What in the world is Speaker talking about?

Here is what Minnesota House of Representatives Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said this week in regard to the state possibly raising its minimum wage: “No Minnesotan should have to work a 40-hour week and continue to live in poverty.”

Is that what the issue is all about?

Because if it is, Thissen is not talking about wages, really. He is instead talking about some fantasy world that does not exist and will never exist.

“Having” to work? What is the alternative? And if people are going to work to continue their existence – without burdening their fellow man – then shouldn’t what they earn reflect the value and the quality of the job they do? Aren’t some jobs going to pay low wages, because they do not require many skills?

Is it wise to reduce the number of these jobs by hiking the state’s minimum wage to $9.50 per hour, when the federal standard is $7.25? Even if we concede the point that the minimum wage is going to go up this year, could $8 suffice? $8.25?

What Thissen and others seem to object to is people earning what they deserve. Most people earn more than the minimum wage, and their incomes rise as they gain skills and experience. The few who earn the minimum wage are just entering the world of work (teens) or work in jobs where there are added incentives, such as tips. Someone who labors and labors at a strictly minimum wage job for years and years is making a mistake somewhere along the way. He needs to find ways to supplement his income, such as working more hours, or in another field, with the possibility of advancement.

Thissen’s point seems to center around some economic inequity that he feels compelled to remedy. No such inequity exists.