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Editorial: Minimum wage increase gives boost we need

Proponents of increasing the minimum wage, the majority of them Democrats, say history proves that any job losses that result are short term and negligible. People at the bottom of the economic ladder spend all the money they earn. When they earn more, their added spending boosts the economy and creates jobs. Raising the minimum wage would also reduce the need for taxpayer assistance in the form of food stamps and other benefits and it supports work over welfare, proponents argue.

This paper believes that’s true, and it supports increasing the minimum wage. It’s also the right thing to do in the interest of fairness. At the minimum wage, a full-time employee earns $15,080 per year, an amount which, while slightly more than the official poverty level for one person, is not enough to live on decently. One minimum-wage income is below the poverty line for two people, a mother and child, for example. In fact, it would take 2.8 full-time minimum wage jobs to pay the rent on the average two-bedroom apartment in New Hampshire.

While it’s often said that minimum-wage jobs are held primarily by kids, that isn’t true. Three-quarters of minimum wage earners are over age 20, and two-thirds of them are women, including single mothers. For them, and other low-wage workers, New Hampshire is a particularly harsh place to live. It has the nation’s 12th highest cost of living. Rent, heating and electricity costs and food cost more than in most places and public transportation is limited, which can make owning a vehicle a necessity.

To its shame, New Hampshire’s Legislature abolished the state minimum wage two years ago. What remains is the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, a rate lower than in any other state in New England. For a state that’s supposedly making every effort to retain and attract young people it sends a terrible message.

Most youths, when they leave their home town or state to seek their fortune, go where they believe the living is better and opportunities for employment are many. Few arrive as highly skilled or experienced workers. They go to a place they perceive as cool and pursue their dreams and their education, often while holding a relatively menial job to keep body and soul together. In time, if they can make enough to live on, they stay. Many become the entrepreneurs, artists, high-tech workers, economic pioneers and employers that make an economy hum.

New Hampshire’s combination of very high rents and a very low minimum wage is a disincentive, a dismal reality that may be discouraging the young from flocking to the state as they once did.

New Hampshire has most of the elements that draw millenials, the twenty- and thirty-somethings now building families and careers. But look around. The minimum wage in Vermont is $8.60, in Massachusetts $8. Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York are all raising their minimum wage, in most cases in stages that will bring them to or near $9 per hour by 2016. California, another youth magnet, is raising its minimum wage to $10 by 2016. Oregon is at $8.95, Colorado at $7.78, Washington $9.19.

A Gallup poll released earlier this month found that 76 percent of those polled favor increasing the minimum wage. More states are sure to do so in coming months. If New Hampshire isn’t one of them, its low-wage workers will continue to suffer, and attempts to keep the state from getting even grayer could prove futile.

Legacy Comments10

A 1976 American Economic Association survey found that 90 percent of its members agreed that increasing the minimum wage raises unemployment among young and unskilled workers. A 1990 survey found that 80 percent of economists agreed with the statement that increases in the minimum wage cause unemployment among the youth and low-skilled. .... Needless to say democrats with FACTS smack in front of them would vote for more unemployment. many people in the state of NH make minimum wage? What do they do for work? Lets get some facts here...

So here is what happens when we raise the minimum wage. Let's say that we raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.25. Those earning $9.25 to $10.00 will now be earning minimum wage and those wages will be raised to $11.25 to $12.00. That will cause inflation. If mimimun wage goes up, companies will deman more productivity from existing employees and they will cut jobs. Moreover, minimum wage jobs are unskilled and 60% of them are held by teens. These jobs are not meant for entry level, unskilled folks not for people to support their families. I could see a $8.00 minimum wage. Take a look at companies like Chick-Fil-A and In and Out Burger who hire the best employees and pay $13-$14 per hour. That is a far better model.

Don't forget to mention that a major reason for NH's "very high rents" is because renters end up paying for the landlord's very high property taxes!

Markets determine rents - NOT - the expenses incurred by landlords .....Nice try

Have you noticed that progressives want a break on health care, a break on rent, etc. I have an idea. Let's raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour and when companies are thriving it stays there, when companies start to suffer and decline, wages go down with the decay of the company. That way, employees are like shareholders and win or lose by their efforts. My guess is that progressives would not go along with that, they only want to share in the good things and not lose in bad times.

Don't all markets in NH have high property taxes? It's just another major expense that landlords need to pay. It certainly does has something to do with it.

I cant even find a high school kid to mow lawns for $10.00. The daily progressive slippery slope the democrats propose will give you this: HEADLINE: "Democrats considering bill to lift minimum wage by 40 percent" ... Washington Examiner, by Susan Ferrechio... Senate Democrats, hoping to move beyond the disastrous rollout of the new health care law, plan to pivot to legislation that would increase the federal minimum wage 40%. This is in response to everyone getting their hours cut to 29 hours because of NObamaKare

What the country needs right now is more jobs...NOT "job losses that are short term and negligible."

76 percent of those polled favor increasing the minimum wage and NH does not even have a one. Just another NH Advantage.

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