Recently I read a piece in the Gazette about how, supposedly, minimum wage hurts teen employment. The writer advocated for lowering or eliminating the minimum wage.
Nearly 90 percent of workers receiving minimum wage are 20 years old or older, according to the Economic Policy Institute. One only has to visit a few retail establishments to realize that some of these folks are senior citizens, too.
In fact, Montana ranks fourth in the nation for the number of people holding down two or more jobs to make ends meet.
Higher teen unemployment is not the result of minimum wage, but a symptom of the current economy. More people are settling for the minimum wage jobs that used to be done by teens in the absence of better paying jobs. This group includes single moms, college students and senior citizens. Lowering minimum wage will not put food on the table for working moms, supplement pensions for seniors or re-pay student loans.
Dennis Rehberg has continually voted against federal minimum wage increases. That is one more reason I am voting for Jon Tester for the U.S. Senate. Steve Bullock led the campaign to increase Montana’s minimum wage in 2006. He has earned my vote too.