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.  


Shop Rite Places 1st In Walker County Chamber Of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament

Seventeen teams enjoyed a beautiful day of golf at the LaFayette Golf Course for the Walker County Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Golf Tournament.  First place honors were awarded to Shop Rite while second place went to Georgia Power and third place to Flegal Insurance. Men’s Longest Drive went to Elijah Parker of First Volunteer Bank, Women’s Longest Drive went to Tracey ... (click for more)

Farmers Insurance Names Chattanooga Agent Drew Sill To Presidents Council

Farmers Insurance agent  Drew Sill  has been named to the national insurer’s Presidents Council, the Los Angeles-based insurance company announced.  Membership in Presidents Council is  an elite honor for the insurer group’s  top  one- percent  of agents and district managers . “On behalf of the thousands of Farmers agents, district ... (click for more)

Police Chief Says Community Will Have Input On Placement Of Crime Cameras; To Be Tied In With New Real Time Intelligence Center

Police Chief Fred Fletcher said Tuesday that the community will have input on the placement of cameras designed to deter crime. He told the City Council at a budget hearing that the cameras are part of a Real Time Intelligence Center designed to quickly analyze crime patterns so officers and detectives can react faster and with more knowledge about the situation. Chief Fletcher ... (click for more)

Robbery Arrest Made After Victim Gets New Replacement Phone And Pics Of Robbers Are Uploaded To New Phone

A robbery arrest was made after the victim got a new phone and then had pictures from her stolen phone uploaded to the new phone to her Cloud account. Among the pictures uploaded were photos of the robbers. The female victim identified Seth Benjamin Hardnett, 18, of 1703 E. 14th St., as one of the robbers from the incident on April 12. Hardnett was charged with aggravated ... (click for more)

Colonel Enicks Is Turning Out Leaders At Red Bank High School

I am a former teacher and football coach at Red Bank High School. I have been a witness to the great things that happen at Red Bank High School.  The teaching staff has a great mixture of experience and promising new teachers.   Dr. Robertson, the principal, is a great man and a wonderful role model for students. He shows up the same way every day and his consistency ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Hot Rod’s Catfish Dinner

It could well be the best part of playing a prank is in the delicious moments until your “fish” takes the hook. So yesterday afternoon, as I tried repeatedly to talk to a man I haven’t spoken to in 27 years, rather than leave my name I popped off the Happy Birthday song in a snappy, loud way and then ended it with a simple, “Call me,” adding my number. John “Hot Rod” Talley spent ... (click for more)