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Florida Today Opinion Writer Shows Problem With Minimum Wage Increase – Although She Doesn’t Realize It.

Isadora Rangel has an opinion piece in the Florida Today concerning pay for teachers and the plan by Governor DeSantis to increase starting teacher pay to $47,500.

It takes a Brevard County public school teacher 16 years to make roughly $47,500 a year. That’s also the starting salary Gov. Ron DeSantis wants for teachers statewide, regardless of experience.

On the surface, the idea of helping teachers skip those 16 years sounds enticing. It’s also a great slogan for DeSantis because, if passed by the Legislature, his plan would make Florida the No. 2 state in the nation for starting teacher pay.

What DeSantis is trying to do is unprecedented. After eight years of embarrassing education funding under former Gov. Rick Scott, it’s refreshing to see a conservative governor who gets the correlation between teacher pay and a good education system.

The funding for teachers has been so “embarrassing” that Florida ranks fourth in student proficiency in the country.

The direct correlation between teacher pay and student performance is tenuous at best, and an unproven myth at worst.

What is true is that higher teacher pay results in higher retention of teachers. The longer an effective teacher stays in the system, the better off students are. Higher pay does not mean better results. Retention of effective teachers does.

This makes sense as anyone working anywhere knows that a employee with experience is going to be more proficient is better than a “newbie.”

While we are for higher teacher pay in order to retain the best teachers in Florida, we are not supportive of higher pay for the sake of higher pay.

Yet we digress.

Rangel goes on to say:

But as full of good intentions as the plan is— and as politically appealing for DeSantis — it also creates a new problem.

Raising the starting teacher pay to $47,500 would do nothing for veteran teachers already earning that, or just above. That means about half of Brevard teachers would not see a pay hike, according to Brevard Federation of Teachers President Anthony Colucci.

That also means that, under DeSantis’ proposal, teachers fresh out of college would earn about the same as teachers who have been serving Brevard Public Schools for 16 years. New BPS hires must have at least 21 years of experience to earn a salary close to $47,500.

Imagine how demoralizing it would be for veteran teachers to make about the same as rookies. (emphasis ours)

That is one of the main arguments of raising the mandatory minimum wage.

Employees that have been in a job for years would suddenly find some kid off the street making the same salary. People with experience and skills would be paid the same as those with no experience and skills.

Of course people will say “raise the salary for everyone!”

It’s as if they think governments and businesses have a money tree hidden somewhere.

In the case of the government, the money is going to come from higher taxes.

If we are talking about teachers, we can’t say that we are against paying to retain the best even if that means higher taxes. Yet in the battle between employees and employers, or in this case, education / teachers unions and the school administration, no one wants to give more money in salaries to ineffective, incompetent, lousy teachers. No one that is, except for teacher unions who will fight to retain a teacher’s job even if that teacher is unsuited for the job and cannot teach or motivate students. We believe that the unions should work with administrations to get rid of ineffective teachers allowing better and higher pay for effective teachers.

Still, the point is that the money for this has to come from somewhere and that somewhere is your pocket.

The same is true for increasing the minimum wage for businesses. Businesses will be forced to either raise prices, decrease employees, decrease hours worked by employees, or simply close. For the smaller businesses who work on smaller profit margins, this is especially true.

Real world experience is starting to prove this:

Just as predicted, the $15 minimum wage is killing vulnerable city small businesses, with the low-margin restaurant industry one of the hardest-hit as it also faces a separate mandatory wage hike for tipped staffers.

In Sunday’s Post, Jennifer Gould Keil reported on the death of Gabriela’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar — closing after 25 years. It struggled all year to find a way out, gradually laying off most non-tipped employees, including some chefs, only to find that quality suffered and customers fled. Owners Liz and Nat Milner finally hung it up.

Other eateries share the pain. In an August survey of its members, the NYC Hospitality Alliance found more than three-quarters have had to cut employee hours, more than a third eliminated jobs last year and half plan to cut staff this year

The effect of minimum wages has hit one of its biggest proponents: Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is quite the hypocrite. The 2016 Democratic presidential runner-up and 2020 contender has long championed increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and chided companies like Disney and McDonald’s for not paying their employees that much. Last week, news broke that Sanders’ presidential campaign is not paying staffers a salary equivalent to $15 per hour. Field organizers said they make $36,000 per year working 60 hours per week, an average of $13 per hour.

Sanders responded in a way that proves critics of the minimum wage 100 percent correct.

Using government force to increase the minimum wage creates a great deal of economic disruption, making life harder for the workers such a law is intended to help. Forcing companies to pay a higher wage leads employers to seek out less expensive automation, fire increasingly expensive workers, or cut the hours employees can work. Sanders opted for the third choice.

After Seattle raised its minimum wage, the University of Washington found that the minimum wage law reduced the number of hours worked by 9.6 percent. Thanks to shortened shifts and lost jobs, the average low-wage worker ended up taking home $125 less each month.

Similarly, Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir told Newsweek that the campaign is “limiting hours so not employee is receiving less than $15 for any hours worked.” In other words, just like any other business, the campaign is trying to cut costs in order to compensate for high wage demands.

[…]

The fact that Sanders staffers actually left the campaign over even this pay is quite revealing. Apparently, the socialist’s campaign staff don’t believe in the cause enough to accept the standard struggles of a campaign employee. Bernie Sanders was a source of hope and belief in 2016. Now he’s “the man”: a millionaire with power in the Democratic Party whose oppressed workers need to unionize in order to get “fair” wages. This may be a worse knock against his campaign than the hypocrisy of him paying less than $15 per hour.

Yet that hypocrisy is still noxious. Bernie Sanders may claim that companies can just afford to immediately pay workers $15 per hour, but his own actions prove just how hard it is to do so. Even the self-described democratic socialist cannot merely increase his wages without compensating somehow — in this case by cutting hours.

No matter what, in her zeal to support teachers Rangel, who supports the increase in minimum wage, gives one of the best reasons to be against it – the experienced, trained employee will get the same pay as those just entering the business.

Thanks Isadora!



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