wage hurts the most vulnerable
Your GuestView from Elizabeth Rose, “Fix the
minimum wage” (Sept. 6) was emotionally appealing,
but logically misguided. Wouldn’t it be nice
if we could simply raise the minimum wage without
any unseen negative effects?
What we see are those people who get and keep
jobs at the new higher minimum wage. What we
don’t see are those people who just don’t get
jobs because they are not economically viable
at the new higher wage. Some jobs are lost because
customers will simply not pay higher prices;
some are lost to automation because the new
higher wage makes automation economical; and
some are lost to offshore outsourcing. Typically
those with the least skill are the ones who
can’t find jobs.
Many of the government laws and regulations
regarding employment protect big, established
businesses from competition by new, start-up
competitors. Established businesses are often
the ones that lobby for regulations which increase
costs for would-be competitors. This is much
the same as unions wanting government to require
a high “prevailing wage” on construction contracts
— to protect the union’s higher wages. These
types of laws and regulations are primarily
intended to protect existing vested interests.
As we continue to have downward pressure on
wages and benefits because of international
competition, it is possible that the cost of
living will decline, too. If wages dropped 10
percent but the cost of living dropped 15 percent,
what would be wrong with that? At the same time,
our government is doing everything it can to
increase the cost of housing (housing prices)
— and then subsidizing those with low incomes.
It would be better for those with low incomes
if our government let housing prices fall to
their natural level. Many cities don’t allow
homeowners to take in boarders — which could
lower the cost for both the owner and the tenants.
Morally and philosophically, we should not allow
our government to use its force to prohibit
peaceful and honest people from voluntarily
agreeing to employment terms. It would be considered
immoral and illegal if you used force or fraud
to make someone pay you a higher wage. The same
thing done by a majority through government
is still immoral. The purpose of government
is not to create jobs. The proper role of government
is to protect our lives, liberty and property
against those who would use force or fraud to
take those things from us.
And if you still feel that government and taxpayers
must subsidize those who earn low wages, then
the Earned Income Tax Credit, which already
exists, is much better than an increase in the
The Fall Kubb Klassic is an alcohol-free event
(“Locker Room,” Sept. 20).
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