George Clark & Linda Atkins 2008 Campaign Statement on the Need to Raise the Minimum Wage in Eureka
FRANK JAGER: Job killer
From the Clark/Atkins campaign:
GEORGE CLARK AND LINDA ATKINS REBUT JÄGER AND ENDERT ON RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE
“Yesterday’s Eureka Reporter article: “Two Candidates Suggest Raising Minimum Wage,” discussed George Clark and Linda Atkins proposal to raise Eureka’s minimum wage from $8 to $9 per hour.
Concerned about the fact that Eureka’s workers’ median income level is only 51% of the statewide average, Clark and Atkins feel that raising the minimum wage is a necessary first step, as part of a comprehensive effort to get Eureka’s economy back on track.
The article also featured the reaction of Linda and George’s opponents in their race for Eureka City Council: Polly Endert and Frank Jäger respectively. “It’s totally the wrong approach,” according to Polly Endert and Frank Jäger added, “It’s a great idea, but it’s a job killer.” The evidence shows minimum wage initiatives are neither “totally wrong” nor “job killers.” They are, however, often resisted by entrenched moneyed interests whose influence in this campaign once again threatens the future of Eureka’s working families. When it comes to raising the minimum wage, Linda Atkins and George Clark feel the facts should speak for themselves.
Over the past 12 years around 140 States and Municipalities have enacted living wage measures and 29 states and the District of Columbia all operate with minimum wages above the Federal standard. There is now a rich body of evidence in this area, none of which supports Jäger or Endert’s claims. In 1995 and in a subsequent study in 2000, David Card and Alan Krueger, “consistently found that changes in the minimum wage have not tended to raise unemployment by any discernible amount (and indeed have tended to be associated with slight increases in low-wage employment.”
In 1998 a survey of professional economists at forty leading research universities in the field of labor and public economics published by Victor Fuchs of Stanford and Alan Krueger and James Poterba of MIT conclude that, “the general professional view is, again, that there were no strong negative employment effects, if any, from raising the minimum wage by relatively modest amounts.”
Three more recent studies examining the impact of living wage laws in San Francisco and Los Angeles done in 2005 all agree: “None of these studies finds evidence of significant reductions associated with the implementation of living wages laws.”
A particularly interesting study was done from 2001 to 2005 comparing employment growth between 11 states that operated with minimum wage levels higher than the Federal standard and 33 others that did not. The states operating with the higher minimum wage experienced overall job growth of 0.57 %, while those that maintained the lower Federal minimum wage had a 0.52% growth rate. In other words employment growth was actually slightly faster in those states which paid minimum wages greater than the Federal level.
Given the enormous amount of evidence that contradicts Frank and Polly’s “sky is falling” reaction to the idea of raising the minimum wage for Eureka’s working families, are we to conclude that they simply don’t get it or is this what having “no agenda” means to them?
George Clark and Linda Atkins believe in building our economy from the ground up. Raising wages in Eureka, which are so far below the state average, is the right and fair thing to do for Eureka’s working families. When the spending power of working families goes up, so does morale, which leads to productivity boosts, lowers job turnover, all in an ongoing “virtuous cycle,” and everyone benefits. Furthermore, increased spending by Eureka’s workers creates more demand for products, helping businesses while creating more jobs in the process.” –