Hiking the Federal Minimum Wage…is a BAD Idea: A “Hot Topic” Issue Among All Americans Today

This is by far one of my favorite “hot topic” issues occurring in the United States right now: hiking the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.00.  Let’s not waste time and start from the beginning.

What is the Federal Minimum Wage?

The federal minimum wage is contained under the Fair Labor Standards Act (or the FLSA for those of you who like acronyms). If you would like to read more on how the FLSA was created, here is the link to the Department of Labor’s website explaining it’s creation – http://www.dol.gov/dol/aboutdol/history/flsa1938.htm. If not, continue reading. The FLSA is subsidized by the Fair Minimum Wage Act (sorry, no need for acronym here) which phases in an increase to the standard federal minimum wage set in the FLSA.  The Fair Minimum Wage Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush, was created as an addition (or a “rider”) onto the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, & Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act of 2007.  This act implemented three increases in specific years through the year of 2009. Here is a chart taken from the Department of Labor as to how the increase has gone in the past few years:

Prior to 7/24/2007: $5.15

7/24/2007 to 7/23/2008: $5.85

7/24/2008 to 7/23/2009: $6.55

7/24/2009 to Present Day: $7.25

There are numerous exceptions to this law, including state minimum wage laws that superseded the hourly wage above if higher than the federal minimum wage. Those exceptions, however, are not of importance in this blog post.  It is important to remember that each year the federal minimum wage increased by $.70 each year in between 2007 to 2009.  If this increase were to continue up until today’s time, the federal minimum wage would currently be $10.05 (7/24/2013 to 7/24/2014).

Political Campaign Leverage – Is it the Elephant in the Room?

All math set aside, raising the federal minimum wage has been a large part of both the Democrat and Republican future political campaigns. Democrats are pushing for a larger wage in order to make amends for the backfire that happened with Obamacare (don’t worry, I will cover that one day when I can figure out what the hell these idiots passed; Nancy Pelosi still has no clue).  Republicans are skeptical of raising the minimum wage because it has a cause-and-effect reaction by the businesses to either (a) fire a number of employees to make up for that amount expended, or (b) raise the prices of products and charge the consumer with the increase in the federal minimum wage standards.  Either way, this is not going to be a pretty political campaign for either side.  The Democrats will probably never get past the healthcare issues to move onto this topic and, even if they did, their reasoning behind increasing wages is useless. The Republicans will look like jackasses trying to defend why the federal minimum wage shouldn’t be increased for the other 99%. So, who’s right? If you do your own research and educate yourself, you will come to a conclusion. Your conclusion might differ from mine, which I will set out below. If so, I would love to hear your take on the federal minimum wage and why it SHOULD be increased.  However, here is why I believe it should not be increased for now.

Why the US Government Should NOT Increase the Federal Minimum Wage

(1) The retail and fast food industry were not meant to provide longstanding jobs for the American people. These jobs are not meant to be careers. These jobs are for 16-year-olds wanting to support their movie and shopping habits. These jobs are not for 25-year-olds with 4 kids, a mortgage, and an SUV. This is just not the job for you. There are other options out there to support these expenses. You did not choose to do so and the government should not have to pick up your slack. Hurtful as it may be, someone had to say it. Additionally, the government’s increase of the federal minimum wage is keeping the man down.  The government is saying “You will never do better, you can never dream bigger.” You will always be what you never truly wanted to be. Congratulations.

(2) There are other more deserving industries that should be eligible for a pay raise. By raising the federal minimum wage, the government is essentially taking away the minimal, yet larger, amount of money that other industry’s employees are making.  Some industries, such as paralegals, nurses, etc., that have to provide certification to work will be making less than the everyday retail and fast food worker. Let me repeat: the certified workers that provide vital healthcare and legal document work will be making LESS money than those that flip burgers and stock shelves. If that doesn’t peak your interest and change your mind I don’t know what will.

(3) Increasing the federal minimum wage will decrease the amount of help those get from necessary government benefits.  You might think that this sounds great. Keep reading.  Government assistance for housing, food and healthcare would be reduced overall if the federal minimum wage increased, and would result in a significant benefit taxpayers and states’ budgets.  I love this statement and it sounds wonderful for the Democratic party’s campaign – look for it in 2014. I don’t particularly like that the people are using these benefits and a significant tax break sounds wonderful. However, I would rather these workers use the government benefits now rather than accompanied with unemployment benefits.  Big businesses have already cited that an increase of almost double the federal minimum wage (or even anything over $10.00/hour) would result in decreasing jobs across the board.  Unemployment will rise and with unemployment comes a number of other necessary government benefits.  This will be an extremely large tax burden resting in the taxpayers’ pockets.

(4) Raising the federal minimum wage kills jobs. Raising the minimum wage kills jobs for the younger generation and for those that are not as skilled in a certain area. Most employers are not going to be willing to hire those from either of those categories because it will be too expensive a task to train the employee. Like you read in my first blog post (wishful thinking), I am currently an unemployed attorney. I do not have a position because I am either overqualified for certain positions because of my Masters of Law in Taxation or underqualified for other positions in my tax field because I do not have enough experience. I know the feeling of not being “skilled” in a certain area. Most firms are not willing to train someone like me let alone take me in as a new hire. Most firms want lateral attorneys that know the bulk of what they are doing. Either way, I am willing to bet more than 75% of college graduates have been through or are going through this today. It is already happening, and it will get worse if the government raises the federal minimum wage. The result will be drastic.  Taking away jobs from the younger generation and the not-so skilled workers will result in a massive caving in of what is left of the middle class.

(5) And finally, raising the federal minimum wage kills jobs. This reason is SO CRUCIAL that I stated it twice. The higher the federal minimum wage, the higher the unemployment rate. Increasing the federal minimum wage by almost double will increase the big businesses’ expenses by just as much. Increasing business expenses will result in decreasing the employees of the company.  If the government increases the federal minimum wage, the business will resort to finding ways to use less employees in order to maintain their budget. So, here is the information I believe to be true in the end:

Increase federal minimum wage –> Increase business expenses

Increase business expenses –> Decrease employees of company

Decrease employees of company –> Higher unemployment rate

What the US Government SHOULD Do instead of Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage

The US Government SHOULD focus on job creation. The job market is ugly. Work on creating jobs and prepare to be amazed at what our country’s citizens can do with a paycheck.

***Sorry for this post being a day late… I was busy celebrating my NFC North Championship win with the Green Bay Packers (Go Pack Go)! Leave me a comment if you even make it to the end of this blog post. Thanks!

First Amendment + Duck Dynasty = Gossip Column News?

A week or so ago I wrote a piece entitled “V.E.E.P. – It’s a Movement, Not a Sitcom,” where I set out a pretty easy guideline of how to evaluate and understand a piece of news or legislation in our country today. I stressed the importance of four key methods (i.e., validate, educate, extrapolate, politicate) and why you should use them in your everyday life. However, I failed to give an example of how these four methods work together and give you the correct answer you need. Thankfully I was able to experience first-hand these methods in action through a gossip column website called Crushable.com.  Crushable.com prides itself on producing “unapologetically pop culture obsessed” material that is “smart, funny and genuine, combining celebrity news, style and a wide spectrum of content that appeals to an engaged, entertainment-obsessed audience.” Additionally, this site claims to have editors that are “skeptical but never mean.”  

On Crushable.com, however, I was surprised to find a piece on politics and the Constitution within the four corners of this website. A site that prides itself on celebrity news and gossip should focus on just that and not dwell on other aspects that the website’s editors know nothing about.  Either way, I was interested in what the young woman, an editor at Crushable.com, had to say.  The piece, entitled “Here’s Your Constitutionally-Mandated Update on the Duck Dynasty Controversy,” seemed to be argumentative from the start.  This editor, who shall remain nameless until you find the link to the gossip column’s editorial piece on this blog, was in no way a peach in dealing with this controversy.  I would label this editor more “liberal” than “skeptical.” In any sense, this girl knew nothing about the Constitution, the politics surrounding the controversy with Duck Dynasty, or the information about what had actually happened within the controversy itself. So, I thought I would take what I know about my last article’s methods – V.E.E.P. – and have some fun with the editor.

Please read the following before continuing this blog entry, as it will help you to understand my arguments better: http://www.crushable.com/2013/12/20/entertainment/duck-dynasty-homophobia-official-statement-response-freedom-of-speech-second-amendment/  Finished? Okay, let’s begin. During my first of many reviews of this article, I realized she had made many mistakes that are common to those that are not familiar with the law. I labeled them out clearly for you below.

1. First (not Second) Amendment

The first, and most obvious, mistake is that she replaced the First Amendment language with the Second Amendment heading. You only missed this in the article because this was NOT her first draft – this is actually her second draft thanks to me. Here is the reading of the text that you did not see, before I informed the editor of her mistake: “Turns out that according to some of our commenters, even writing about this controversy is violating the Second [underlined emphasis added] Amendment, aka Freedom of Speech.” A simple validation of the difference between the First and Second Amendments would have helped this editor to understand the Second Amendment was incorrect.  Even her prior high school education could have told her that this was the incorrect Amendment. The editor quickly apologized after I pointed out this mental mistake to her, even though the website is supposedly “unapologetic” to its readers. If anything, this editor should apologize to the readers that are taking this garbage seriously.

2. First Amendment Language & Actual Meaning

The second error in the above statement is that the First Amendment is about “Freedom of Speech.” The editor believes that the First Amendment was “initially designed to protect members of the press and individuals from persecution for sharing their opinions.” Persecution? Are we being burned at the stake like witches? No. The First Amendment has nothing to do with persecution and everything to do with legislation passed by Congress.  The First Amendment does not guard against all free speech. I repeat, the First Amendment does not guard against all free speech. Now that this is clear, the First Amendment does guard against Congressional legislation that abridges free speech (subject to certain limitations, like yelling “fire” in a crowded theater).  The First Amendment has nothing to do with persecution or lack thereof when it comes to freedom of speech. So, in the case of Phil from Duck Dynasty and the A&E network, A&E had a right to tear up Phil’s contract and pull Phil from the television show. But, Phil still has a right to speak his mind – this is after all a “free country.” Just as he is entitled to his religious-based opinion on homosexuality, the American people are entitled to not purchase A&E products or to not watch the A&E network.

3. The 2010 Video of Phil’s Remarks on Homosexuality

The third error the editor makes in this argument is providing the video of Phil preaching against homosexuality in a sermon. Duh. Of course he is going to do this. This is a religious-based belief that Phil and I am sure the rest of the congregation in that room on that day held. However, this is not merely the mistake in her argument. The main mistake is that she doesn’t put any blame on A&E’s involvement in the controversy.  All of the blame goes on Phil, and the blame is still being placed on him today by this editor.  The editor throws the video out there just to spark hate and anger toward Phil, but doesn’t exactly explain why this video matters.  I will tell you why it matters – it matters because this gives cause that A&E knew about Phil’s beliefs prior to putting Duck Dynasty on the air. Though the editor does not want to “buy into the argument” that I provide regarding A&E, I buy into it and this is my blog. So, here it goes. The A&E network and its executives knew Phil Robertson and the Robertson clan’s view on religion and The Bible. I am suggesting that A&E was not being honest with its viewers (along with others not watching the show) by terminating Phil’s contract at this point.  The network knew his views were no different from 2010 to now. It just seems odd that A&E would cave to the public turmoil now that Phil’s views are on paper, even though Phil’s views have been on video even before the airing of Duck Dynasty’s first episode.  Additionally, someone from the A&E network had to sign off on Phil’s involvement in GQ magazine. This person should be fired from his or her position – not Phil.

4. Fox News Target

The final error I want to discuss in the editor’s article is the targeted anger toward the Fox News network. By this point in her argument I am now fully aware that she is a liberal trying to spread her liberal agenda to the mass market. However, I am not buying it. Apparently this editor believes that Fox News “tells people how to act and what to say on their program, frequently even giving viewers the tools to register their own disapproval, like contact information and complaint lines to oppose the supposed War on Christmas.”  This poor girl is either clueless or brainwashed by the liberal mass media. She cannot see that EVERY news network (i.e., CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News included) pushes their political agenda on its viewers.  That is the reason why Republicans watch Fox News and Democrats watch CNN. Like I pointed out in my last argument, no one should fully take everything a media piece has to say with any merit – or at least without educating yourself and doing your own research. If someone would have done that with this editor’s piece (before edited), we would all think that the Second Amendment is about freedom of speech. This editor needs to start thinking for herself and not what CNN tells her to think.

 

I will leave you with this last line, which is actually my favorite line, from the editor’s piece:

“Look at me, I’m used to it! I know that when I write a post, people aren’t legally entitled to firebomb my house, but they are entitled to leave nasty comments completely misunderstanding the law.”

Though we are not legally entitled to firebomb your house, Ms. Editor, you have firebombed our minds into the next oblivion. Your lack of validation, education, extrapolation, and politication has definitely blown my mind. I only misunderstand the law because you have taught me to do so. Congratulations – YOU are making your readers stupid. Next time, stick to the gossip and leave the politics to the political bloggers, like myself. Now, go take a government class and firebomb your mind with knowledge.

 

 

To all of my readers, I will be writing every SUNDAY from now on about any hot topic issue that is in the news that week. Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from some of you soon.

 

 

V.E.E.P. – It’s a movement, not a sitcom.

No, this isn’t related to the political comedy of the same title with Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  If you have never heard of this sitcom, don’t look it up.  It really isn’t that good. This acronym is meant to be more motivational – a lifestyle that every Millennial should follow.  As I sit writing this blog I am an unemployed attorney living with my parents because I am unable to find an attorney position in this current economy.  You read that right – I blame the economy.  I also blame our current administration for letting our economy fall to pieces.  I can say this because I have done my research.  I developed the acronym ‘V.E.E.P.’ as a guideline to making an educated decision on whether you agree with the current political, legislative, or judicial rulings being made in our country. In order to understand V.E.E.P., looking to the following verbs to guide your way:

Validate. Educate. Extrapolate. Politicate.

I know what you’re thinking: “‘Politicate’ is not a word, Nikki. That is absurd. I am clicking the ‘x’ button on the top of the screen. This is obviously a joke.” You would be wrong to say that.  You would be wrong to click out of this blog. Keep reading – I explain myself quite thoroughly.  Let’s take these verbs one at a time.

Validate: “to check or prove the accuracy of something”

This is by far the most important step in your process of researching political, legislative, and judicial rulings.  Let me repeat: this is by far the most important step in your process of researching political, legislative, and judicial rulings.  Okay, now that I have made myself clear, it is important to start by validating the sources you decide to use in making your educated decision on whether to support or not support a certain issue our country is facing today.  Here is a rundown of what is valid, what is not valid, and what can be valid if you make it valid:

Valid:

  1. Westlaw or LexisNexis websites: most non-attorneys do not have access to these, though.
  2. Non-fiction political library books: yes, I said books – you have to learn to like to read.

Not Valid:

  1. Wikipedia: Some people do not understand that this website is run by every single person in the United States.  I consider Wikipedia as follows: Wikipedia is to the United States community as the Green Bay Packer’s organization is to the Green Bay, WI, community.  Some football fan somewhere out there understands me.
  2. Your friend’s social media status: Just don’t.
  3. The Onion: Oh please.

Valid if You Make it Valid:

  1. News Media Sources: I know you may think that all news media sources are correct… they aren’t.  They are only valid if you yourself do your research on the piece of news, too.  They only make sense if you yourself do your research on the piece of news, too. FoxNews & CNN are NOT valid sources unless you do additional research. I don’t care if you live by the words on these news channels – it is always better to do your own research and make your own educated decisions. You will be a better Republican or a better Democrat if you do so.

Once you have validated your sources, move to the next letter in the acronym.

Educate: “to stimulate or develop the mental or moral growth of”

There are many definitions of “educate” that I could have pulled off of the internet. This was my favorite. The next step after validating your sources is educating yourself on the material you find within those sources. I’m not saying you have to rely on every single article pertaining to the subject you are inquiring about – that is not even possible. Take these articles and learn as much of the information as you can about the subject you are researching. Take notes, write in the margins, get excited about the subject.  Okay, the last part is going a bit too far. However, by the end of this acronym you will get excited about a piece of the political, judicial or legislative pie because you researched it to the best of your ability.  After you have educated yourself with this information, move onto the next letter in the acronym.

Extrapolate: “to form an opinion or to make an estimate about something from known facts”

After all of the reading, you must extrapolate upon such information.  Form an opinion.  Make estimations on where you believe that legislation/policy/judicial decision to be going in the near future.  This provides for your best educated opinion on a political matter – something that you yourself has come up with and no one else has interfered with your judgment.  You have an opinion now.  Congratulations.  After you extrapolate, move onto the next letter in the acronym.

Politicate: “to answer questions in ways that politicians and political leaders do”

Now, I am not saying that politicians or political leaders are the BEST people to look up to when spreading (or politicating) your validated, educated and extrapolated knowledge.  In fact, I quite enjoy Urban Dictionary’s definition of politicate: “to answer a question in an evasive, roundabout way – the way that politicians do.”  Politicians do not always answer questions.  More precisely, politicians are spreading their (hopefully) validated, educated, and extrapolated knowledge of the law by way of creating bills and signing legislation to become law. Think of yourself as a mini-politician.  You may not ever want to become a politician or even think that you could do so.  However, you do have a voice and you should be heard.  At this point, if you have followed my acronym completely, you have a validated, educated and extrapolated voice – no matter your overall opinion.  Whether Republican or Democrat, you have a voice all your own and you are ready to use it.

Remember: Validate. Educate. Extrapolate. Politicate.

I welcome you to the world of politics. I welcome your voice and I cannot wait to hear it agree or disagree with my beliefs and opinions on this blog.  Thanks for reading and I hope to hear more from you all in the very near future.

– Nikki, beingpoliticatelycorrect [find me on twitter: @nikkimccain]