Op-ed columnist George F. Will trots out the same old gloom-and-doom, sky-is-falling predictions about raising the minimum wage (“Raise minimum wage? Sure, if...,” Dec. 21). These are the same bogus arguments we have heard every time the minimum wage was raised in the past.
Mr. Will begrudges low-end workers getting a decent, livable wage, but has no problem with executives giving themselves irrational, extravagant salaries. He even acknowledges that “95 percent of real income growth has accrued to the top 1 percent.”
Why is it acceptable for the wealthy to get salary increases but harmful to the economy for the lowest-paid workers to get a modest increase in their income?
Minimum-wage rise would be a lift
Mr. Will sarcastically posits an erroneous series of claims that predict economic and social doom if a raise to the federal minimum wage is enacted.
He claims that raising the wages of low-productivity workers will reduce demand for them. If by low-productivity workers, Mr. Will means fast-food employees, restaurant workers, and retail and custodial workers; there will always be a need for those workers. A decent living wage means they may be able to provide better for their families.
Raising the minimum wage helps business by giving people the opportunity to buy products. Demand creates jobs. Raising the minimum wage can help get families off, and keep them off, public assistance. I would think every conservative would applaud that.
The biggest challenge facing our country is a growing income inequality that has shrunk the middle class in a way not seen in a generation. The benefits of raising the minimum wage far outnumber any real or perceived problems that Mr. Will may have.
Will’s reasoning unfair to low-paid
Mr. Will shows the stinginess of some conservative thought. He dismisses the benefits of raising the federal minimum wage for a small number of people.
In contrast to their low wages, the stratospheric incomes of some executives and their lawyers are obscene. Meanwhile, Pope Francis and President Obama have called for less disparity in incomes and economic justice.
Mr. Will concedes “some of the working poor earn so little they are eligible for welfare.” That situation suits Wal-Mart and other highly profitable corporations.
But if employees earned living wages, they would not need public assistance.
These peevish warnings by Mr. Will express distrust of sharing this country’s wealth with people he deems to be low-productivity workers.
Mr. Will also makes light of street charity. But those who demand a living wage for workers expect justice, not charity.
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