Minimum Wage 1976

My dad was kind enough to allow my best friend to work with me at his wholesale warehouse. (The White Star Confectionary.)

The year was 1976 and Jamie and I had the job of stamping cigarettes with the Massachusetts tax logo.

We earned a minimum wage of $2.10 an hour.

At the end of the week our paychecks, since we only worked after school, were around $27.

A few months later the U.S. minimum wage went up about 80 cents, and we thought we’d fly to the moon because our take home went above $30.

What I didn’t realize is that the hike hurt my father’s company.

At the time there were several competitors in the area constantly trying to steal business from him.

Price and service were all we had to offer.

Dad and mom didn’t live extravagant lives either, my father drove a Pontiac station wagon, so he could fill the way-back with merchandise and make deliveries on his way home each day.

Mom drove a Rambler.

A few days ago Governor Deval Patrick was in Pittsfield to listen to business leaders talk about manufacturing growth.

He proceeded to push a $3 minimum wage hike idea.

By some miracle a manager from the Cranwell Golf Course and Resort spoke to a radio reporter after the event saying something like this…”we have over 120 employees, if the wage increase goes through that the Governor is talking about it will cost us $500,000 over the next few years, which we cannot absorb.”

For once, could our local media please stop screaming from the top of Mount Greylock that anyone opposed to anything out of Boston or Washington must be an evil Republican?

It’s totally irrelevant what political party one is with if there’s no legitimate local research on the impact of government micro-managing.

Please remember the Berkshires are really just a resort community now, trying to attract folks from wealthier areas around the world to stay here for a few days.

What makes us competitive is the cost and value to use or stay at resorts like Cranwell.

Whoever you were Mr. Cranwell director, thanks for noticing that Emperor Obama and Patrick have no clothes.

A minimum wage increase might be O.K., but only in moderation, like was done in the 70’s.

It’s not as if all the kids working these entry-level jobs are doing good things with their cash.

And that my friends is another story.

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