NRF: Minimum Wage Will Increase Welfare Rolls
By George Anderson
The U.S. Senate voted down an amendment introduced by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D – Mass) that would have increased the national minimum wage by $2.10 over 26 months.
Sen. Kennedy’s was looking to attach the minimum wage clause to S. 256, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, sponsored by the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa. (For more on this, check out RW 3/3/05, NRF Calls For Bankruptcy Reform)
The National Retail Federation (NRF) came out strongly against the Kennedy amendment before the Senate vote.
The group’s senior vice president for government relations, Steve Pfister, said in a released statement, “There is little question that a wage increase of this magnitude would have significant consequences on job creation in industries that employ workers in entry-level jobs. With the retail industry in the forefront of moving individuals off welfare and into jobs, a wage hike this large would hurt the very people it is intended to help.”
Moderator’s Comment: What is your take on S. 256 and the minimum wage amendments that were added to it but voted down by the Senate?
There’s no doubt that the bankruptcy system needs fixing. It is also clear there are many people struggling to make ends meet — you can find many of them
making the current minimum wage of $5.15.
We have to agree with the NRF that Sen. Kennedy is wrong to try and add on the minimum wage amendment to S. 256 because it is a good bill that deserves
his support — period.
We would like to offer some advice, however, to the NRF. You need to look beyond the choir if you’re looking to save souls in the pews.
The translation is that S. 256 as introduced by Sen. Grassley deserves support for what it would achieve, namely not giving parties an easy and legal way
out of paying at least some of their debts if they have the means to do so.
As to Sen. Kennedy’s amendment, the NRF should acknowledge that the minimum wage issue is both highly emotional and complex, and deserves consideration
and debate on its own. It should say it would support a dialogue on the subject.
What the NRF should not do is say that raising the minimum wage is going to kill new job creation and put current workers out a job. This is the same argument
that has been made since the Fair Labor Standards Act was made law in 1938. So going back to our church analogy, we would tell the NRF: The choir may be buying it but the pews
never have. –
George Anderson – Moderator
- U.S. Senate Rejects Proposed Increase in Hourly Minimum-Wage
- Retailers Urge Senate
to Reject Minimum Wage Amendment – The National Retail Federation