SPRINGFIELD (Illinois Watchdog) — There are
thousands of workers in Illinois working today for far less than the
state's required $8.25 an hour minimum wage.
But these are not poor laborers trapped by tyrannical bosses. In
many cases they are young, well-educated professionals who are happy
to have their jobs.
"There no doubt are some people early in their careers who are on
salary instead of paid by the hour and who are lucky if they make
minimum wage when the long hours they put in are considered," said
Steven Stanek a research fellow at the Heartland Institute. "Young
lawyers spring to mind."
Illinois' minimum wage, and what the wage should be, has become the
topic de jour in the race for governor.
Multimillionaire GOP frontrunner Bruce Rauner has said in the past
he would lower Illinois'' minimum wage by a dollar an hour to be
more in line with the federal minimum wage.
Rauner has since backtracked.
"The real answer is a booming economy and a great educational system
and vocational programs. A higher minimum wage can hurt the very
people it's designed to help. It hurts small businesses," he said.
Illinois' incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has long said he wants
to raise the minimum wage, pushing for $10 an hour.
Stanek said it is laughable to see politicians demand a higher wage.
"The big irony in the minimum wage discussion is that some of the
loudest advocates for a higher minimum routinely hire people to work
for nothing," Stanek said. "The White House, Congress and
legislatures around the country are crawling with unpaid interns.
These unpaid interns have taken the jobs because they think they'll
look good on a resume, get their foot in certain doors, or teach
them skills to later get paying jobs."