Editor, The Beacon:
Fifteen dollars an hour is a really stupid way to approach the whole concept of the minimum wage.
Fifteen dollars is just a number someone pulled out of their hat. It could be $12 or $22 and it still wouldn’t be addressing the real issue of providing a living wage to those in the bottom socioeconomic quintile.
Fifteen dollars an hour might be a pretty decent wage in rural Alabama or Montana, but it would be woefully inadequate in suburban San Francisco or North Dallas.
It cannot be “one size fits all” for it to be effective. It also shouldn’t be a fixed number; otherwise we’ll be right back where we are in five years, arguing about raising the minimum wage. Let’s put that to bed.
Had the minimum wage been indexed to productivity when it was instituted, it would now be somewhere in the mid-$20s range.
The most intelligent manner to approach this issue would be to determine an index that most accurately describes cost of living at the bottom of the income scale, and set the minimum at a percentage of that index. Then require each state to set its minimum according to that index in their state on an annual or biannual basis.
It would solve the regional differences in the cost of living, and stop the stupid fights over the issue every few years.