Let them eat cupcakes

From the annals of Grinding the Poor:

At a time when many states and cities are working passing minimum wage increases, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) has gone in the opposite direction and signed a law banning cities from passing higher wages. The bill also bans them from enacting paid sick days or vacation requirements.

That’s…pretty extraordinary. No paid sick days for you, peasants! Pass the brioche.

The law will stymie the efforts of activists in Oklahoma City, where a labor federation has led the push on a petition to raise the city’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The state’s current minimum has been set at the federal level of $7.25. In 2012, 64,000 workers in the state earned $7.25 an hour or less, making up 7.2 percent of all hourly workers, a larger share than the 4.7 percent figure for the country as a whole.

Fallin said she signed the bill out of the worry that higher local minimum wages “would drive businesses to other communities and states, and would raise prices for consumers.” She also argued that “most minimum wage workers are young, single people working part-time or entry level jobs” and that “many are high school or college students living with their parents in middle-class families.” She warned that increasing the minimum wage “would require businesses to fire many of those part-time workers” and harm job creation.

That is such bullshit. No, most minimum wage workers are not young, single people working part-time jobs.

But that’s not what the typical American minimum wage worker looks like. Nearly 90 percent of workers who would be [affected] by an increase in the wage are older than 20, while the average age is 35. More than a quarter have children to support. More than half work full time, and 44 percent have at least some college education, while half a million minimum wage workers are college graduates.

Mary Fallon should read Barbara Ehrenreich’s classic Nickle and Dimed. At once.



  1. Your Name's not Bruce? says

    And none of those minimum wage workers are actually also consumers who have to earn money to spend it. Nice to see her spreading convenient, comforting misinformation to assuage the guilt of those other, better off, non-minimum wage consumers she is oh so concerned for.

    “Don’t concern yourself with these non-people who don’t really need this money because they’re young, living at home and only entry level. These people don’t matter as much as the truly important people who aren’t them. The businesses who would have to reduce their profit margins or cut back on CEO perks by some small percentage are much more in need of money than these nobodies working for them at minimum wage. These minimum wage unpersons are not likely to ever vote for me in any case, so fuck ’em.”

  2. iknklast says

    A few years ago, when I was living in Oklahoma and Fallin was Lieutenant Governor, everyone thought her career was over when it was revealed she had cheated on her husband. Why would we care about that? I’m more concerned that she is cheating the people of her state (and I used to be one of those minimum wage workers, when I was 37 years old, a single mother raising a teenage son, and working three jobs while working on my master’s degree. I had no benefits)

  3. says

    Let’s see…what would make shit wages and no benefits tolerable and guilt-free? Hmmmm…I know – if the only people who ever took such jobs were prosperous suburban high school kids who wanted to buy a car. Therefore – those are the only people who take such jobs! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh…I feel so comfortable now.

  4. Your Name's not Bruce? says

    @ Ophelia #3

    Gads! that was a truly frightening channeling of Republican logic!

    You must now Shake a Paw, Roll Over and Play Dead in order for Brenda The Transcendent Poodle to cleanse your Eternal Canine Soul of this transgression.

    Dog Bless you and keep your Water Dish full. May all your Walkies be in Sunshine.

  5. freemage says

    And I bet she’s a firm supporter of ‘state’s rights’, too, without seeing any contradiction. If the notion is that smaller government units are better able to respond to the desires of their constituents, and thus ‘better’ government, then just as conservatives want the feds to pass power to the states, she should want the state to pass power to the municipalities and county governments. But no, somehow, I bet she thinks ‘state’ is the magical level at which government achieves maximum effectiveness.

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