An article published recently in Orlando Weekly celebrates a movement in more liberal areas of the country that is said to benefit low-wage workers. ("An awakened beast," Soapboxer, Nov. 13)
An attempt to demonize big business is found in the second sentence of the article, but it looks past the fact that small businesses provide more than half the nation's private sector jobs, and have generated more than 65 percent of all new jobs over the last 17 years, according to the Small Business Administration.
The article puts a heavy emphasis on minimum-wage increases, even though this is "a major anti-jobs policy," as stated by William Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business. "As a poverty program, raising the minimum wage is like killing flies with a shotgun, not very well-targeted," Dunkelberg wrote in Forbes late last year.
The article also gets around to government-mandated paid sick leave. Proclaiming Orange County "could, and should, have mandatory paid sick leave," the piece says that "the Orange County Commission doesn't fear its constituents half as much as it does the Chamber of Commerce and Disney and the rest of the tourism industry that enriches itself on the back of low-wage, low-benefit labor."
A comment that lends itself to the class-warfare rhetoric heard so often from the left, it implies there was majority support for the initiative. Outside of the petitions gathered to get the initiative on the ballot and a poll commissioned by those who championed the issue, there's little to suggest this is fact. As for credibility, the article referenced the poll without identifying who commissioned it, much like Orlando Sentinel reporter David Damron did when he trumpeted the results. And the misleading petitions gathered by paid activists stated that businesses supported the initiative and would benefit from it.
In the end, the Orange County Commission did indeed act on behalf of their constituents, fully understanding that the initiative, driven by outside interests, to include big labor, was bad for business and bad for local residents. Unless you consider fewer jobs and higher prices beneficial to low-wage workers.
Tom Tillison, via email