G. Jeffrey Aaron on Minimum Wage

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

About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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2 Responses to G. Jeffrey Aaron on Minimum Wage

  1. pystew says:

    i see the problem with a minimum wage is it used to be used by high school and college aged workers that are beginning their work life. In today’s economy, unemployed workers, many with family obligations, mortgages, auto loans, etc. are taking any job they can get, which are usually minimum wage ones. Those workers need a higher wage. If congress had not been obstructed by the GOP in the House, and was able to develop a real jobs program, the minimum wage would not have been the problem it is today.


  2. whungerford says:

    The minimum wage question seems to be difficult, but I can’t see any reason for having a minimum wage if it isn’t intended to make sure the lowest paid workers have enough income to live on. There may be better ways to combat poverty among American workers as this Atlantic article suggests, but until one such is enacted, I’m for raising the minimum wage.


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