Alexander said: “We won’t help the 12 million Americans who can’t find jobs by loading up employers with costs that make it more expensive to hire employees. These proposals will hurt the very people that we want to help.”

At the hearing, Senator Alexander cited the example of a teenager looking for a first job—representing the 16-24 year-olds making up half of all minimum wage workers—and asked: “Will raising the minimum wage help this young man find a job, or will it eliminate the job he wants to help earn extra money? Will it saw off the first rung of the ladder of economic success, which will help him climb up that ladder and help him earn something more like a maximum wage, instead of a minimum wage?”

The unemployment rate for teenagers today is more than 25 percent. For African-American teens, it is even higher, at more than 43 percent. Senator Alexander cited a study by economists at the University of California-Irvine and the Federal Reserve who surveyed more than 100 major academic studies on the impact of minimum wage and determined that 85 percent found a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers.

Hearing witnesses included two restaurant owners who testified that an increase in the minimum wage 39 percent from $7.25 to $10.10 and mandating automatic increases every year, as proposed by committee Chairman Senator Tom Harkin (D-Ia.), would force them to cut jobs to stay in business. One testified that it would increase his labor costs by 22 percent.

Senator Alexander detailed the situation of a franchise group of nearly 20 fast food restaurants who said that the growing cost of federal and states mandates would exceed their entire budgeted net profit for the year 2013. The mandates include Social Security and Medicare taxes, paid sick leave mandates imposed by the state, a federal menu-labeling mandate, and now the cost of the health care law, if they opt to pay the per-employee penalty rather than meet the federal mandates for health care coverage.

At the hearing Senator Alexander said, “I’m intrigued here, listening to a very fine, professional academic study that includes the restaurant business and thinking that maybe everybody who studies [the restaurant business] ought to have to run one…They’re telling [restaurant owners] that increasing labor costs is good for business.”

The last time Congress increased the minimum wage, in 2007, the national unemployment rate stood at 4.4 percent and had averaged under 5 percent for the preceding three years. 

Today the unemployment rate stands at 7.7 percent and has averaged 8.8 percent over the last three years. 

Most economists believe that a more accurate measure of the nation’s unemployment also includes discouraged workers who have given up hope of finding a job and those who have taken part-time work but want full-time—and that today stands at 14.4 percent, or more than 22 million people.  


Business After Hours And Ridgeland High School Artists Reception Will Be May 12

The Walker County Chamber will host the Business After Hours and the Ridgeland High School Artists Reception – Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America celebrates the connection between Amercians and sports in our heritage. The event will be at the 6th Cavalry Museum on May 12, from 4-6 p.m. Hometown Teams captures the stories that unfold on the neighborhood fields and courts, ... (click for more)

Senator David Perdue Says The Debt Crisis Is Directly Impacting The Ability To Protect The Nation

Senator David Perdue, a member of the Senate Budget and Foreign Relations Committees, on Thursday highlighted the impact the federal debt crisis is having on the country’s ability to support the military and protect the nation.   Here are highlights: Responsibly Funding The Federal Government:  “The primary role of Congress is to responsibly fund the federal ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Firefighter Arrested For Robbery Of Hixson Convenience Store

The Chattanooga Police Department has arrested a Chattanooga firefighter in connection with a robbery on Sunday morning. The firefighter has been identified as Steven Kyle Ratledge. Firefighter Ratledge was assigned to Station 19 in Hixson and has been with the department for approximately 3 1/2 years. Firefighter Ratledge has been placed on leave without pay as the investigation ... (click for more)

Rescuers Help Man After He Falls 30 Feet From Signal Bluff

Rescuers helped a man back up after he fell 30 feet on a Signal Mountain bluff on Saturday night. However, he was not seriously injured. At 11 p.m., a 911 call was made reporting the fall. Walden's Ridge Emergency Services responded to 1425 East Brow Road. When rescue personnel arrived on the scene, they reported a 25-year-old male had fallen 30 feet off the side of ... (click for more)

Being Proactive With Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. It affects an estimated one million Americans and four to six million worldwide,  There is no cure for Parkinson’s, and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone. Source: National Parkinson’s Foundation  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In May

Back when we were kids this day’s battle cry was, “Hooray, hooray for the First of May! Outdoor swimming starts today! With temperatures in the high 80s and we dive in to a new month, our monthly walk in a garden heavy with spring time pollen looks promising … AN ORCHID for the movie “Rocky” on its 40 th anniversary: “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t ... (click for more)