Northeastern Ohio leftists Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) and Rep. Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown) have introduced legislation to increase the state minimum wage to $10.10, which they say will help poor Ohioans and punish unfair employers.
House Bill 502 (HB 502), submitted in late March, would increase Ohio’s hourly minimum wage from its current rate of $7.95 to the $10.10 demanded by “progressive” groups across the country.
If HB 502 were enacted into law, automatic minimum wage increases tied to inflation and added to the Ohio Constitution in 2006 would also remain in place.
In with an interview with Media Trackers, Foley asserted — making expert use of the Broken Window Fallacy — that HB 502 would improve Ohio’s economy.
“Poor people who live on minimum wage spend all their money. They have very little savings,” Rep. Foley said. “When money gets into their hands, they regenerate it back into the economy.”
“By increasing the poorest workers’ jobs in the economy… increasing their wages… that money will get recirculated back into the economy from a ground-up standpoint,” he continued.
Rep. Foley explained that his bill would have the added benefit of straightening out Walmart and other companies that employ large numbers of low-skill Ohioans.
“I don’t trust Walmart. We subsidize all Walmart workers and Target workers to a huge degree now,” Foley said. “I think it’s bullshit, and I’m sick of that.”
According to Walmart’s corporate headquarters, the company employs almost 50,000 Ohioans and pays the average full-time Ohio employee $12.82 an hour.
Rep. Foley acknowledged that he wasn’t sure “what that price point is” when minimum wage hikes could begin have a negative effect.
“By increasing the minimum wage, it will somehow have an effect on those who are seeking employment, because… why?” Foley asked, laughing. “An employer either needs people or they don’t need people, right?”
In 2009, researchers from the University of Delaware found evidence that minimum wage hikes hurt the very workers they are supposed to help, reducing employment among those lacking higher education or specialized job skills.
“I’m sick of the selfishness from the very top of the economic ladder, that is constantly saying ‘give us more money, we will create jobs,’” Rep. Foley continued. “They’re not doing it, right? They’re just not.”
Rep. Foley said that with a minimum wage increase to $10.10, poor Ohioans would “be able to buy an extra Lotto ticket,” which is “what this is about.”
HB 502 has been assigned to the Ohio House Commerce, Labor, and Technology Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Ron Young (R-Leroy Twp.).