Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


February 10, 2014

Stumptalk: Should the minimum wage be raised?

CROSSVILLE — There is no constitutional authority for the federal government to establish a minimum wage for workers in private industries. Of course, not having the authority doesn’t seem to stop the federal government from violating the constitution. Minimum wage laws can legally be established by individual states and, if regulated, the rate should be set to help the economy in that area. If the economy is strong and the unemployment rate is low, then the rate of pay could be higher. If the area economy is bad and unemployment is high, then the rate of pay could be lower. Some states already set the minimum wage of workers in their state.

The current stated reason for increasing the minimum wage is to benefit the lower paid workers. In 2012, the total number of workers earning at, or below, the prevailing federal minimum wage was estimated at 3.6 million, or 4.7 percent of all hourly-paid workers. What if we could find a way to benefit ALL hourly paid workers without penalizing the employers or employees?

If the cost of living could be reduced then everyone would benefit, especially those who are unable or unwilling to improve their skills to the point where their skill level would warrant a higher hourly wage. Additionally we would no longer need the federal wage enforcement employees, thereby saving even more money. We could remove the sales taxes on ALL necessities like food, medicine, and clothing. If employees who are paid by the hour were no longer required to pay taxes on the necessities of life, the cost of living would be drastically reduced. After all, supporters of an increase in the minimum wage claim that it would increase the standard of living, reduce poverty, reduce inequality, and boost morale. Opponents say it increases poverty, unemployment (particularly among low productivity workers) and is damaging to businesses. Reducing the costs of living does none of these things and would benefit ALL citizens.

It doesn’t matter which side you support, you can find numerous studies that support your side of the argument. Maybe we should change the subject to an issue that can be properly analyzed for a beneficial result for everyone and stop allowing the politicians to dictate what we discuss. My experience shows that politicians choose issues that will improve their chance of getting re-elected whether they improve the life of their constituents or not. Recent studies reviewed show that about 70 percent of workers favor an increase while more than 70 percent of economists say it will hurt the economy, raise the cost of living and cause a loss of jobs.

The truth of increasing the minimum wage does not change the future buying power of the citizens that it is designed to help when it simply causes an increase the cost of everything they have to buy. With the increase in the cost of living that we are experiencing from the increase in the federal government spending, the only benefit from increasing the minimum wage will be the benefit to the politicians.

Since 1938, the minimum wage has been increased 22 times. Over that period of time, the increase in wages to the low-income workers has not improved their life. The increases have only resulted in a periodic reduction in buying power caused by the increase in the cost of living. We need to stop letting politicians indoctrinate us and stop allowing them to control our lives. Stop letting the politicians benefit from “sound good” proposals and require them to identify the long-term benefits to you and our country’s economy of every proposal they make.

• • •

Stumptalk is published weekly in the Crossville Chronicle. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. To contact Stumptalk, email coordinator Jim Sykes at

Text Only
  • Lion and the Lamb: A promised land?

    Back in biblical times there was a group of people who believed that God had promised them a segment of land on this planet that would be theirs forever. Who could have known back then that this ancient promise and territorial justification would be used by their descendants today to claim the same segment of land?

    July 29, 2014

  • We the People: Bring back the American dream

    Our economy continues to expand. The stock market is at record levels, yet many ask why so many of us are struggling?  Barely half of us believe the American dream is attainable.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tidbits: Taking a low-tech break

    Feeling increasingly strangled by my electronic leash, with phone, text messages, email, social media and a variety of other forms of communication always at my side, I took the weekend off.

    July 28, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Governing before and after mass corruption

    Laws in America were originally written simply. Every citizen could read them quickly and understand their meaning. The founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of the United States, none of which was longer than 4,500 words.

    July 28, 2014

  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014