Writing in today’s Elmira Star-Gazette, G. Jeffrey Aaron addresses minimum wage. Aaron starts with a balanced explanation of the pros and cons of a minimum wage increase — fair enough. He then shifts gears and writes:
- New York is known for its onerous business climate.
- A bigger paycheck will push some … above the cut-off level for important benefits.
- It was never intended to become a living wage.
New York businesses seem to do well, but business organizations here and everywhere never tire of complaining about the onerous business climate. That some may lose benefits is hardly a reason to reject higher wages. The claim that the minimum wage wasn’t intended to be a wage one could live on seems wrong — the purpose of minimum wage laws is clearly to keep people with jobs from being destitute.
Aaron concludes: “If we really want to do those minimum wage workers a favor, let’s create higher paying job opportunities for them…” Amen to that. Raising the minimum wage will help if it stimulates economic recovery, but we can do much more — extending unemployment benefits, enacting adequate funding for SNAP, immigration reform, a farm bill, a long term transportation bill, and President Obama’s jobs program would help.
© William Hungerford – January 2014