Pictured: Charlie Meadows
The Pros and Cons of Raising Oklahomas Minimum Wage
First, I want to talk about the positive aspects of that new law if it is successful. Honestly speaking, there are NO positive outcomes associated with that law should it go into effect.
Now, I want to point out the reasons the effort should never see the light of day.
1) I don’t believe there is a job in Oklahoma that pays such a paltry amount per hour. In fact, as a person that employs people that do common labor on up to more skilled jobs, I doubt you could find a business that has ten or more employees that pay any of their employees as little as $9.00 an hour. Of all the employees I have recently interviewed, the least amount anyone has asked for as a starting wage was $14.00 per hour. The least I have ever started a person was $15.00 an hour, of which I raised that employee’s wage to $16.00 an hour after his 90-day review. This is an effort that is trying to solve a problem that does not exist.
2) Of great importance, the truth is, raising the minimum wage does not help the people that advocates claim they are wanting to help. When minimum wage increases are mandated, eventually the price of almost everything goes up. Though employees have more money in their pockets, they are not any better off since the price of virtually everything they need or want increases. These artificial mandates have an inflationary effect.
3) The supply and demand marketplace is quite capable of determining what employees are to be paid based on a person’s productivity and value to an employer. If an employer is forced to pay more for an employee than they are worth, the employer must let that person go. If this law goes into effect, many will lose their jobs. Many businesses will not be able to keep up with demand.
4) In an attempt to elicit emotional sympathy for their cause, the hucksters behind this effort suggest false hypotheticals. Like our minimum wage is so low that we need to help struggling “families” or, “parents” making minimum wage often work more than one job as they struggle to put food on the table for their children – blah blah blah. Let’s be honest, the original advocates of a government established minimum wage never intended it to apply to families or parents, but rather to teens just starting on a first job, teens needing to learn a work ethic, discipline to show up on time, develop an ability to work with others, and learn how to work up to a better paying job, or move into management as they become more productive and valuable to employers.
5) Becoming dependent upon government to set a minimum wage puts a damper on what people can accomplish. Dependency teaches people to look to government for help and advancement – it destroys ambition and independence, breeding mediocrity. Some people are naturally ambitious and really grow in prosperity, others need folks to encourage them to find their God given talents and nudge them along until they develop an ability to take care of themselves and their family.
6) For an initiative petition to be successful it takes a lot of money and effort, something unorganized people making little money are unlikely to do. So, who might one guess is really behind such? I believe if you look, labor unions have always supported minimum wage laws and their increases. Unions also know if they portray themselves as responsible for low wage people making more money, those workers are more persuadable to join organized labor. Union bosses also tell their current members that their efforts caused their wages to rise since increasing minimum wages eventually inflates all wages. Organized labor is always wanting to increase membership as it makes them more powerful and increases the wealth of the union bosses.
7) It just wouldn’t be right for the hucksters promoting this effort not to use class envy to make their effort a success. As expressed in a 12-29-23 article in the Oklahoman, they revealed this strategy with the following quote: “Still, the wealthy interests behind the State Chamber are doing everything they can to block a reasonable wage increase that would allow Oklahoma families to keep up with rising costs.” I don’t always agree with the State Chamber, but in this case they are correct when they say that, if the effort is successful it would result in: “higher prices for consumers, fewer jobs for workers and greater failure rates for businesses.”
Over time, businesses in states that have high and growing minimum wages will look for other states in which to relocate. Of course when that occurs, it puts more demand for workers in those states and wages will rise as the free market supply and demand forces naturally work to improve the quality of life for workers. Businesses will also prosper as they have a better quality work force.
Oklahoma needs to join the five other states that have no minimum wage and eliminate the $7.25 we currently have. That would be easy to do since no one in Oklahoma works for such a low wage anyway. That is something the state legislature could do to improve our economy and the lives of all working Oklahomans, as well as increase productivity of Oklahoma businesses.
Charlie Meadows is the founder and former president of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC). In 2023 he won a Special Election becoming County Commissioner for District 2 in Logan County. He may be contacted at: email@example.com