Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation

Want to help poor workers?

Ted Balaker
August 7, 2006, 12:11pm

Stop blocking Wal-Mart. An effort to boost the minimum wage faded in Congress, but the earth's most evil entity moved ahead with its own pay hike: That's what happens when you have to compete for labor: WM spokesman John Simley says the changes help in two ways: WM's current average full-time hourly wage is $10.11, well above the federal minimum wage of $5.15 and higher than any of the states' minimum wages. Yes by comparing average wages to minimum wages, we're not making a direct apples-to-apples comparison. But let's also remember that, no matter the impression that Oprah gives, after a year on the job, the vast majority of minimum wage earners have gained enough skills and experience to command more than the minimum wage. It's a process that posturing politicians breeze over, but many low-skilled workers understand it. Melvin Brown applied for work at a Wal-Mart in Oakland. He says: "You start low and aim high. First you gotta get your foot in the door." BTW, some explanation for why figures for WM's starting wages are harder to come by: Article here. Related: Thomas Sowell sees a glimmer of hope.

Ted Balaker is Producer

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