Patrick Their, a board contributor, makes a huge assumption in his piece: Low wages inspire people to work harder. If that were true, wouldn’t we get more value from CEOs, pundits and athletes if we paid them starvation wages? Doesn’t too much money rob them of incentive and ambition?
Not everyone is able to move up the ladder. If a worker with Down’s syndrome works full time, shouldn’t he be paid enough to live on? The free market says pay the lowest wage the market will allow.
I do not wish to see small businesses forced out; however, what place is there for a business model that requires its workers to starve? Big-box stores are like giant welfare queens. They actually assist their workers in applying for publicly financed assistance.
Our conservative friends argue that government should not interfere with the market, but it does when it creates an environment where unions have declined to a shadow and many mega-corporations pay no tax at all. The minimum wage has lost 40 percent of its its purchasing power. Our economy is weak because demand is weak, because wages are low.
Thier leaves out one important area the poor spend money on: food, most of which is domestically produced and accounts for most of lower-income budgets. A living wage allows people to provide for their children.