This year, newly-elected Republicans in the New Hampshire legislature pushed a bill to restrict the state’s minimum wage law to the lowest federally mandated amount. The bill, backed by GOP leadership, was vetoed by Gov. John Lynch (D-NH), but still passed by an override vote in both chambers. New Hampshire will continue to have the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour, a $15,000 salary for a full-time worker.
State Rep. Carol McGuire (R-NH), the sponsor of the law, still believes the federal minimum wage is too high. In a statement to reporters, she said she would like to repeal all minimum wage laws and have corporations pay workers whatever rate they desire. She also said the $7.25 minimum is overly generous to young people who are “not worth the minimum“:
“It’s very discriminatory, particularly for young people. They’re not worth the minimum,” she said. She believes there are young people who would get a job if they could be paid $5 an hour instead of the minimum.
McGuire’s accusation that “young people” are “not worth the minimum” is a slap in the face to youth around the country who work minimum jobs to support their families, save for college, or are forced to survive without the privileges of inherited wealth or their parents’ income.
Moreover, McGuire’s drive for the lowest possible wages further depresses economic recovery. Economists agree that increasing the minimum wage is a direct stimulus for the stagnant economy that improves the standard of living among low-wage earners. Moreover, even the current minimum wage is historically low when adjusted for inflation — in the ’60s, the rate was over $9.00 an hour in 2006 dollars.