To the editor:
Opponents of a minimum wage increase are doing an excellent job of making it sound like a government handout. They suggest that it constitutes government interference in a market that determines wages some other way. The truth is, for better or worse, federal minimum wage laws are what determine wages in the United States.
Labor is a commodity and it comes at a price. Unlike physical commodities, labor isn’t sold by companies, just the laborers themselves. There’s no such thing as collective bargaining any more; with so many employees in the job market, it’s too easy for companies to simply lay off or fire their employees and hire new ones. In order to get around that, all workers have to come together and demand changes from all employers at once.
Currently, millions of people on minimum wage also utilize public assistance programs. Some employers that pay minimum wage (or slightly more) even encourage their employees to take advantage of those programs. A minimum wage increase isn’t a public assistance program; it actually means that American taxpayers will no longer have to give workers what they should rightfully earn from their employers. Unlike congressional Republicans, I believe that American workers would rather earn a living than be given one.
In the same way that drivers won’t drive below the speed limit unless they have to, employers won’t pay more than minimum wage unless they have to. Until companies are obligated to pay more, they won’t. It’s as simple as that.