I wonder if either Mr. Oxford or Mr. Bamberg [May 20, Page 16 Mailbag] have considered what trying to live on minimum wage would be like? Do they know what net pay is after 40 hours at minimum wage? I'm sure it has been a very long time since they had to decide which was more important, gas to get to work tomorrow, or food for the night. I live in Illinois, [where] gas is currently about $1.40 a gallon and rising, public transportation outside of Chicago is spotty at best, and there is a mandatory insurance law for vehicles. I own only one car (it's small), and it costs almost $300 per month to maintain this vehicle. (that includes gas, one oil change, insurance, maintenance, but no payment). It's easy to see why people will sit at home and collect welfare and food stamps rather than work.
The last time I checked, payroll comes under the cost of doing business, and any legitimate in-crease in payroll is going to in-crease your overhead, something that ultimately, you will pass on (because you need to maintain, or better yet, improve your own personal lifestyle, right?) to your customers who will, in turn raise their prices. And when these goods and services of increased value are sold, they will generate a proportionally higher amount of excise taxes. These taxes will be paid by individuals who are making a little bit more money individually, but paying a huge amount of additional (in addition to your increased contributions) payroll taxes collectively.
Net result? A subtle ``double'' tax increase that gets financed (mostly) by working people from the bottom of the labor pool! Plus, as another small bonus, there will probably be a small shift of people from welfare roles that will finally find it more economically advantageous to go to work. The really amazing thing is that there will probably be some poli-ticians elected with the minimum wage as part of their ``agenda'' by the very people who will be most affected by this legislation.
As long as people continue to bicker over small details, they miss the big picture. The manipulators must love this. As long as you're trying to treat the symptoms, you'll never find the cure for the disease. As long as the federal government is allowed to spend more money than it has, it will continue to explore ``new and improved'' ways to squeeze more money from every one of us. Support a balanced budget amendment! It is the only way to hold your elected officials fiscally responsible!