First it was the Great Recession, then Hurricane Sandy and recently, a raging fire that destroyed a popular boardwalk. Now, weary New Jersey residents and business owners are being warned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to beware of scammers.
And on Nov. 5, another threat is taking aim on the Garden State. This one is a scam that can cause disaster, but it can be prevented.
When the polls open on Election Day, New Jersey voters will discover a potential economic catastrophe on the ballot. It’s a Big Labor scheme disguised as an amendment to the state’s constitution that, if approved, would raise the minimum wage every year forever.
A minimum wage increase every year? Forever? Do you approve of that? Certainly not, and neither would any thinking person who considers the devastating consequences.
Public Question No. 2 pretends to be a big-hearted crusade to improve living standards for working families and single parents. However, it is a ploy deceptively designed to trigger automatic raises for those who hold union contracts. It will not only hike the New Jersey minimum wage 12 percent immediately on Jan. 1, but is pegged to the annual Consumer Price Index so when it goes up, it instantly mandates a jump in the minimum wage.
This scam-storm is also being stirred up in other states. Who’ll bear the brunt of the damage? Small businesses and their employees.
A “Yes” vote, says the NFIB Research Foundation, will cost New Jersey alone 31,000 jobs over the next decade. Plus, it will wipe $4 billion from the state’s already struggling economy and hurt small businesses worse than any other sector by driving up labor costs.
Unions claim this will give much-needed relief to single working parents and working-class families. But the facts don’t agree. According to U.S. Bureau of Statistics’ 2012 data, just 1.2 percent of hourly paid workers over 25 earn the minimum wage. Only 1.5 percent of those are males over 16 and women of similar age account for just 2.6 percent. The portion is probably lower in New Jersey, where wages are already higher than the national average.
Unions won’t admit that while such initiatives temporarily hand minimum wage earners a little more money, the enduring laws of economics soon emerge: Inflation kicks in, disposable income shrinks, and a vicious cycle begins. Jobs, especially in small businesses, become endangered and new job creation declines.
Small-business employers should remind employees of the old saying: “If something’s too good to be true, it’s probably false.” Help them understand that their role in making their employer successful is crucial to their own success; it’s more than a paycheck, it’s their economic lifeline.
Ballot scams like Public Question No. 2 are disasters than can be prevented by opposing such measures no matter how they’re camouflaged.