Standing up for young americans

University President pays minimum wage workers out of his own pocket…

Many Americans who favor higher taxes and higher wages are used to being met with the counter response “Well, why don’t you write a check?,” but in the case of Kentucky State University interim president Raymond Burse, that’s exactly what he did. A former General Electric executive with good retirement benefits, Burse donated $90,000 of his $349,000 yearly salary to support low-income employees on campus who currently earn the federal minimum wage: $7.25 per hour. The donation will increase worker earnings by $3.00 per hour so they earn $10.25.

“This is not a publicity stunt,” Burse said. “You don’t give up $90,000 for publicity. I did this for the people.” PR machinations aside, Burse’s actions coincide with the efforts of President Obama and many Congressional leaders to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. But the legislation was defeated earlier this summer based on the argument that raising the wage will hurt job creation.

The argument against job creation, however, is somewhat tenuous. The Economic Policy Institute has found that a higher wage has no statistically significant effect on job loss, while data from the Department of Labor indicates that the 13 states who have raised their wages in 2014 have experienced faster job growth than those who did not. In a country where the average CEO to worker pay ratio has ballooned 1000 percent since 1950, Mr. Burse’s move is a surely welcomed one.