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Economy and Business

Rep. Tim Ryan, other Democrats, push for minimum wage boost
Ryan maintains the boost would pay off for business as well as individuals

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Niles Democrat Tim Ryan pushes for the $10.10 federal minimum wage.
Courtesy of FILE PHOTO
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In The Region:

Democrats – including Northeast Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan – are ramping up the push for a federal minimum wage of $10.10 an hour. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the follow-up to President Obama’s State of the Union.

LISTEN: Minimum wage debate

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Tim Ryan, a Democrat whose district stretches from Youngstown to Akron, was joined by Debbie Wasserman Schultz  – head of the Democratic National Committee – and by Nicki Strong, an Akron grocery worker making $8 an hour. The message from all three was consistent: A boost in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour would be good for people and good for the national economy.

And Ryan and the others all rejected the idea that the boost is something business and the fragile economy cannot afford.

“Do we cut taxes for the very wealthiest and hope that some crumbs trickle down to Nicki in Akron or someone in Youngstown? Or do we have a demand-side economic policy where we invest into our workers, we raise the minimum wage and we grow demand and the economy. Those workers who could be making $10 an hour instead of $8 an hour will have money in their pocket to go out to these other businesses and spend.”

The proposal Ryan is backing would raise the minimum wage immediately to $10.10, then link it to a cost of living increase thereafter. That’s what happens with Ohio’s minimum wage, which is now $7.95 an hour. 

Listener Comments:

I believe that a raise in the minimum wage to this extent will have a devastating impact on small businesses. A 25% plus increase in wages to a small firm will significantly decrease profitability and more than likely force many firms to close their doors. Those that remain open will be forced to pass the increased costs onto consumers, thus driving costs up for everyone, including those who will benefit from a higher minimum wage. Small businesses will find it increasingly difficult to compete with larger firms due to higher labor costs as well as the higher prices it will need to charge its customers to make up for them. Once again, large firms will be the benefactor of this legislation in the long run as much of its independent competition will cease to exist. Our lawmakers need to stop assuming that business owners make an inordinate amount of money at the expense of their employees. Higher minimum wages, not to mention health insurance mandates, will make it difficult, if not impossible to start and operate a small business in this country. Entrepreneurship, motivation, hard work and risk taking has made this country the envy of the free world; let's not destroy this great foundation with "feel good" legislation.

Posted by: DJ (Akron, OH) on February 4, 2014 10:02AM
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