I really do admire and respect the President, but raising the minimum wage as a growth strategy does not line up with memories of my Jimmy Carter era high school economics class. I favor a minimum wage as a floor to exploitation, but nobody I know argues it results in more jobs and more hiring. President Obama is just not a fan of private enterprise expansion.
Actions are louder than words. The more expensive labor costs, the more corporate executives retard budgeted and unbudgeted hiring. That is true in my personal experience throughout the US, Canada, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark where I ran or had some executive responsibility for various manufacturing and high tech businesses.
But all my early jobs were in small businesses. Our son, Jack, is sixteen and looking for his first summer job. My first job beyond the family was at age 15. I was the junior guy in a delicatessen in Highland Park Plaza in Dallas. The owners were two Jewish guys, but they were not equal partners. It made for an unusual hierarchal management style worthy in my view of a TV sitcom.
I cleaned out the grease trap and once a bathroom that had the appearance of a ritual killing site, scrubbed floors and dishes, and did every dirty job in the book for $2.50 an hour plus lunch. It was the first time I had an African-American as a peer in anything, who was also a mid-twenties single woman. An altogether great cultural and fantastic culinary experience.
Minimum wage was actually $2.65 an hour. In my first hard ball negotiation with one of the owners I asked for $2.65. He told me to take $2.50 or he offered me his hand. Dad confirmed for me there was some sort of exemption for him to hire me into the job.
Now you can say I was exploited. But, I hope Jack has half as positive an experience as I had that four months. And raising the minimum wage in Colorado and huge parts of the country is not going to make finding that summer job any easier. It is an opportunity killer.
Mr. President, please remember that there is still almost 8% unemployment. Strip out college graduates and the picture is scandalous. Please, focus.