Dear fellow Americans.

I have to get on my soapbox and speak out for the downtrodden middle class people in America, like myself.

I believe that most small business owners in America would fall into this category.

President Joe Biden and the new administration now in power seems intent on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. If they should manage to get this through the senate it would be the death knell to small businesses and people who on fixed incomes.

I find it hard to understand why anyone could not comprehend that when the minimum wage goes up, the price of everything else goes up.

So where is the gain?

I believe that if minimum wage even went to $10 an hour, the price of everything would double.

Ouch!

I would like to re-run an article that I wrote five years ago. It is just a small voice in the wilderness, crying again.

This is it:

Almost every day I hear or read about some well-meaning person or columnist wanting to raise the minimum wage. Most of the time, this plea for higher wages is initiated by a person who has never been in the competitive world of business or owned a small business.

For over 54 years, either I, or corporations that I have been involved with, opened over 100 small business in this country. These consisted mostly of dry cleaners, Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants, Mexican restaurants and several others employing hundreds of people.

Most of the time, we started out on a shoestring budget and struggled until the business was successful. If we had been saddled with a higher minimum wage than the business could afford, we would not have been successful.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would hurt more people and businesses than it would help. For a small business, it would be the straw that broke the camel's back. That would lead to 14,000 Kentuckians losing their jobs, according to economists with the Legislative Research Commission. It would also force small businesses to cut their help or close their doors.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows that only 60,000 of Kentuckians 1.41 million workers are earning the minimum wage or less. Nationally, 63 percent of workers making minimum wage or below are either part-time, and college or high school students.

In an article, Representative Donna Mayfield of Winchester wrote, "If you factor in the total civilian workforce in Kentucky of a little more than two million, less than three percent are at or below the minimum wage level." In the same article she went on to say, "An examination by LRC economists also found that raising the minimum wage would place an unfunded mandate of $40.4 million on Kentucky schools over a 10-year period and $42 million in an unfunded mandate in a 10-year span on our city and county governments."

How do you pay for that?

You raise the taxes to cover it.

The raise in minimum wage will make the prices of everything go up which will hurt more than 3% of the people. I have been on this old earth 92 years and have watched this happen. Common sense tells you that if a business has to pay out more in labor than it can afford then they have to raise the price of their product to make a profit.

Back in the late 1930s when I first worked, I washed dishes in a restaurant for 15 cents an hour. In 1941, I worked at Kroger for 20 cents an hour, even though the first minimum wage bill passed in 1938 was 25 cents an hour.

That 20 cents an hour went a long way. Movies at the theatre were 15 cents, milk shakes 10 cents, cokes and candy bars were a nickel, a loaf of bread a dime, and gasoline was 12 cents a gallon in 1936.

Wow!

After World War II, the wages climbed faster and so did the price of everything. I was a bread man in 1951-52 and bread was 20 cents a loaf and the price of everything else had more than doubled. My dad would turn over in his grave if he knew the price of bread is now over $2 a loaf!

The people who would be hurt the most by inflation are people depending on social security and on fixed incomes. At the present time, restaurants, theaters and sporting events are priced about as high as most of these people can afford.

If prices go any higher, this group will go out less or worse yet, stay home. This loss of income to these businesses may well be fatal. There may also be no more dollar menus or Dollar Tree.

It's called pricing yourself out of the market.

Restaurants have always been a great training ground for high school and college students to enter the work place. If they demanded more salary than they were worth, the restaurant will have to turn to automation to keep cost of their food competitive. McDonald's is already working on automation which will cut out a lot of jobs for young people in this country.

The work ethic of most young people nowadays is not the same as it was in the 30s, 40s or 50s. A lot of small business owners tell me they have to teach a young person how to work when they hire them then train them for the job.

I tell all my 13 grandchildren that if you want to earn more than minimum wage, do a little more than your job calls for and as all successful people do, "Do things you don't want to do!"

That, my friend, will get you more than minimum wage and maybe a manager's job. Remember, the 10 most important two letter words -- If it is to be, it is up to me.

So get with it!

Final thought

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Until next time, live, love, laugh and learn ... Glenmore.

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