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I am adamantly opposed to a minimum-wage imposed by any level of government. Period. It has nothing to do with common sense and all to do with sounding good in the media. I also believe very strongly there is no excuse for anyone in the U.S.A. ever going hungry or without a roof over their head or a bed in which to sleep. I believe in helping people help themselves. I do not believe in subsidizing the bad habits of people who refuse to help themselves.
Back to the issue. It is inflationary. Any increase in wages and benefits without offsetting increases in productivity is inflationary. It also compounds itself.
You have an employee who has been on the job for years and has become very efficient at producing widgets for $10 an hour, and all of a sudden you’re paying a brand new hire the same. He has every right not to be assuaged by one of my Dad’s favorite expressions: “Life was not meant to be fair!”
A free and open market will make it fair.
Those who serve in the front of the economic chain – retail sales and service – have no choice. They either try to raise their prices to cover this expense or give up. Manufactures have another choice: Move their operations to friendlier environment. Then we have unemployment AND inflation.
If it were left to me I’d abolish the Department of Labor – among others. Was that a gasp I heard? I love the quote from Mrs. [Margaret] Thatcher, “A good day’s work for a good day’s wage. Obey the law. What’s wrong with that?”
The market will determine a wage that will attract willing and competent workers. It’s called free enterprise. Why don’t we let it work?
And then there is OSHA, which is the perfect definition of redundancy. We’ve had OSHA inspections and workers comp inspections. The insurance company is the toughest. I believe employers should provide a safe work place and that workers should exercise reasonable precautions.
Our business was blessed with the auto service section of the Area Technology Center. These folks came to us ready to be productive almost from day one. We were willing and able to pay almost twice the minimum at that time.
I also like what’s going on at Whitney Young Jr. Job Corps Center. These are folks who somehow slipped through the cracks in the education system. They are helped to get a high school diploma or GED as well as training in specific occupations: health care, culinary arts, construction, etc.
I hope they’re not disappointed with the lack of opportunities. An increase in the minimum wage will just about guarantee that.
Bob Pearce, a retired business owner, lives in Shelbyville.