A recently released study shows that the cost of housing in Utah has been creeping up steadily and affordability for a 2-bedroom apartment now requires making just over $13/hr. Predictably, advocates of a higher minimum wage latched onto this to demand an immediate increase. Sadly, they are still totally missing the mark in their supposed quest to aid the poor.
Increasing the price of unskilled labor (which minimum wage is) would be a horrible thing to do to the poor in our state. Not only do you grip them in the vices of inflation, but the middle class is unlikely to see much of that raise in their paychecks, diminishing their purchasing power. Instead of finding a way to get the poor people out of those dead-end jobs and into well-paying ones (all of the positions in my job hunt last year started at $14+ per hour), they propose keeping them as a member of the underclass.
If these advocates actually cared about improving the plight of the poor, they'd spend less time commissioning wonky studies and holding press conferences and more time providing these folks with job skills to be valuable in the workplace. Take all of that time and money spend on lobbying and open up a job training center. That will do more to improve the conditions of low-paid workers than any increase in minimum wage ever could. The long-term benefits of job training far outweigh the fleeting pittance of minimum wage increases.
Meanwhile, the Governor's year-long study on minimum wage earners turned up what the BLS could already tell us: the average minimum wage earner is a young white male in his early 20s. It also reveals that of the 16,600 people earning minimum wage or less, 3/4 of them are tipped employees who make far more than minimum wage from this additional income. This leaves *drumroll* about 4,000 people in this state earning minimum wage or less. (I've already talked at length several times about how raising the minimum wage won't fix anything.)
I'm hoping this pig of an idea continues to die before it hits the floor at the Legislature.