Q&A – How many Floridians are impacted by the minimum wage increase?


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Q&A – How many Floridians are impacted by the minimum wage increase?

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio 

Today’s entry: I’d like for you to address an issue which I believe is being falsely reported. In reporting on Florida’s minimum wage increase to $10 per hour, it’s being reported that Florida’s minimum wage workers will get a raise. Correct me if I’m wrong, but with Florida’s minimum wage being $8.65 per hour, I’d suspect there are more non-minimum wage workers which will be impacted than those on minimum wage. I'd also suspect that’d be the case every year as Florida’s minimum continues to increase on its way to $15 per hour. 

Bottom Line: Your inferences are absolutely correct. There will be more than double the number of people who aren’t currently earning minimum wage which will be impacted as compared to those who earn minimum wage. That’s because very few people in the workforce earn minimum wage and the primary reason increases are pushed is due to raise the salaries of union workers who commonly have kickers in their contracts which are tied to the minimum wage – meaning they’re promised to earn a certain amount above whatever the minimum wage is. The minimum wage arguments have long been union-backed marketing ploys, as opposed to meaningful efforts to help those seemingly being taken advantage of by greedy companies. That’s because of two key considerations. Few earn minimum wage and those who do are overwhelmingly young entry level part-time workers. The effort which backed last year’s Constitutional Amendment to phase in a $15 minimum wage in Florida was no different.

It was Democrat mega-donor John Morgan who funded the successful effort. Florida’s minimum wage at $8.65 is already 19% higher than the federal minimum wage and is annually indexed to inflation – naturally increasing to keep up with cost of living. As for who actually earns minimum wage in Florida... 1.9% of Florida’s workforce. There are an approximate 200,000 of Florida’s 10.4 million employees who earn minimum wage inclusive of tipped employees. Excluding tipped employees, that figure stands at 0.6% as the tight labor market has presented enormous opportunity and rising wages for employees at all skill levels. As for who the Floridians earning minimum wage... 99% are under the age of 25 and are near exclusively part-time workers. The facts paint a much different picture than the John Morgan’s of the world with their “living wage” arguments. So how many non-minimum wage workers will be impacted with this week’s increase to $10 in Florida? 

According to the Florida Policy Institute approximately 646,000 Floridians in the workforce will be impacted by the rising minimum wage on Thursday. That means 446,000, or 223% more non-minimum wage employees will receive increases, than those who earn minimum wage. This further illustrates the points I cited about what and who this is really about at the onset. What’s most unfortunate in this regard, is who’s most negatively impacted by these efforts to covertly use the narrative of helping minimum wage workers. Minimum wage and would-be entry level workers. That might sound odd, after all minimum wage workers would in theory benefit the most. That’s simply not the case when you see wages artificially raised based not on market forces but through government mandates. Minimum wage and entry level workers are by definition unskilled. 

There’s only so much companies which employ entry level workers can afford to pay without there being an offset. That commonly comes in a one-two punch of higher prices of goods – especially concerning in our already high inflation environment - and fewer employees. Those who are disproportionately impacted are those seeking to gain access to the workforce. Minimum wage jobs are not designed to be careers, they’re opportunities to earn some money while gaining skills to become more employable in higher paying positions. Efforts such as the “fight for fifteen”, which Florida’s minimum wage amendment essentially was, are union marketing scams which take advantage of a largely uniformed public and actually hurt those they proclaim to be helping along with creating higher barriers to entry in the workforce. At worst, artificially high minimum wages aid in a rise in crime as those who struggle to gain access to the workforce are more likely to turn to crime. This is especially true in minority majority communities. The average hourly wage in Florida is $28.18. That’s not due to government mandates, that’s due market forces. We’d be far better served if, as a society, we emphasized ease of access to employment with a goal on aiding people gain skills to earn $28 per hour, as opposed to putting emphasis on raising the barrier of entry to the workforce generally. 


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