What better time to talk about prosperity in Tennessee than Labor Day weekend. Tennessee is one of only five states without a state minimum wage law. Candidates running for office next year would do well to put this issue in their platform. The need for decent wages has never been greater.
The wildfires in East Tennessee last year destroyed the rundown shacks and slums where the tourist industry labor once lived. With nowhere to live, many of them left for better opportunities elsewhere. Tennessee has the highest percentage of workers at or below $7.25 per hour of any state in the country.
A state minimum wage law of $15 per hour with an annual built-in cost of living would bring Tennessee working people up to par with the rest of the country and be a great boost for small businesses across the state. Imagine people suddenly having money to spend.
Yes, a Big Mac would cost 25 cents more, but the quality of peoples’ lives would improve dramatically. And the next recession an increase in worker’s pay causes will be the first recession it causes. Economic prosperity always accompanies a raise in wages, because the first thing most people will do is spend it.