I am proud to say that I work that I work for a company where the starting wage for every job is more than $10.00 an hour. It hasn’t always been that way and it hasn’t always been easy. A few years ago the owners decided that they wanted everyone to make a living wage—and they did it. It had a ripple effect because it meant the entire wage structure changed. Employees who made higher wages, still make higher wages but their bonuses are not as lucrative as they once were. The company has to be more careful about waste management. And, we are not one of those big companies up North; we are a manufacturing company located in south Georgia where this entry level of pay is not very common.
It was good to see the owner of Starbucks, Howard Schulz, launching a fund designed to help get Americans back to work. The money raised in the initiative is extended to a network of small banks that offer low-interest loans to small-businesses, start-ups and established businesses that need a boost. This joint effort between Starbucks and the Opportunity Finance network program has generated 4,000 American jobs in the U.S. have been created by the joint effort between Starbucks and the Opportunity Finance Network. It has raised more than $11.5 million in donations resulting in approximately $80 million in financing for community businesses
These are examples of companies and individuals who realize that it should not take the government to get America back on the right track and they are not waiting for the government to tell them the right thing to do. The thing is, it shouldn’t take laws to make companies stop hoarding jobs and money, or to stop sending American jobs overseas. But if you listen carefully to the conversation there is the realization that these two companies are anomalies—they are in the minority.
I think the GOP is right that some smaller businesses feel pain when the minimum wage goes up. That is common sense. But on the flip-side, those who make the minimum wage feel quite a bit of pain. Perhaps businesses in the first three years of operation could get an exemption. Perhaps, there could be restriction on youth who are working just as there are restrictions on the type of work they can do. I don’t really buy the argument regarding the college kids though as I see college cost going through the roof. And, each time I see a CEO get a severance package comprised of millions of dollars, I am more convinced that many companies can afford the minimum wage for workers. Moreover, the GOP does not want to discuss ways to get there without so much pain—they do not even want to bring the discussion to the table.
Competitive education, fair wages, equal pay for equal work, women’s rights, civil rights, healthcare, adequate housing, the pursuit of happiness…these things are reasonable for every American. In order to achieve any of them, someone is going to feel a little pain—but oh the gain!
But if you do not even believe these things are reasonable, then why would you work toward them if elected to office? Companies that treat their employees well do not have a chance in hell of a union takeover—listen to who is worried about unions. We really need to take a look at how all of our elected officials have conducted their government and business affairs prior to November-- past actions tell a huge story.