Unconscionable?

Good question:

Labor union leaders and executives with anti-poverty groups gathered at the State House steps today to endorse a bill that would raise the minimum wage in Alabama from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour over 26 months. . . .

“The Legislature here in Alabama just voted themselves a 62 percent pay raise. And some of those same people who voted for the pay raise are going to vote against the minimum wage,” [Stewart Burkhalter, president of the Alabama AFL-CIO] said. “That’s unconscionable.”

Is it? I don’t know. I think it depends on the reasons.

For instance, it would be unconscionable to distinguish the cases on the basis of merit. That is, I don’t think Greedy Legislator could justify the disparate treatment by saying he deserved a raise but the average burger flipper does not. The average fast food employee may be a surly teenager, but at least they actually produce something people want.

I don’t think vague ecomomic concerns cut it, either. I mean, in the end, you and I are footing the bill for both raises.

So what would justify the distinction? I can’t think of anything right now. But there has to be something. This is apples and oranges, right?

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5 Comments on “Unconscionable?”

  1. Mark Says:

    Maybe. I think there is some relevance in that a group of fairly well to do legislators think it’s OK to raise their pay (whether deserved or not, and whether they are underpaid or not), but side with business owners who oppose raising the minimum wage. On the other hand, I do not know the facts on who gets minimum wage and what effect it would have on most employees. It’s possible it is simply a symbolic measure.

  2. Willie Says:

    I dare anyone making $5.15 -$7.25 a hour to be able to feed, house and pay their portion of some bad company health care program for their families. And, I don’t want to hear this crap that it is only teenagers making these low salaries.

  3. Frank Says:

    If the only people making minimum wage were teenagers working after school I would be sympathetic. Unfortunately, too many people making minimum wage are trying to support a family — and farnkly, that cannot be done on $5.15 an hour these days.

  4. Bill Taylor Says:

    I have a problem with any minimum wage legislation AND I have a problem with the raise the legislature gave itself. I wish everyone made more money but I believe that the minimum wage hurts the people it was intended to help the most. Yes the legislation guarantees a minimum wage but it doesn’t guarantee the job.

  5. Dan Says:

    You and I will be footing the bill, but we can choose not to subsidize the wages of some nonessential industries. We have to pay taxes or else.


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