Mayoral candidate Bill Freeman has proposed a $12 minimum wage for Nashville, the effect of which would be to keep poor people poor and decrease opportunity for entry level jobs.
Freeman has proposed rising the minimum wage from $7.25, which is the current federal minimum, to $12 an hour. Thankfully, it is unlikely that out Republican controlled state legislature would permit Nashville to establish it's own minimum wage.
The effect of a minimum wage increase to $12 an hour would be that many jobs that now pay lower than that minimum would simply disappear, the way service station attendant jobs and bag boy jobs, which included loading your groceries in your car, disappeared long ago. The number of people employed in the fast food industry would shrink as automated ordering and paying would increase. Many employees would see their hours cut. Another effect would be that a lot of things we purchase would increase in price.
Unfortunately, many people are not worth $12 an hour but finding a minimum wage job gives them an opportunity to learn work skills and develop work habits which opens the door for better paying jobs later. Increasing the minimum wage is cutting off the lower rungs of the latter of opportunity for the poor.
Freeman is the first mayoral candidate to openly campaign for an increase in the minimum wage but Megan Barry has spoken favorably of a local minimum wage and has said $11.04 an hour would constitute a "living wage." I think the other candidates should out bid Freeman. Megan Barry should say she wants people to have more than just a "living wage," that working people deserve some luxuries and entertainment and other pleasures of life also and that she thinks a $15.50 minimum wage is about right. Then Kane or Rebrovick or Gentry should say, no, that is still niggardly, it is unfair that their are any poor people. Make it $17 an hours, or $18 an hour, or $20 an hour.
I know! The area median income for a single person in Nashville is $44,800. Divide that by 52 weeks and divide that by 40 hours and that comes to $21.54 an hour. Make the minimum wage $21.54 and hour and Bingo!, we have ended poverty and all people make at least the median income!
To read the Tennessean report on Freeman's proposal follow this link.