|Authored By Alanna Kelley, M.S.W. and Phillip Kelley|
|The Trump Minimum Wage|
|A Conservative Minimum Wage Alternative|
|Respectfully Submitted To Donald J. Trump For His Review and Consideration|
|A merit based approach to raising the minimum wage which rewards education and encourages family unity. Improving the self-respect of and empowering persons living at or near the poverty level.|
The Trump Minimum Wage, also referred to in this document as “The Program”, is an alternative to raising the Federal Minimum Wage across the board. A blanket rise in the Federal Minimum Wage will place an undue bourdon on small businesses, ultimately resulting in the loss of those businesses and substantial reduction tax revenues. It will also raise the bar, affecting prices and wages throughout the supply chain. The Trump Minimum Wage” is designed to allow families to remain intact while on government aid, while rewarding continued education.
The liberal social policies from the 50’s and 60’s had negative effects on families, as they typically only awarded ‘welfare’ to broken homes. The outcome was dramatically seen in the black communities with fathers encouraged to leave the home so the family could receive the financial aid needed. These policies remain in effect and are a bleak reminder that reliance on the government is not a solution to the problem of income inequality. The solution is knowledge and with knowledge comes power. On this program, families receiving government subsidies will continue their benefits throughout the first years of the program. Subsidies will be reduced toward the end of the program for employees not choosing further education and ultimately those subsidies will terminate. The program includes four levels of employment, spread out over five years; with wages commiserate with those levels.
The Trump Minimum Wage is not a government mandate, it is a voluntary program that allows employers to opt in or choose not to participate. Employers who choose to participate in this program will be rewarded with incentives such as tax deductions or credits. The financial impact to the country will be minimal at worst as more people employed, translates to increased tax revenue.
The overall quality of life will improve for a large number of Americans, primarily minorities. Families participating in this program will be lifted above the poverty level as both parents are allowed to work while the family continues to receive full government benefits. It is a fact, as people become educated, they become more employable and their options for employment expand exponentially. People who are self-reliant have a higher level of self-esteem, more self-confidence, and are less susceptible to illness and depression. Low self-esteem often results in alcoholism or drug addiction creating additional burdens on government programs and society in general.
The overall goal of this program is to lift people out of poverty and into a life of personal responsibility and prosperity. Aid them in eliminating the need for government assistance via a merit based vocational program which rewards education and encourages family unity. Through education and work experience people who participate in this program will be eligible for higher wage jobs, thus providing options in life that would otherwise not be available to them. All persons who can legally work in the United States are eligible for this program including those who are currently receiving government assistance. Participants in the program will have the ability to raise their quality of life by improving their education, thus widening their possibilities for gainful employment and become self-reliant and ultimately eliminate the need government aid.
- Only residents legally working in The United States are eligible for this program.
- Program minimum age is 18 years for persons with no dependents, 16 for emancipated minors and 15 for minors with dependent children.
- To promote two parent families, this program allows the father, of at least one child in the participating household or, legally married, male spouse, to remain living in the home while mother or child continue receiving government subsidies, with no reduction to those benefits. Male must be employed or actively participating in a continuing education program.
- Employee will retain their level of employment if changing between employers participating in the program.
- 1700 hours of covered employment will constitute 1 year of employment. Once completed, employee will be eligible to advance to the next higher level of employment.
- Only residents legally working in The United States are eligible for this program.
- Employers are required to use E-Verify.
- Employers, participating in this program, are not allowed to terminate an employee in order to hire a lower level employee until the completion of employee’s third year of employment.
- If an employer has cause to terminate an employee, employer shall hire a replacement of equal or higher level participating in the program.
- Employers participating in the program will receive tax credits or deductions to offset the cost of participating in the program. These credits or deductions are yet to be determined, but might include the employer’s portion of employee Medicare or Social Security tax.
- Employers with less than 10 employees may employ any combination of Level One through Level Four participants at its discretion. Employers with 10 employees, participating in the program, will employ no less than 1 Level Three and 1 Level Four participants. Employers with between 15 and 20 employees participating in the program shall employ no less than a combined quantity of 3 Level Three and Level Four participants. The same formula will be applied to any number of employees totaling 20 and above.
Level One – No High School Diploma or GED
- (Year 1) Employee receives current prevailing minimum wage and continues to receive full government subsidies. Employee must be actively involved in a GED or equivalent program. If employee achieves a GED or equivalent prior to the completion of ¾ of the first year or prior to completing 1275 hours of covered work hours, Employee shall advance to Year 2 of Level 1 and carry their previously earned hours with them.
- (Year 2) Employees achieving a high school or equivalent level of education will receive a wage increase equal to prevailing minimum wage plus $1.00. Employees not achieving high school or equivalent level of education but are actively enrolled in a program to achieve that level will receive a wage increase equal to prevailing minimum wage plus $.50. Employees not actively seeking GED or equivalent will only receive a wage increase at the desecration of employer.
- (Year 3) Employees actively involved in an Associates level or other “qualified” vocational program will receive a wage increase equal to prevailing minimum wage plus $2.00. Employees not yet achieving a high school level of education but remain actively enrolled in a program to achieve that level will receive a wage increase equal to prevailing minimum wage plus $1.00. Employees not actively seeking further education will receive a wage increase only at the discretion of employer.
- (Year 4) Employees who continue pursuing Associates degree or other “Qualified” vocational program will receive a wage increase equal to prevailing minimum wage plus $4.00. Employees not achieving a high school or equivalent level of education will receive a wage increase equal to prevailing minimum wage plus $1.50. Employees not seeking further education will receive a reduction in government benefits.
- (Year 5) Employees actively enrolled in a Bachelor level collegiate program will receive a wage increase equal to $6.00 plus prevailing minimum wage. Employees actively involved in Associates level or other “qualified” vocational program will receive a wage increase equal to prevailing minimum wage plus $5.00. Employees who have not yet achieved a High School level or GED level of education will receive a wage increase equal to prevailing minimum wage plus $3.00 and will no longer be eligible for government subsidies while enrolled in this program.
Level Two – High School or Equivalent Education
- Persons entering the program with the above level qualifications shall start at Year 2 of Level One of the program and continue there on.
Level Three – Actively Involved in Associates level or “Qualified” Vocational
- Persons entering the program with the above level qualifications shall start at Year 3 of Level One of the program and continue there on.
Level Four – Actively Involved in Bachelor Level Collegiate Program
- Persons entering the program with the above level qualifications shall start at Year 5 of Level One of the program and continue there on.
As a result of further research for this proposal, it came to our attention that a stigma was often placed on those who attempt to better their lives through education and or by improving their job situation. This is primarily evident in the African American community where young people are often made to feel intimidated or treated as outcasts.
We have yet to identify a solution this condition, but truly feel it needs to be addressed as part of the overall implementation of this program. Participants in the program need to feel they can pursue their goals of education without intimidation, for this program to work.