Editor’s note: First elected in 2018, Republican Congressman Lance Gooden represents Texas’ 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The 5th District stretches from Dallas County to Cherokee, Henderson, Kaufman, Anderson, Van Zandt and Wood Counties. Lance and his wife, Alexa, live in Terrell with their son, Liam.
House Democrats are poised to offer highly partisan legislation to mandate a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour. Instead of wasting valuable time on this bill, we should find ways to build on President Trump’s economic success. When the economy does well, businesses expand and require additional labor. This, in turn, increases the wage they are willing to pay workers.
Their bill dictates a 107 percent increase – more than double the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. They would have you believe that workers across our nation deserve a raise – and many do – but the way to increase wages is through economic growth, not more government control.
Since President Trump took office, wages have increased by at least 2.9 percent annually and unemployment in Texas has reached its lowest level on record. Wages are clearly increasing and prosperity is on the rise. This is not because of government mandates, but because government stepped out of the way.
Texas is one of 21 states with a minimum wage equal to the federal requirement. States like California and Washington have increased their minimum wage to $12 or more, which is why our economy is growing so much faster than theirs. The Texas economy is growing at 6.6 percent, which is double that of Washington at 3.1 percent and triple California at just 2.2 percent.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 3.7 million jobs will be lost due to this overreach by the federal government – that’s a loss of $8.7 billion in annual household income. Additionally, only 2.3 percent of hourly workers are paid the minimum wage, which is largely comprised of entry-level and lesser-skilled workers. These are the first jobs to be replaced by new technology like self-checkouts and automated ordering as it becomes more attractive due to higher labor costs.
While we differ greatly on how to accomplish this goal, Democrats and Republicans want the same thing – to increase prosperity for the American people. Unfortunately, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are ignoring the facts when they suggest increasing the minimum wage. It’s bad for businesses and, ultimately, American families.