#NCSEN: Cost-of-living and the minimum wage

kaytomKay Hagan and her lefty friends have been beating Republican Thom Tillis around the head and shoulders about what — we think — has been one of the smartest, most principled things he’s said while a Senate candidate: 

[…] Tillis has said he doesn’t support the minimum wage, telling The N&O it was an “artificial threshold,” and later saying it should be set by the states, not the federal government.[…]

Right now what we’re trying to do is make the minimum wage – we’ve got a president and Kay Hagan that want to create a minimum wage economy. What I want to do is create jobs that make the minimum wage irrelevant.[…]

Instead of focusing on this sort of defeatist mentality where we’ve gotta up the minimum wage, why don’t we focus on creating better-paying jobs? […]

Barack Obama and Kay Hagan think that the minimum wage needs to be the same in the mountains of North Carolina and in the city of Boston – it makes no sense to me,” Tillis said on the show. “It’s a decision that needs to be made closest to – with the people closest to the situation. And I think that’s state legislatures.”[…] 
(Of course, we disagree with a little of that last part.  The state doesn’t need to be determining the level of wages. Let Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand take care of that. )
minimum-wage-povertyThe media and the Haganites took Tillis’ point to mean that the Republican doesn’t think western North Carolina deserves the benefits of workers in Boston.  Actually, Tillis was referring to differences in cost-of-living.
I know it’s a shocker, but it costs more to live and work and do business in New York or Boston.  That’s one of the reasons we see so many big businesses and industries relocating here.
Beyond the minimum wage argument, liberals like to make comparisons with other states when talking about teacher pay.  Again, the issue of cost-of-living comes into play.
CNNMoney has a great tool for determining how much income you’d need to maintain your standard of living if you move from where you live now to somewhere else.  For instance, let’s say you are making $30,000 in Marion, North Carolina — in western North Carolina.  You would need to be making $71,350 to maintain your current standard of living if you picked up and moved to New York City’s borough of Manhattan.  You’d need $44,595 if you picked up and moved from Marion to Boston. So, making more elsewhere does not mean you are necessarily living better than you did at a lower salary in North Carolina.  $71,000 doesn’t get you in Manhattan what it would in western North Carolina. 
Let’s compare the differences within North Carolina.  Moving from Marion to Chapel Hill would mean that you’d need to make $35,783 in Chapel Hill to maintain your $30,000 standard of living in Marion.  Someone making a  salary of $27,864 in Thomasville-Lexington would need to make $30,000 to maintain their current standard of living if they moved to Wilmington.  Making $30,000 in Charlotte is the equivalent of making $33,915 in Dare County on the Outer Banks. momoney
As you can see, it is utter nonsense to make wage decisions by comparing one area to another.  Wage decisions need to be made as locally as possible — preferably by the people paying those wages.  
People need to make a living on a paycheck.  Businesses need to be able to make some profits and keep the doors open after paying said wages. Believe it or not, businesses will pay what it takes to get the best possible employees for that kind of work in that locality.   Ignore the demagoguery on this being spat upon us in this Senate campaign.