When government interferes in the economy, people lose their jobs
Remember all the hype last year when Gov. Ed Rendell and Democrats in the state Legislature pushed to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania?
Despite near universal condemnation by economists and business leaders, Rendell got the minimum wage hike bill through the Legislature and signed it into law. Rendell touted it as one of his big "accomplishments" during his re-election campaign last fall.
The state's minimum wage increased from $5.15 per hour to $6.25 per hour on January 1, 2007. It will go up $7.15 on July 1. (For employers with the equivalent of 10 or fewer full-time employees (based on a 40-hour workweek), the minimum wage increases in three steps: $5.65 on January 1, 2007; $6.65 on July 1, 2007; and $7.15 on July 1, 2008.)
Rendell and the lockstep Democrats in Harrisburg promised that raising the minimum wage would help hundreds of thousands of working Pennsylvanians earning salaries below the poverty level.
Reality often has a habit of biting know-it-all politicians in the rump.
Rendell's plan to "help working Pennsylvanians" appears to have backfired for employees of the Bonanza restaurant in Boyertown. The popular Berks County eatery off Route 100 recently closed its doors after 20 years in business.
All 85 employees, including many earning minimum wage, lost their jobs.
The restaurant owner told The Boyertown Times that several factors forced her to go out of business. One of those reasons she cited was ... drum roll, please ... the increase in the minimum wage in Pennsylvania!
So instead of earning a little bit of money, the restaurant workers are now earning zero.
Maybe the restaurant workers can write Ed Rendell a thank-you note while they're standing in the unemployment line.
Tony Phyrillas is a leading conservative political columnist and blogger based in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran journalist with 25 years experience as a reporter, editor and columnist for several newspapers. Phyrillas received recognition for column writing in 2010 from the Associated Press Managing Editors, in 2007 from Suburban Newspapers of America and in 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone Chapter. A graduate of Penn State University, Phyrillas is the city editor and political columnist for The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. In addition to The Mercury website (www.pottsmerc.com), his columns are featured on more than a dozen political websites and blogs. Phyrillas is a frequent guest (and occasional host) on talk radio and has been a panelist on the "Journalists Roundtable" public affairs TV program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Phyrillas was named one of the '10 Leading Greek-American Bloggers in the World' in 2007 by Odyssey: The World of Greece magazine. BlogNetNews.com ranked Phyrillas the Most Influential Political Blogger in Pennsylvania for three consecutive years (2007-2010). You can follow Phyrillas on Twitter @TonyPhyrillas