January 31, 2012
Written by Juliana Simone
Hartford – In a press conference held at the capitol today, Democrat House Speaker and Fifth District Congressional candidate for his party’s nomination, told press, union representatives and supporters why he believed at this time it was important to raise the minimum wage. As something that will be presented for the Connecticut General Assembly to vote on in 2012’s short session, this proposal will fall on the usual party lines with Democrats voting for the increase and Republicans opposing it. Democrat philosophy promotes minimum wage increase as a jolt to the economy while Republicans view this logic as fleeting and superficial in the overall end results on small business.
The following statements from various Democrat state representatives and union speakers were included in the press release sent from the House Speaker’s office:
“More families than ever are relying on low-wage and minimum wage jobs to make ends meet,” Speaker Donovan said. “That leaves them struggling. While most job losses in the recession hit higher wage sectors like construction, manufacturing and finance hard, much of the new job growth has been concentrated disproportionately in low-wage industries.”
Another way to perceive the large demand for low-wage employment is that these are the only jobs available in abundance for anyone out of work trying to keep their home or put food on the table for their families since most middle management positions were gradually erased for years now as companies fought to stay open in this business-unfriendly state. Higher salaried positions of residents that occupy the towns of Fairfield County left many unemployed in the wake of the Wall Street collapse a few years ago.
Construction jobs continue to go to the lowest bidders which often come from out of state where unionized workers aren’t as costly and operation costs are lower for competing companies.
“Low wage earners in our state are struggling to survive in an economy that continues to be very difficult,” said Rep. Bruce “Zeke” Zalaski (D-Southington), House chair of the Labor Committee.
“Currently a single mom of two working full-time—40 hours a week and 52 weeks a year—would still fall well below the federal poverty level and that is simply shameful,” said Rep. Diana Urban (D-North Stonington and Stonington), House chair of the Select Committee on Children. Noting how many 18 to 24 year olds don’t have the skills or education to get a good job, Ameriborn reminds readers the always hungry cavernous mouth of the teachers union just raised tuition yet again on all state schools and community colleges to hire even more teachers, making the option of advanced education even more difficult for those who would like to aspire to do more with their lives. On a final note, the one-time psuedo Republican now Democrat state representative Urban abstractly referred to film maker and director Spike Lee saying “as that great philosopher Spike Lee observed ‘we need to do the right thing.’
Lori Pelletier, secretary-treasurer of the CT AFL-CIO said “Low income families have been hit hard by the economic downturn of the past three years and now is the time to provide those families with an increase in their wages.”
The disturbing common thread in these comments by supporters of raising the minimum wage in CT this session is the references to the poor economy that’s shown no improvement in years. This is the larger issue at hand and what causes the trickle down effect of high cost of living on households with loss of income and employment that then leads to more low-wage jobs being filled for lack of any other kind of work. This dismal environment is something the Connecticut legislature’s majority has created over decades of control here.
Republicans argue that extra wages incurred on employers result in job layoffs and outsourcing to overseas competitors rather than increasing the workforce here in the U.S. despite Democrat ideals that more lower wage workers will inflate the economy through lifestyle changes and purchasing power. Although ideally everyone would like to see people make more income and prosper, there are negatives to every positive.
If those minimum wage earners got the suggested raise Speaker Donovan is lobbying the legislature for end up losing their jobs because of the wage increase, or cutting back on new hires who also need the jobs, then the proposal is really something that is just feel good publicity for Donovan and his caucus that is created to appeal to this group of voters in an important election year. Raising the minimum wage will also increase inflation since the extra cost will be passed down to consumers.
When Ameriborn News Network’s William Landers got an opportunity to ask Speaker Donovan about the inflation rate after his statement to the press, Mr. Donovan gave a vague and short answer that left our CEO with the impression either Chris Donovan didn’t understand the economy or was intentionally unclear. In either case, this does not bode well for Connecticut taxpayers, workers and voters if the state representative lacks imperative business knowledge at a time when jobs are at an all time low or if he does not actually promote the transparency this administration guaranteed prior to and upon election. Furthermore, if State Rep. Donovan cannot perform to constituent’s expectations as House Speaker, how can any voter expect him to do this in the much more important role as one of our state’s United States Representatives in Washington?
House Minority Leader Larry Cafero gives Ameriborn News an exclusive one on one interview after Speaker Donovan’s press conference. Rep. Cafero explains in this rebuttal why the Democrat leader is wrong in this proposal and why the Republican view is the right one to turn our state back into a prospering business-friendly economy that will bring back jobs to Connecticut.
House Minority Leader speaker Larry Cafero told Ameriborn, “we’re still mired in a recession where hundreds of thousands of people that are out of work don’t have a wage at all let alone a minimum wage…it’s just another job killing idea.” Addressing the perspective of a small business owners, William Landers pointed out that raising the minimum wage also effects unemployment insurance and worker compensation costs. Cafero agreed there is definitely a chain reaction effect. “It’s not just the minimum wage that rises…that’s why, frankly, organized labor is so much behind this. Most of the people who aren’t in unions do not make minimum wage, but they like when minimum wage goes up because it’s an argument for them to increase their wages – that’s all well and good in a great economy, we’re not in a great economy. Let’s get people back to work first and then talk about raising the minimum wage.”