That man of the people, former Rep. Gary Marble, R-Neosho, blasted Missouri voters' decision to approve a minimum wage hike.
In a column published in today's Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian, Marble, now head of the business lobbying group, Associated Industries of Missouri:
I really don't like to say I told you so, but I did.
Congress is expected to send a bill to the president's desk that would raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 by 2009. The repercussions of this could force all of Missouri's businesses to raise their prices, and many may have to close their doors.
Last year, Missouri voters raised the state's minimum wage to $6.50 per hour from $5.15. What many voters may not have realized, though, is that they also cast a vote for the minimum wage to go up every year according to the Consumer Price Index.
I am tired of this attitude that Missourians are not smart enough to know what they are voting on and therefore need the help of public-minded (and oh so unbiased) citizens like Marble and members of our state legislature. We didn't know what we were doing when we voted down concealed weapons, so the legislature simply tossed out the voters' opinion and passed the law anyway. We wanted stem cell research, so some legislators fought to overturn that, as well. The same thing happened with the minimum wage law.
There was a fix that needed to be made with the law, but it is not the one to which Marble is referring. The legislature needed to correct the problem with how firefighters and police officers are paid, but it failed to do so, because some pro-business legislators wanted to take advantage of that problem to save businesses a few dollars.
Marble did not hesitate to draw on some Missourians' fear of illegal workers by noting that they are prime recipients of the minimum wage increase:
For those of you who might be worried about illegal immigrants being hired at below minimum wage, rest assured those workers have a watchdog in Washington.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., the new head of the U.S. House immigration subcommittee, recently said that she believes "minimum wage laws apply to people who are here legally and also apply to people who are here illegally. To the extent that the minimum wage is raised -- which I support -- it would include everybody who is working here."
So who won't get a raise? Unfortunately, the workers who will be hit the hardest are the more experienced and trained. Those men and women are the ones who will be sending their hard-earned raises down to the mandated increases for entry-level workers.
And, yes, they have the opportunity and privilege of enjoying the increased cost of living that always accompanies artificially increasing the cost of goods sold.
If everyone had worked together as requested by these lawmakers rather than pointing fingers and placing blame, we would not be standing on the precipice of having the highest minimum-wage standard in the United States.
During the 2006 election, Associated Industries of Missouri led the Save Our States' Jobs coalition in an effort to defeat the ballot initiative that would raise Missouri's minimum wage annually. We warned you what would happen if the measure was approved.
What we cautioned is about to take place.
I hate to say I told you so, but I did.
What Marble does not mention is that the same scare tactics being used by his organization in 2006 (and this year) have been used for decades every time a minimum wage increase has been suggested. And on not one occasion has the sky fallen.