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Waging The Wage War

Governor

While Congress debated the minimum wage this week, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) took Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) to task last week for not supporting federal and state efforts to raise the minimum wage. This raised a question among Ehrlich aides: Why hasn't O'Malley, who was elected in 1999, sought to raise the minimum wage in Baltimore?

Only a handful of cities around the country -- the District among them -- have taken the initiative. But Baltimore seemingly has the authority to do so under Maryland law, said Linda Sherman, a spokeswoman for the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, which enforces wage laws in Maryland.

"Once again, Martin O'Malley is pledging to do for Maryland citizens what he has failed to do for Baltimore," said Ehrlich campaign spokeswoman Shareese DeLeaver.

O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said it would hurt Baltimore's small businesses if the minimum wage were higher within the city's borders than in the rest of Maryland.

"The governor of Maryland should not be trying to pit one jurisdiction against another," Abbruzzese said. "I guess if Bob Ehrlich had his way, we'd all still be making $4.25 an hour."

Abbruzzese was referring to a vote Ehrlich cast while a member of Congress in 1996 against raising the federal minimum wage, which was $4.25 at time. In an op-ed that appeared in the Baltimore Sun that year, Ehrlich wrote that "increasing the minimum wage is a political panacea for some politicians, but it is bad economics for all Americans."

The federal standards now sits at $5.15 an hour. This year, the Maryland General Assembly overrode an Ehrlich veto to raise the state's minimum to $6.15.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  August 5, 2006; 6:36 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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Comments

In order to survive in Montgomery County a minimum wage of at least $8.oo would be necessary.

30 years ago I started work at a major grocery store at $5.oo/hr- I was able to pay for my tuition, a car, and a two bedroom apartment.

Today that same grocery store starts its employees at $6.50/hr- a dollar increase in 30 years.

Try paying tuitin. a car loan and and apartment on that kind of wage,.

The Democrats should agree to the estate tax relief and ask for a higher minimum wage.

Posted by: rfustero | August 5, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"In order to survive in Montgomery County a minimum wage of at least $8.oo would be necessary.

30 years ago I started work at a major grocery store at $5.oo/hr- I was able to pay for my tuition, a car, and a two bedroom apartment.

Today that same grocery store starts its employees at $6.50/hr- a dollar increase in 30 years.

Try paying tuitin. a car loan and and apartment on that kind of wage,.

The Democrats should agree to the estate tax relief and ask for a higher minimum wage."


Yeah, right on! How dare that evil grocery store respond to the fact that the supply has risen and the demand has fallen for grocery-labor. Who gave them permission to exit the 1970's?

Meanwhile, lets open the borders to millions upon millions of unskilled, illiterate Mexicans to flow through.

Maybe the contradiction will be so obvious that no one will notice it.

Here's an idea: Acquire skills that an employer is willing to pay more money for, and don't reside in one of the most expensive areas in the country.

Posted by: Brandon | August 5, 2006 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Minimum wage does not equal living wage and anyone who has studied the history of the min wage knows it was never intended to act as a living wage. Clustering the two as one in the same is ridiculous and the Dems are just trying to get votes. Econ200--good class for anyone to take who is wondering on this, *cough* Mayor O'Malley *cough*.

The reality is that the min wage is set to create a base bottom wage that is determined by the market. Drastic changes to a min wage do effect the top, but they effect the bottom harder.

Posted by: Bryan | August 6, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

So Mr. Abbruzzese only makes minimum wage? Gee, he must work for a really mean candidate. We'd be well advised not to vote for that O'Malley guy!

Posted by: Rufus | August 7, 2006 8:23 AM | Report abuse

It would hurt small business for O'Malley to raise the minimum wage and it's ok to throw working people under the bus in the process but when Ehrlich says the same thing somehow he is wrong.

Posted by: ok, I get it | August 7, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Fed Up | August 7, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

What the righties don't get on here about raising the minimum wage is that it will actually help businesses in the end. If people have more money they can buy more goods. Wow, that's a revolutionary thought right? But I suppose it's easier to give tax breaks to the rich...

Posted by: Mr. K | August 8, 2006 9:01 AM | Report abuse

What Mr.K and the leftists don't get is that raising wages in this manner also raises operating costs and increases prices to the customer. You get the same goods for more money.

This is called INFLATION and is harmful to the economy, particularly to the poor and people with small saving accounts.

Typical unintended consequences of well-meaning but economically ignorant thinking.

Tax breaks, however, increase economic investment which means more jobs. Haven't you noticed how our unemployment rate is so low nationally? You can thank President Bush's tax cuts for that!

Posted by: Rufus | August 8, 2006 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Yes Rufus that's why we have more people in poverty in the United States than in the past 8 years. I'm sure the newly impoverished are greatful for low paying jobs that don't make ends meet that they have.

Posted by: Mr. K | August 8, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

rfustero needs a math lesson. $6.50 - $5.00 = $1.50 not $1.00. Just where were you paying all of that tuition? You obviously got nothing for it.

Posted by: Steve | August 8, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Yes Mr.K, that's why so many of the "poor" have color television sets and own their own cars. Hey, define anyone making under $100,000 as "poor" and then see what happens to your poverty numbers.

Whose fault is it exactly if some of these folks have no marketable skills?

Posted by: Rufus | August 9, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

drospirenona

Posted by: yasmin | August 16, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

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