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Myth of Minimum Wage as Job Killer Persists

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Special to The Informer from New America Media | 1/15/2014, 3 p.m.
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The other reason for formidable resistance to a minimum wage boost is the perception of who the boost will help. They are the poor. When the minimum wage is fixated as a sop to the poor, even the working poor, the issue gets muddled, and becomes a political flash point issue. With few exceptions, in years past, talk of poverty was not just missing from the nation’s political plate, but was a dirty word. The existence of millions of poor in America flew in the face of the embedded laissez faire notion that the poor aren't poor because of the hyper concentration of wealth, or worse, any failing of the system, but because of their personal failings. Surveys bore this out. Even many among the poor were as apt as many of those in the middle-class, and the well-to-do, to self-debase themselves for their poverty. They blame it on their misfortune, bad luck, lack of education and skills, or alcohol, and drug problems. These are certainly reasons why some fall into poverty or remain chronically poor. They, however, are at best peripheral to the real cause of the poverty rise, and that's the control by a relatively handful of the bulk of the nation's income, resources and productive wealth.

A minimum wage increase would in very limited part redress the grotesque income inequality between rich and poor. And it’s that fear of big and small business and the rich that GOP is the designated mouthpiece for that insures it will dig its heels in and continue to wage a furious fight against Obama’s call for a minimum wage increase. That means continuing to peddle hard the myth that it’s a job killer.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a frequent MSNBC contributor. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KTYM 1460 AM Radio Los Angeles and KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network. Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter @earlhutchinson.