To the Editor:
The Democratic-majority Connecticut state House passed a $15 minimum wage bill. Gov. Lamont is thrilled. “If our economy doesn’t work for everyone, then it doesn’t work. It’s that simple,” Lamont said. Well, it won’t work for the thousands of low paid workers who will be laid off because the small businesses they work for can’t afford to pay them $15 per hour. Or, these businesses will have to raise their prices to cover the higher wage and many consumers will stop using their services causing businesses to close. The economic illiterates that run the state of CT are blind to history. Chicago instituted a minimum wage and 100 restaurants closed their doors. It’s a similar story in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and others.
According to a study by Jeffrey Clemens and Michael Wither from the University of California San Diego, the last time (2009) the federal minimum wage increased (from $5.15 to $7.25), employment among those earning less than $7.50 decreased by 8% nationally. That amounted to 1.7 million fewer jobs. Small businesses are affected the hardest and they provide 55% of the jobs in this country.
And no, it’s not usually family breadwinners that hold these low paid jobs in restaurants, retail, etc. It is mostly the second earners in a family, an unskilled single mother, a teenager with no work experience, or a student working his/her way through school.
Those who will lose their jobs are those on the lowest rung of the economic ladder, making it virtually impossible for unskilled workers and teenagers to get a toehold on economic mobility. Wages rise when workers develop skills that are important to a business. Read these stories for yourself at minimumwage.com/2019/02/real-stories-of-small-biz-owners-harmed-by-wage-hikes/ to see what the unintended consequences will be of this counterproductive law if the Senate passes it.
Linda Lavelle
Aspen Mill Road, May 12