State minmimum wage works against teens

January 3rd, 2012 by Ken

When I was a kid, I had a paper route for “The Daily Olympian”. I delivered 110 papers, all the way from the top of the hill, down State Street, through the downtown area and up Fourth Avenue, all the way to the top.

To make a few additional bucks, I worked for the Fourth Avenue Grocery unloading trucks when they came in on Tuesday with new supplies for the grocery shelves.

I also worked occasionally in the summer months digging basements. I once spent an entire summer digging basements for two houses on Quince Street. And, when I couldn’t find work mowing lawns or washing cars, I worked at Tradewell carrying groceries to cars for tips.

I’m not really saying this to tout my work ethic. I’m telling this because those ways I used to make money as a teenager no longer exist.

Paper routes are now done by adults. The small family owned market no longer exists, and if they did, federal work rules would prohibit a teen from loading and unloading trucks. Those same federal rules would prohibit me from digging basements or using power tools.

And, another thing the government has done to stop teens from getting a job and working, is the minimum wage law. The federal government has a minimum wage but the State of Washington has another.

This week the state’s minimum wage went up to $9.04 per hour. That’s the highest minimum wage in the entire United States and a great incentive not to hire teens. Adults will work for $9 an hour. A business person doesn’t have any reason to hire a teen or young person.

The biggest job killer in Washington state is the minimum wage act which not only requires you to pay at least $9 an hour for workers, but goes up each year at a rate no one can determine and no one understands.

Even our Attorney General has questioned the state’s minimum wage requirements.

Businesses think that a first time worker, just entering the work force, should have an opportunity to learn the job before being paid $9 an hour. There’s no exception to the state’s minimum wage. Teenagers get paid the same rate as adults. Businesses which use a lot of labor have been trying for years to get an exception for teens, but have been unable to move the unions or their Democratic allies.

It would seem to me that a lower minimum wage for teenagers and first time workers – – say for a period of six months – – could be an incentive to hire them. Instead, the state’s minimum wage works against teens and keeps their unemployment rate high.

Posted in Business, Government, History, Informational, The Real News

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