The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Alec Carmichael
I Digress 

Arguing the Minimum Wage


So when I consider the following realities I am overwhelmed by irrational emotions and I tend to overreact but here goes. First, how do we justify paying people wages they can’t live off of? Seriously, how many of you privileged people out there would work 40 hours a week at anything for $8.00 an hour? Trick question… none of you. The second, why do we allow employers to pay so little? If people have jobs and can’t live off their salary, where do they turn? Oh yeah, they turn to Uncle Sam for help. As a result, by allowing employers to not pay livable wages we, the taxpayers, end up paying the difference for their employees; ergo we subsidize business owners and CEO salaries. Ok go ahead roll your eyes I, the Libertarian, am making the case for minimum wage? What a yuppy hypocrite! Hell yeah I’ll be a bleeding heart liberal for this cause! I’m not naïve, I know some things wont happen unless the government steps in and makes them. I’m a realistic Libertarian who values people too much not to. Why do I believe this? People are greedy that’s why. So there you have it. I have an ulterior motive as well though; I want to stop paying for those lazy half-witted CEO’s who make millions off of employees who have to turn to the government for help.

Seriously though if we increase minimum wage, so that everyone can make some semblance of a livable wage we could cut food stamps, public housing, aid programs, decrease poverty, reduce incentives for illicit trades, like drug and human trafficking, and so much more just by making the business owners cover their employees basic life necessities, and taking the burden off of us the taxpayers. In turn, we would save millions in government bureaucracies by reducing reliance on those programs (my libertarian roots coming out yet?), and increase productivity leading to more wealth and the potential for great economic gains. Wait I’m confused are those not conservative principles I just listed? Honestly, why does that not make sense?

Undoubtedly someone out there is screaming at me, “You are going to drive the small businesses out of town!” No my friend… I am not. In all likelihood I will increase the cost of living but that is debatable, as Seattle has seen no such dramatic occurrence as markets are dramatically larger than the bottom consumers who suffer at minimum wage and no apocalyptic exodus of businesses has occurred in the region, as was predicted by the prophecies of CEOs and “respectable” business moguls, but I digress.

What I really want to ask here is why do we subsidize millionaires at the expense of human dignity? According to Jenny Che, associate business editor for the Huffington Post in an Aug. 2015 article, “Walmart chief Doug McMillon… made $25.6 million last year, about 1,133 times the median employee’s [salary of] $22,591.” In other words he made $25.6 million while the bulk of his employees lived near the poverty line. Seriously and we paid for them to survive while he undoubtedly bought a yacht. Now here they come, the petty arguments like “but they are working at Walmart they don’t deserve it!” So? Some of you work utterly useless jobs and get paid far more than you are worth, because you have to do the job and someone needs you to do the job. The value is placed on your marketability and the human need for it. Unfortunately many people working low-wage jobs have not been set up for job success by a snow-ball of systemic failures, and thus get taken advantage of. I think we as a society would be hard up without retail establishments, no? So these people do perform a valuable service to society. How many of you eat at restaurants? Still want to say the people feeding you don’t deserve a good wage, but you rely on them for your own needs? Even if that wasn’t the case wouldn’t they deserve it out of the dignity of being people who have needs? So if the fact that we would save on government spending doesn’t sway you, or the fact that we could stop helping millionaires become billionaires doesn’t sway you, then maybe the fact that you are a human being capable of empathy will work.

Imagine you know an under-paid mother who ended up dropping out of college when her first child came along, and was left by the uninterested boyfriend who wanted and, fortunately for him, had the chance to pursue his dreams. The mother who is hoping she can pay her electric bill, or buy healthy food for her kids, or pay for gas to get to work at her two jobs needed to pay for just the basics. Could she sway you? I’m all for the work hard and take care of business model, but I’m not for robbing people of dignity or helping the greedy get rich at the expense of those who want to make some piece of the American dream for themselves but are not given those opportunities. Thats not liberty and it sure as heck is not Montanan.


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