These numbers didn't come as much of a surprise to me because in our consumer driven society,
Wrong, Wrong, and Wrong
(photo from sdra.org)
Based on that, I was mystified as to why Governor Daugaard opposed the minimum wage hike. He famously said, "this issue should be based on economics, not politics. There needs to be an analysis of how many jobs would be lost." It seemed pretty clear to me that the economic argument favored a wage hike, and of course as it turned out, not only were no jobs lost, but there was a net increase in new jobs over the year. Why Daugaard couldn't understand that is probably more of a reflection of his political tilt than a bow to common economic sense, the very mindset that he was opposed to. The economic argument was compelling, the political one self-serving.
My guess is that Daugaard was swayed by the siren song of the South Dakota Retailers Association (of which I'm a member in good standing) which forecast ominous results stemming from a minimum wage increase. SDRA fought the issue with everything it had, even sending a spokesman from Pierre to Rapid City to weigh in against the measure at a public forum. SDRA blanketed the state with an ad campaign that predicted a higher minimum wage would "trigger higher prices, layoffs, cuts in hours for workers, and delays in making needed improvements." No doubt there were some spot instances where some or all of those eventualities occurred, but its clear from year end summaries that South Dakota's economy moved forward nicely in the aggregate. The opposition to
|Wages Going Up In SD|
The Up-Arrow Applies To The Economy Too
(graphic from waow.com)
Did the wage hike by itself trigger the nice little boomlet South Dakota's economy had in 2015? You could argue that there were several, maybe many factors that made it happen. My view is that the surge in spending power by wage earners had to play a significant role. If there's a conclusion to be derived here, it's that finding ways to increase wages in South Dakota certainly doesn't lend itself to the economic woes that opponents of higher wages predict. As our agricultural community knows well enough, money is like manure. It doesn't do any good unless you spread it around.