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Pay above market prices hurts labor, employers

Here we go again! Another blatant call for a higher minimum wage, this time a casual call from Eugene Robinson in the Lewiston Tribune, Sunday, Dec. 8. He blithely counsels President Obama to lobby for a minimum of $10/hour, implying in the article that it would solve a bunch of problems. But why not really do the worker a better favor and raise it to $20 or $25/hour? After all, that would give every one more than $40,000/year, instead of the $20,800/year that would result from the proposed $10/hour minimum! Everyone certainly would agree that a $40,000-plus income per year would be far more desirable than the mere $20,000 one!

But a problem or two! Would that include every wage earner, including your baby sitter and your lawn mower? Or where would you draw the line if any?

Yet a far more serious problem.... would you force a small store owner or small farmer to pay someone more than they are worth, or can return to your business? Would you hire a young and inexperienced applicant who you know will be a drain on your already financially stressed business? Would you keep on a new apprentice who someday may be worth far more to you, but in the meantime, is already a negative cost to your operation?

The answer to all of the above is an emphatic no! The obvious and historical result of requiring wages higher than one is worth is unemployment! Not you, not me, not any small or large operation can afford to pay anyone more than they are worth! So the minimum requirement results in beginning laborers denied a chance to even break into the labor market.

Better off all such individuals would be if given a chance to start at a wage the employer can afford, and then prove by his or her effort and performance that a higher wage is warranted! Honesty, hard work, and education is the ladder that one climbs to incomes far above any minimum set. So let’s continue to keep the lowest rung down where all can get a start!

Jake Wren



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