Sen. Michael Baumgartner has a bill to lower the minimum wage for teens. Because of course he does.
To combat Washington’s high teen unemployment rate and generate more opportunities for teen employment, Sen. Michael Baumgartner has proposed Senate Bill 6471. Baumgartner’s “Teen Summer Jobs Act” will provide employers the latitude to pay seasonal teen workers the federal minimum wage of $7.25 from June to the end of August.
Is there any evidence that our teen unemployment rate is particularly high? I couldn’t find recent stats. He’ll mention them later on in the press release, but not have any link or much context. I mean, our unemployment rate is about the middle of the pack, and probably worse the further East you go. It also wouldn’t surprise me if the teen unemployment rate is higher. But is it higher than in states that have lower minimum wages? In any event this press release certainly doesn’t provide any evidence to support this claim.
“Right now, too many teens are losing the chance to develop a strong work ethic because they can’t find summer jobs,” Baumgartner said. “We need a change that can give today’s teens the same chance at the American dream that I had.”
There was a minimum wage in the early 1990’s when Baumgartner was a teen. It was less than it is now — that’s why we had that initiative to raise it — but as far as I can tell it was the same for teen and adults. So, when he was a teen he had the same opportunity as when it’s now, more or less at least regarding the minimum wage.
Baumgartner, who represents the 6th Legislative District, notes that teen employment has been dropping in recent years, creating what can be described as an “experience gap.” The Department of Employment Security has published data expressing if someone is unable to find a job during their teen years they are much less likely to find satisfying work later in life. Baumgartner says while it may seem counterintuitive, requiring employers to pay a lower wage to workers until their 20th birthday will actually entice employers to hire more teens and summer help.
Don’t worry, he doesn’t link to the DOE findings.
Also, now is as good a time as any to mention that Spokane County went 79224 to 48180 in favor of Washington’s minimum wage initiative. I don’t know how his district went, but I’d guess it was pro the minimum wage. Of course, a lot can happen in over a decade, but I doubt slowly dismantling the minimum wage is the reason his constituents voted for him.
Also, too, holy shit, his bill applies to 18 and 19 year-olds? Good thing nobody ever had to raise a family at 18 or 19. God.
“Statistics for 2013 were just released, showing Washington’s teen unemployment rate at thirty percent,” said Baumgartner, who serves as vice chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “If we don’t make a move to provide more of these kids with job opportunities, we’ll really be doing them a disservice later in life when the time comes to begin their careers and become fully-functioning members of society.”
Again, I still don’t know what that means. I don’t know if it includes every child who is looking for work, or if it includes teens who aren’t looking for work. We still don’t know how it compares to the national average, or if his policy would take jobs away from people being paid higher wages, and give them to lower wage children.
I don’t know if he just made it up.
Anyway, there’s a bit more press release, but I’m done. And look I did a metacommentary piece without any swearing; I must be losing my touch.