Throughout my campaign for U.S. Senate, I have been talking about what my fundamental “business values” are. Points like paying a fair wage, absorbing health-care costs, building and protecting pensions, and holding employee, customer, and community needs above your own. I believe that most small businesses in America recognize these values without government intervention.
However, there are many businesses who do not. Instead, these entities operate with greed as their primary motivator, then turn around and share the wealth in campaign contributions to preserve the status quo. The minimum wage in America is a prime example of this. I have spoken at the Utah State capitol in favor of increasing the minimum wage and I will continue to fight to hold businesses responsible for fair treatment of their employees. Last Wednesday, the Senate once again rejected a minimum wage increase which has been the same since 1997.
Embarrassed over voting for yearly hikes, congress made their pay-raises automatic in 1989. Representative Jim Matheson has been a lone voice that has stood up against this increase year after year. If congress can get an automatic pay-raise for inflation, why not index the minimum wage in the same manner?
When I started hiring employees at XMission in 1995, I set the entry level pay at $7.00/hr with included benefits. I calculated this amount because as a single student, I was making about $6.15 an hour and I still needed subsidies from my father to live on my own. Today it has increased to $11.00/hr. Certainly there are new businesses that can not afford to meet a minimum wage of $7.00/hr. On the other end of the spectrum, if you compare some executive salaries against what people on the bottom are compensated for, lack of fair wages becomes unconscionable and irresponsible of the employer that is profitable. These businesses force their employees to use government sponsored benefits and as a result take taxes from responsible businesses and individuals to subsidize their own.
I will continue to fight for the American worker and will join Jim Matheson in voting down congressional pay-raises until they are properly warranted by a debt-free government, a responsible budget, and a strong American economy.