Fact Check: Chris Dudley and the Minimum Wage

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Well, the Chris Dudley minimum wage story continues to grow.

Now, Chris Dudley would have us believe - and is convincing some in the media - that he didn't say anything about cutting the minimum wage.

And he's pointing to an edited tape of his comments to claim, hilariously, that the Kitzhaber campaign is misrepresenting his comments. He's also got surrogates out there, including here on BlueOregon, also crying "edited tape! edited tape!".

So, as we did when this story first broke, we'll share the full tape with you. It's just over two minutes, so I encourage you to watch it in full.

Most of the conversation about this has focused on one particular statement - "it doesn’t make sense that our waitresses are getting tips plus the highest minimum wage in the country." Dudley would have us believe he was merely quoting restaurant owners. (I think it's important that he didn't quote them, and then say "but they're wrong." He quoted them with an implied sense of agreement. But, I digress.)

I'd like to point your attention to the first sentence, in which he responds to a question. The questioner notes that "our state tends to have a very high minimum wage", asserts that "it attracts the wrong end of the labor pool to our state", and then asks "if you share that philosophy and if you have any idea what you would do about that."

Dudley's response is unequivocal: "I agree with you on that issue."

So, let's be clear: Dudley believes that Oregon's minimum wage is too high.

Of course, he's now claiming that he doesn't think that at all. And if he's changed his mind in the last 48 hours and now agrees with us that the minimum wage is a critical element to making the economy work for all Oregonians, well, that's great!

But I'm not quite ready yet to take Dudley's conversion on the road to Damascus, er, Salem quite at face value.

After all, in the full tape, he also said this: "I’m not going to make a forefront campaign issue on it because I think it’s something – it’s a hot button that people don’t really understand"

Even as he was explaining his position to that industry group, he knew that it was a political loser. It's no wonder that now, having been caught on tape, he's backpedaling as fast as he can.

But even as he backpedals, Dudley can't help himself - telling the press that he still supports a "training wage". After all, as he said on the full unedited tape, "that’s one area I would like to tackle first is to at least get a training wage going".

Whether Dudley wants to believe it or not, creating a training wage -- whether for young people or for all workers in a "probationary period" -- is a cut in the minimum wage. Those workers would get paid less. Less is not the same. Less is less.

Setting aside all the hullaballoo, one thing is crystal clear: Chris Dudley does not support Oregon's minimum wage policy as it is today. Period. And that's a fact.

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    Full disclosure: My firm built John Kitzhaber's campaign website. I speak only for myself.

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    Re the vaunted training wage, itsa non-story. There have been various programs that solve the problem wherein, employers pay half the salary of high risk or low info employees for a period of six months until said employee comes up to speed.

    Reminds me of M67 propaganda or the inclusion of Hedge Funds and Venture Capitalists in the category of "small businesses" that will suffer terrible hardship if their taxes go back up 3% in accordance with ten year old Republican legislation.

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      Or it could be like the PA plan from a few years ago:

      --under 25

      --85% of min wage

      --90 calender day (180 days lifetime)

      --no full wage worker displaced by training wage worker

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        So...people under 25 shouldn't get to make full minimum wage when they start because.....?

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          I'm shocked that no one has made an issue of the high unemployment rate of Oregon's youth. I mean, does no one care that 50% of minority youth and 35% of all youth under the age of 24 are unemployed?

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            Please cite the scientific correlation between high minimum wage and high unemployment, especially in the long term.

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              The Teen Employment Crisis: The Effects of the 2007 - 2009 Federal Minimum Wage Increases on Teen Employment

              "Labor economists who had studied past wage hikes warned that higher wages were not a free lunch; there would be a price to pay. Decades of prior research established a basic economic truth: When forced to hire and train unskilled new employees at increased wages, employers search for ways to offset that cost. Sometimes, it translates to higher prices for customers; other times, it translates to fewer hours and fewer jobs for less-experienced employees."


              The Erosion of the Entry-Level Job Market: Minimum Wage Increases and their Impact on Minimum Wage Workers

              "Economic research has extensively documented that teen jobs are lost as an unintended consequence of a higher minimum wage. When labor costs increase due to a wage hike, employers who have to pay this new higher wage to train low-skilled, minimum wage workers find a way to do more with less. That might mean reductions in customer service or an increased reliance on automation."


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                  As a side note, OR's unemployment was on average 20.4% higher that the national average during the last 16 years.

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                    As a side note, the GOP controlled the legislature during 14 of the last 16 years.

                    Also worth noting how you are using highly misleading stats there as well.

                    The difference between Oregon and US unemployment for 1995-2010 are:

                    0.75% (median) 1.07% (average)

                    Only if you make the baseline Oregon's unemployment and peg that as 100%, can you arrive at your 20.4% rhetorical sleight-of-hand.

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                      Don't worry, many people make the same mistake.

                      "Percent is a fraction of something. Percentage points are how percents are measured."

                      example: In August 2007, unemployment was 4.1 percent. In August 2008, unemployment was 5.1 percent. How much did it go up? Not 1 percent, but 1 percentage point. The percent increase is actually 24.4 percent (5.1 minus 4.1 is 1, 1 divided by 4.1 is 0.244, or 24.4 percent).

                      Read more: http://blogs.kansas.com/grammar/2010/08/13/percents-and-percentage-points/#ixzz10yR2ElN1

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                        I am taking bets as to whether or not Mitchell admits he is wrong for the first time ever.

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                          As I said, you are using rhetorical/math sleight-of-hand.

                          You are taking the difference between the percentage then expressing it as a percentage in order to make it rhetorically sound like a massive amount. Expressing the difference as a percentage gives you an inverse non-linear result, for actual linear differences and the SMALLER the two percentage you are comparing the LARGER the expressed difference.

                          Here's what you are doing:

                          Say for example the U.S. has a workforce population of 1,000,000 people and 990,000 are employed. That gives you a U.S. unemployment rate of 1.01% Now, Oregon has a workforce population of 10,000 and 9,800 are employed, that gives Oregon an unemployment rate of 2.04% and a difference in rates is 1.03. (1.03 divided by 2.04 is 0.5049, or 50.49%)

                          According to your math/rhetoric, Oregon's unemployment would be 50.49% higher that the national average.

                          Now let's increase the unemployment and see what happens:

                          Now let's say the U.S. has the same size workforce, but now only 790,000 are employed, and the U.S. unemployment rate has balloned 26.58%. Oregon has same size workforce as before but now it only has 7,800 people employed and the Oregon unemployment rate is 28.21% and the difference in rates is now even even worse, there is a 1.63 difference in the rates instead of 1.03 when the unemployment was only 2.04%. (1.63 divided by 28.21 is 0.0577, or 5.77%)

                          By every measure, the situation is worse nationally and even more so for Oregon.

                          Yet according to your misleading rhetoric/math, Oregon's unemployment disparity should far less of an issue since it would be only 5.77% higher that the national average.

                          As I said, you are using math sleight-of-hand to use highly misleading rhetoric.

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                            Percentage points (pp) are the unit for the arithmetic difference of two percentages.

                            Consider the following hypothetical example: in 1980, 40 percent of the population smoked, and in 1990 only 30 percent smoked. We can thus say that from 1980 to 1990, the incidence of smoking decreased by 10 percentage points even though smoking did not decrease by 10 percent (actually it decreased by 25 percent) — percentages indicate ratios, not differences.


                            If Oregon's unemployment rate is 10% and the US rate is 8%, the Oregon rate is 2 percentage points higher than the US and it is 25 percent higher than the US.

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                            I think I might understand your confusion. I said oregon's unemployment was 20.4% higher. To be precise, oregon's unemployment RATE is 20.4% higher.

                            I assumed that since you gave a list of unemployment RATES that would have been a given.

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                              Not confused at all Michael. You are just using highly misleading rhetoric and flawed application of math to support said misleading rhetoric. As the example I gave demonstrated.

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                                No, on the math Michael is right and appropriate. It's perfectly valid to say a 5% unemployment rate is 20% higher than a 4% rate.

                                His cites on the specific topic are suspect, however.

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                                  Are you saying the links don't provide a quality explanation of the difference between percentage point and percent? Even the math forum at Drexel University?

                                  If so, some me some better ones please.

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                            by percentage point difference: Yes by raw # of people unemployed: Yes by percentage difference in unemployment: NO

                            actually, in your examples above, you take (high # - low #)/low # the % diff in ex1 is 102% the % diff in ex2 is 7.67%

                            I have now given you 5 sources to enlighten yourself, but as they say you can lead a horse to water...

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                Employment and the Minimum Wage—Evidence from Recent State Labor Market Trends

                The argument that state minimum wages have had a substantially negative effect on a state's labor market is an extreme repackaging of the perennial claim that minimum wages do more harm than good because they cause many low-wage workers to lose their jobs. While this argument was once more prevalent among economists, recent studies with improved methodologies have reached the opposite conclusion. In general, there is no valid, research-based rationale for believing that state minimum wages cause measurable job losses. Making the extreme case that the job losses are severe enough to show up in a noticeably elevated state unemployment rate is a wild extension of a largely unfounded theory.

                A more careful look at state labor markets reveals that minimum wages are clearly not the cause of labor market pain in the states. Much more dominant forces, especially the unrelated decline in manufacturing employment, better explain state economic circumstances. Three states in focus

                Three states have been the primary focus of claims that high minimum wages cause weak labor markets: Alaska, Washington, and Oregon. For example, in newspapers in all three states, Craig Garthwaite, research director at the Employment Policies Institute (EmPI), claimed, "it is perhaps no coincidence that the three states with the highest minimum wages in the nation—Oregon, Washington, and Alaska—are among the five states with the highest unemployment rates in the nation."

                Contrary to Garthwaite's oversimplification of the employment picture in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon, some key facts about these states show that a number of factors unrelated to minimum wage increases are actually responsible for high unemployment rates:

                * Alaska's job growth has been among the strongest in the country since the recession hit. Persistently high unemployment in Alaska is the result of growth in the labor force, not layoffs of minimum wage workers.
                * Weakness in Washington's labor market has primarily been caused by the severe decline in manufacturing employment (19.7% from 2000 to 2003), a relatively high-paying industry largely unaffected by the minimum wage.
                * In Oregon, minimum wage increases have not coincided with increases in the unemployment rate. The large uptick in Oregon joblessness occurred in 2001, although the state minimum wage had not increased since 1999.


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                  The reality is that we could spend the rest of our lives tossing dueling studies back and forth at each other.

                  I would hope that it is due to the complexity of the situation, however, I suspect it is due to the ideological slant of most "experts" these days.

                  I am content just leaving it as "maybe it does, maybe it doesn't."

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                    Fair enough. I went through the arguments presented, by the way, and while it is clearly the result of conservative economists, it does appear that they have shown a (very) minor influence in starting wages to teen employment. These are swamped by other factors, however, which is what the prevailing economic consensus says anyway.

                    Let me also say one other thing: if Dudley were as forthright as you in honestly defending his beliefs, instead of trying to conceal them to the point of lying about what he said, then I would have considerably less problem with him. But I'm also pretty sure that the "rich people have it too hard; poor people have it too easy" isn't a winning electoral message either. So in a certain sense, you have to expect all GOP pols to be lying hypocrites. They'd never win otherwise.

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                    "Agree to disagree" isn't good enough here. This topic isn't just a cute little philosophical exercise.

                    If you can't show that keeping wages low is the best way to keep jobs, then it's time to push ahead on increasing the minimum up to a living wage. Period. Quit wasting our time and get out of the way.

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            Lots of people under the age of 24 do things like live off their parents, travel, go to school, work for 6 months take 6 months off, etc.

            Where are you getting your information that 50% of minority youth and 35% of all youth who want to work can't find jobs?

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              Lots of info here


              "Studies from economists at Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of California at Irvine, have shown that vulnerable young adults suffer significantly more employment loss as a result of a minimum wage increase"

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                Lots of info here, too:



                While it is true that there is some disagreement among economists about whether increasing the minimum wage increases or decreases employment, there is a consensus on the essential point: the impact of a minimum wage raise on jobs, whether positive or negative, is small. The warnings of massive teen job loss due to minimum wage increases simply do not comport with the evidence.

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            The relationship between a high minimum wage and unemployment is not direct, its inverse. A higher minimum wage encourages people to take jobs that they normally wouldn't take because those jobs wouldn't pay enough otherwise. A higher minimum wage is good for employment.

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            I tend to believe that round numbers are inaccurate numbers. Please cite your source for 35% and 50% (besides the inane and contradictory mutterings of a certain gubernatorial candidate - who can't decide if it's 35% or 50%.)

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              See link above. They list 31% in Jan. A quick google search shows record teen unemployment worldwide.

              His statement was 50% for minorities and 35% overall. Quite easy to comprehend since i don't have blue blinders on.

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        Does the PA law also provide that employers can't lay off their "trainees" as soon as they finish their "training period" and replace them with new "trainees" at the "training" wage?

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          There was nothing that I could find. But what would be the point. Why would I train someone for 2 months only to get rid of them and have to start over. Sure, some businesses might abuse it, but do we want to get our highly unemployed youth some job skills or not.

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            Because it keeps you paying your employees below min. wage.

            In a similar way to the way that Microsoft was sued (and lost) in its practice of keeping a massively large contracting workforce so they didn't have to pay benefits, etc. As a result of that lawsuit, we now have Federal law that prevents companies from using "contract" employees as full-time employees in everything but name so they can avoid paying benefits, etc.

            That said, so do you buy into the premise that Oregon min. wage is too high (as Dudley does) too low, or where it should be?

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              in re: last part

              Just fine.

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                So you disagree with Dudley and with Jack Roberts then regarding Oregon's min. wage?

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                  Part of being an independent is that I don't have to walk lock step with a candidate to vote for them.

                  Just curious, Kitz has talked about cutting the cap gains tax, lowering the personal/corporate tax rate imposed by 66/67 and says a sales tax is a viable option to help our tax situation. Do you agree with those positions?

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                    I'll speak up: HELL NO. Kitz is no liberal. That he believes the tax problem is no sales tax or cap gains being too high or gross receipts taxes shouldn't be permanent, is Metsger-esque Dem-lite centrism.

                    But he clearly understands Oregon's problems and has his own set of solutions that are based on rational analysis. Dudley's proposals are ultimately self-serving and sound as if they could be directly applied in a campaign in just about any state, and you'd never know the difference. He was not exposed as a far right nutjob last night; he was exposed as someone who really doesn't have a handle on how the state functions. Just blowing it all up won't help at all, and neither will bumbling through and learning on the job.

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            What would be the point? The exact same point behind the desire to pay less than the min wage: $$$

            Why do you suppose some jobs hire at more than the minimum wage, if unskilled employees are supposedly such economically dead weight?

            My oldest daughter, a HS drop-out, got her first job 2-3 years ago. Her starting wage was more than $2 above minimum wage. Doing something she'd obviously never done in her life. And it's not a union job!

            The reality is that most of the companies hiring at the min wage are hiring for relatively low skilled jobs which require very little actual skill aquisition in order for the hired employee to be profitable for the employer.

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        Let me correct something...I ended up compiling the data from several programs above. PA wage is actually 20 and the program is for 60 days. Sorry for the confusion.

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        Good luck on your 25th birthday or your 91st day of work, when your wages will skyrocket up to minimum wage. Something tells me you're gonna make a mistake on that day and have to turn in your uniform... which will fit a newer, younger, cheaper employee just fine.

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    The transcript of the video in full--it's hard to hear the questioner on the tape (from the DPO website, so if you disagree with it, talk to them)

    [Questioner]: Alright, thanks again Chris for coming. Um, my question comes back to labor and labor costs. Um, I’ve noticed that our state tends to have a very high minimum wage and uh I think that’s difficult for our businesses but I think it uh, it also attracts uh people from other states to come to our state and take our jobs away from our kids and uh and those that might need them. I think it attracts the wrong end of the labor pool to our state uh and they tend to stay here and uh – uh I uh I – I’m concerned about that, I’m interested to know what your – if you share that philosophy and if you have any idea what – what you would do about that or if you want to address that issue.

    [Dudley]: Well it’s not a – it’s a – I agree with you on – on – on that issue. Um it’s one that is very difficult to ex – it takes time to explain so that people understand why you’re talking with – with having the highest minimum wage in the country uh negatively impacts the state, um it’s something that I, from an economic standpoint, I understand and you talk to restaurants, restaurants will say listen, we’ve got less employees than we would otherwise because of this and it doesn’t make sense that our – our waitresses are getting tips plus the highest minimum wage in the country where our – those in the back – there’s a dispri-disproportionate amount of compensation, there’s so many negative issues with it that I think need to be addressed. Um so it’s something I’m – I’m not going to make a forefront campaign issue on it because I think it’s something – it’s a hot button that people don’t really understand, um but at some point I’m – I’m well aware of the issue and I’m also concerned about with – with – I’m very concerned in our state that we have unemployment rate uh between ages 18 and I think it’s 22 it might be 24 of 35 percent in our state. And in minority population it’s above 50 and what I get concerned about is if you don’t learn how to work it gets harder and harder to get in the workforce and so I think it’s very conc- that – that’s one area I would like to tackle first is to at least get a training wage going um to get people so that they at least have the opportunity to work and I think – think we’re really hurting our future by – by not doing so. [Dudley Campaign Event, 9/9/10]

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    So no matter how you slice it..whether you watch it on video IN FULL or read the full transcript, Dudley agrees that minimum wage in Oregon is too high.

    And oh by the way, we Oregonians are too stupid to understand the complexities--so he's not going to campaign on this even though it will be one of his big priorities should he become Governor.

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      In her own words, BlueOregon's Carla Axtman "agrees that minimum wage in Oregon is too high."

      (Sorry, that was just too easy to pass up)

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          In both examples (yours and Carla's) I accurately copied your exact words as you wrote them.

          Did I deliberately omit key contextual words to misrepresent your actual words?

          Yes, I did. And your complaint is what?

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            Did I say I agree with the premise of my quoting Dudley?

            Dudley DID say he agreed with the premise that Oregon's min. wage is too high. I do not agree with it.

            You are claiming that Dudley was taken out of context, which he wasn't, by deliberately and dishonestly taking my quoting Dudley out of context.

            That you can;t tell the difference speaks volumes about the honesty of your "arguments".

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          Sorry, I didn't answer your question.

          Well, since the prevailing noton here is that the 2nd highest minimum wage in USA (behind WA) does not hurt business, we should first raise it high enough to become the undisputed minimum wage champion.

          But $8.25/hr is obscenely low. I say raise the minimum wage to $50 per hour which will guarantee every Oregon worker $100,000 per year (based on 2,000 hr work year).

          Can you imagine how many new workers Oregon could attract with a state-mandated $100k year job for everyone?

          After all, we all know raising the minimum wage has no adverse impact on the private sector, so raise it until every burger flipper has a six-figure job.

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            So you have no serious response.

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              It's also worth noting the both Oregon and Washington have bobbed above and below the national average of unemployment since 1994, and at different times as well. If high min. wage led to unemployment both states would have have consistently higher unemployment than states that have much lower min. wage (which of course isn't the case).

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                Neither of these are how economics or scientists look at the problem.

                The question isn't: does the unemployment rate parallel the minimum wage rate? or does a minimum wage rate mean consistently higher unemployment?

                The question is: does a higher minimum wage mean higher unemployment than a lower minimum wage, all other things being equal?

                The challenge, of course, is to figure out how to hold everything else equal. The examples above assert that state-to-state comparisons are holding them equal, but I don't think that's enough.

                Doing regression analyses, as economists have done, is an attempt to hold other key factors equal. And the conclusions from those studies have varied, some saying minimum wage increases lead to increases in unemployment, and some saying there's no statistically significant correlation. Those scientific studies are easy enough to find if you want to, and you're willing to wade through the analysis flaws.

                Me, I support Oregon's minimum wage.

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            "we should first raise it high enough to become the undisputed minimum wage champion."

            Works for me.

            "I say raise the minimum wage to $50 per hour"

            The old reductio ad absurdum trick. Nobody is suggesting a $50-per-hour minimum.

            But two can play at that game. If high wages cause unemployment, perhaps Oregon should set a MAXIMUM wage of 25 cents per hour. Unemployment will be zero! (Unfortunately the employees will starve to death, but that's the price we have to pay for "prosperity.")

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            Hey, you're funny! LMAO! (Laffert curve My Ass Off)

            When I was living in Denmark (2 years ago) the minimum wage was about $18/hr and the economy was chugging along at full employment (about 2% unemployment). Now, after the international economic crisis has hit, my Danish friends tell me unemployment is high... all the way up at 5%. Even those 5% get unemployment benefits, nationalized health care, and free education while they search. http://www.indexmundi.com/denmark/unemployment_rate.html

            You can draw curves to infinity and back, but the fact of the matter is that businesses that need employees to perform work will hire them; businesses that don't won't. It doesn't much matter if they're at $6 or $12. Yes, some businesses will find ways to get around labor when wages are $12 that wouldn't be worth pursuing when wages are $6, but how many businesses do you really think are at that tipping point? The losses would be small, and many businesses would even benefit from the stimulus in spending from low-wage consumers, creating other jobs along the way. I've seen it myself.

            The main difference between $6 and $12 minimum wage is that at $6/hr business owners reap more profits and people working full time can't support themselves on their earnings. At $12/hr, workers can live on a normal day's work.

            To my Danish friends, $8.25/hr IS obscenely low. To them, it's an inhumane way to treat the working poor. In the case of Tax-Dodger Dudley, it's even worse when you consider that he advocates lowering taxes on the wealthy like himself and then cutting the budget (read: basic infrastructure and state services for the lower and middle classes ... after all, he's a Republican).

            Dudley's ideas are cruel and self-serving, and frankly, they're immoral at their core.


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    I fail to see how Dudley believing the minimum wage is too high will translate into a reduction in the minimum wage.

    Three reasons why it won't:

    1. The recession
    2. Union advocacy
    3. He never said it was too high for everyone

    It's important to note that Dudley brings the conversation back to the restaurant issue every time. He never says "all" minimum wage earners make too much, but those who get tips + minimum wage. He never mentions grocery clerks, gas attendants, etc.

    Restaurant wages have been long-debated as many state's pay below minimum wage + tips, like my sister experienced in Colorado. That's what Dudley is addressing, because that's what he's heard from many restaurant owners.

    So claiming that Dudley supports cutting minimum wage for everyone is taking his points out of context. And that's a fact.

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      Actually, the fact is that Dudley said its one of the first areas he wants to tackle as governor. In other words, its something he plans to make a high priority.

      You were saying?

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        No, Carla, listen to the tape again. He said the training wage would be first, before the tip credit. He never said minimum wage reform was a priority for him at all and never said he would push this issue as governor.

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          or read the DPO transcript

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            Carla, I won't quibble over whether a training wage is a reduction in the minimum wage. I simply think a fair reading of his statement was that when he used the word "first" it was referring to one of the first things he would do as governor, but that in the area of minimum wage reform, he'd rather start with the training wage than the tip credit.

            I'll admit that this video reveals Chris's inexperience as a political candidate, although one can argue whether that's a good or bad thing. He actually is responding to a questioner with honest, unscripted answers.

            It's been a long time since I've heard that from Kitzhaber, or most other politicans. I even learned to avoid it myself when I was running for office. But BlueOregon's careful parsing of this statement helps explain why candidates don't do it.

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              This reminds me a lot of watching Clinton haggle over the definition of "is".

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              The big omission in this discussion is that along with less wage comes less payroll tax, Social Security and unemployment insurance deductions.

              Since Dudley will be taking this job with no experience, can we pay him a training wage?

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              Carla, I won't quibble over whether a training wage is a reduction in the minimum wage.

              Yeah, Carla, the surprise is that the training wage is actually HIGHER than the minimum wage. But it's complicated, and voters wouldn't understand.

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          As far as I have been able to tell, no television or print journalist has ever, flat out, just asked Dudley the question: "Where do you stand on tip credit?" I will bet you a beer that he will be very, very careful about how he answers it, if he ever does. I have submitted the question to both KGW and Mapes.

          I know what Kitzhaber would say.

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          Jack, you can't offer a training wage without lowering the minimum wage. Unless you think the training wage would be HIGHER, which is doubtful. And he said quite clearly he agreed servers were paid too much, and it would be one of the FIRST THINGS HE TACKLES. That's a whole lot of not pushing it.

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    I think the Oregon minimum wage is too high but I don't believe we should reduce it because that would be unfair to workers currently receiving it. I assume Dudley feels the same way.

    I do think we should stop automatically indexing increases in the minimum wage by the CPI. Interestingly enough, I was the only Republican candidate at the AFL-CIO conference in the fall of 2001. Ted Kulongoski both said the same thing about this issue during our public interviews, but when Ted got their endorsement they announced that they'd had another discussion about that issue and Ted decided to support their ballot measure.

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      So you think min. wage workers should receive less in constant dollars per year. Nice.

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        You mean like 41 other states have? Like Oregon had until 2002?

        The minimum wage used to be adjusted periodically in response to changes in the economy. There are a lot of people making more than the minimum wage who are making less than they did last year in this economy. And a lot of minimum wage workers are losing their jobs so the increase in the minimum wage isn't helping them much.

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          As I said, you think min. wage should effectively decrease year over year because of inflation. Glad you are speaking honestly there.

          Now if only we could pay min. wages in 1932 amounts and not in 2010 dollars, then we could be paying min. wage at $1.50 per day.

          Great idea.

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            I am constantly amazed at your capacity to point comments like you didn't even bother to read what the other person wrote.

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              I read very well that you think min. wage should effectively decrease year over year because of inflation.

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                No, I said you shouldn't automatically make annual adjustments. Periodic adjustments, as are used for most minimum wage laws including the federal, catch up to previous cost of living increases so it does not have the effect you state.

                And I don't know if you've been keeping up on the local news, but the idea that inflation occurs every year is no longer a given.

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                  No, I said you shouldn't automatically make annual adjustments. Periodic adjustments, as are used for most minimum wage laws including the federal, catch up to previous cost of living increases so it does not have the effect you state.

                  The cost of living never seems to go down, does it? If the minimum watch doesn't make automatic adjustments, gaps inevitably appear and closing those gaps requires legislative action--which does not happen on an automatic or even a regular basis. Keeping our lowest-paid workers on an even keel should not be subject to political whim.

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                  So you disagree with annual adjustments, but instead "periodic" adjustments? And that make more sense why exactly?

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          The minimum wage used to be adjusted periodically in response to changes in the economy.

          Yes, and it's adjusted periodically NOW in response to changes in the economy.

          The only difference is that now it's done automatically in response to economic conditions -- rather than by politicians in response to political conditions.

          Why would politicizing it be better?

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            It's done now automatically in response to one economic condition, which is the Portland CPI (which isn't even representative of the entire state). It doesn't take into consideration unemployment, for example.

            If we are going to have an automatic adjustment (and I'm not sure I would), I would prefer a mechanism that suspends the increase and freezes the minimum wage when unemployment is above, say, 7%. When unemployment goes back down below that level you could make the entire CPI from the last increase and thus not fall perpetually behind.

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              Hmmm... so, wouldn't that mean that the minimum wage could be fixed for several years at a time -- and then rocket up big in one shot?

              Seems to me that a gradual increase of a nickel or a dime a year is much less disruptive than zero increase for 3-4 years, and then a 50-cent or dollar increase all at once.

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                Exactly. I am also not sure why Jack thinks that pegging COLAs on minimum wage to some "mechanism" other the actual cost-of-living data is a good idea, particularly from an economic perspective.

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              While Portland is the favorite bette noir for the GOP in the state, your statement is flat out false.

              Oregon's minimum wage is indexed to the national CPI-U rate, the same as Social Security COLAs.

              That said, while you continue to try and link unemployment to the min. wage, they are not connected and freezing wages when employment goes down on the very segment of the population which spends the most of its income right back into the local economy is not very smart economically.

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              So, as I understand it, you're saying that when the economy is in the tank we should pay minimum-wage workers less, in real dollars. How is reducing consumers' incomes going to help the economy?

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              So you propose taking money out of the pockets of poor people when other poor people are out of work? Do you have any basis in evidence for this being anything more than kicking a dog when it's down?

              I take it you're a smart guy ... can't you think of some way to help put people back to work that doesn't involve cutting wages on the working poor to the point that a person has to choose between rent, food, and their child's medication?

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        Bill, what you are saying is nonsense. You live in a world where no one can have a different opinion than yours unless they are evil or stupid.

        The consensus among economists has always been than the minimum wage creates some additional unemployment; the disagreement has been over how much.

        The most pro-minimum wage book written by actual, albeit pro-union, economists was Myth and Measurement by David Card and Alan Krueger in 1995. Let me quote from their conclusion:

        "It is worth stressing that the intensity of the political debate surrounding the minimum wage--on both sides of the issue--is out of proportion to its real importance in the economy. Our findings suggest that the minimum wage is a modest transfer program with relatively small efficiency losses. Opponents tend to exaggerate its effects on poverty, while proponents tend to exaggerate its effects on poverty. Similar observations have led Charles Brown ["Minimum Wage Laws: Are They Overrated?" Journal of Economic Literature 2:133-47] (1988) to question whether the minimum wage is overrated as a subject of public policy concern."

        I basically agree with that statement. While, on balance, I think the second highest minimum wage in the country is too high for Oregon to prevent unfair and unnecessary job losses among inexperienced and unskilled workers, I don't think the problems it creates justify the hardships and inequities that would result from lowering it. I remain concerned about future increases until the economy recovers. I personally would rather see further economic recovery and employment growth before raising the minimum wage again.

        I hope that is roughly what Chris Dudley's position is as well and I interpret his recent statement that he will not support lowering the minimum wage as indicating that it is. It is not inconsistent with what he said on the tape.

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          The fact is Jack that today's GOP is a pathetic pile of crap. Just because people recognize that fact and communicate it clearly, doesn't mean they are unreasonable or arrogant...although I know that's what the defenders of the right wing like yourself to claim. Just look at today's most popular conservatives....Beck, Palin, Limbaugh...disgraceful. The problem w/ you and other conservatives is that you're part of a deplorable party and think you actually deserve respect.

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    I think it's safe to say that, as a group, those who have raked in, oh, 100 times or 1000 times the minimum wage would be quite put out if they had to settle for a raise indexed to the CPI, compared to what they actually got.

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    This statement by Dudley is a moment of truthfulness on his part, politically stupid, but truthful. Republicans will fight to the death for CEOs to get their multi-million dollar bonuses, while they issue their contempt for people on minimum wage who are just struggling to stay alive.

    My mother raised three children working as a waitress and a cook long before there was any minimum wage. Her contribution to this world was worlds above anything Chris Dudley has done throwing a ball though a hoop or helping rich people avoid taxes, but he has values that devalue and denigrate people like my mother and the contribution they make to this world. But this is the "values voters" in the GOP. They worship wealth and have contempt for people and their labor. The video is a revelatory moment of candor that shows us the values of the GOP and Chris Dudley.

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      This comment deserves a little sub-thread to give it some extra attention. Thank you for sharing.

      The minimum wage is already too low in 50 out of 50 states. We should be talking about how to get the national minimum wage INCREASED to $10/hr+, where a young worker can still enjoy the fruit of his youth working a regular 40hr week, not whether we need to race everyone else to the bottom faster.

      Dudley should be ASHAMED that he even suggested Oregon workers making the minimum are making too much, but maybe at 7ft tall he's just too used to looking down on other people to care.

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    Well, we can thank the Republican Party for this new low wage economy and the destruction of the middle class. Their steadfast support of sending good American jobs to China and third world countries continues today. They filibustered a bill that would have done something about this outsourcing.

    The Republican ideology of so-called "free trade" has meant the American middle class worker has had to compete with third world sweat shops while the robber barons like Phil Knight enrich themselves, the same Phil Knight who is funding Chris Dudley and directing his ascendancy to the governorship. Who will benefit? Phil Knight, of course, not the middle class, and not low income Oregonians, for sure.

    Any Oregonian can only feel disgust for the kind of low wage economy that the Republicans want to continue to bring to our country and our state. In the past decade while corporations enriched themselves the American worker declined, and the gap between the GOP constituency, the very rich, and the middle class widened. This is Bush economics, Republican economics, Dudley economics.

    GWB once gave a speech at a fundraiser. He smirked, "It's good to have my base here all gathered, the have's, and the have more's." He smirked, but he wasn't joking. Their Chris Dudley's base too, and he's raking in the dough from them.

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      GWB also said: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on."

      He was talking about the average Republican / Tea Party / Beck-adoring voter -- the suckers who are conned year after year into voting against their own interests.

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    Dudley's position on the minimum wage ultimately is a nonissue because as governor he will face a Democratic-controlled legislature, which will not touch the voter approved minimum wage statute.

    As executive, the best Gov. Dudley could do is try to influence the legislature to undue the law - something he cannot do by executive order. And we all know that won't happen.

    Same thing with a training wage. Even if Gov. Dudley wants it, a Democratic legislature won't give it the time of day.

    So the political reality is Oregon's minimum wage law - approved by voters in 2002 - is here to stay unless and until the Legislature, not a Governor, acts to change it.

    And that's a fact even the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Assn agrees with.

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      Yes, a governor is not dictator, but his statement of position on minimum wage is an indicator of his values, and his attitude toward low income workers. We don't need that, and we don't want that in government.

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        Yes, his values are that he is concerned about the fact that 35% of OR's youth are unemployed and he is willing to consider options to change that.

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          You really expect me to believe that Mr. "Wealth Manager" is deeply concerned about our youth? Come on, Michael, you can't sell that one. I'm concerned about the family providers first, and the children they support on minimum wages.

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      Nothing to see here, folks: Your potential governor's repulsive ideas are probably too politically untenable to actually be acted upon ... we're pretty sure.

      There's no controversy here ... move along.

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    A comment I posted here in January of 2007 where France had been cited as an example of high min wage causing high unemployment: http://www.blueoregon.com/2007/01/smiths_challeng/#c357189

    "Just to name three of France's immediate neighbors... Belgium has a slightly higher minimum wage and a lower unemployment rate (sub double digits). Luxembourg has an even higher minimum wage (twice what ours is) and an even lower unemployment rate (lower than ours). Switzerland has a yet even higher minimum wage (nearly three times ours) and a yet even lower unemployment rate."

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    Fact check: You still haven't corrected your statement from the previous post portraying tip credits as an outlier policy. In reality, Oregon is one of only 7 states that doesn't make some sort of allowance for tipped employees. http://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm

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    I see Fitz in his new Ad is hitting Dudley for wanting to reduce the minimum wage. Good! Mr. Dudley will have some "splaining" to do on thurs. night about this and his plan to bankrupt Oregon so the rich can be richer.

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      You do know that Kitz wants to cut capital gains as well. And, wants to lower the personal | corporate tax rates raised by M66/67. Pretending he doesn't won't change the fact that he does. (also considers sales tax a viable option to fix tax structure)

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        I do know that, but it's not to the tune of 800 million and it will be paid for rather than bankrupting the state. But you're off topic since we were talking about minimum wage. Assuming I "pretend" is just stupid and silly, so you can knock off that kind of juvenile crap.


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