Minimum Wage Increase Fallacies


Dear Editor,

The “livable wage” movement’s mission is $15 per hour minimum wage to balance the ability to pay for life necessities with family time.

Early on, fast food workers argued the increase was required to account for inflation.  They claimed that, adjusted for inflation, fast food workers made only 10 cents more. Biased news agencies ignored that this was misrepresentation of data that was actually evidence against mandated increase.  They beat inflation by an average of 10 cents. Quietly, the movement stopped repeating this claim. Curiously, biased media didn’t address the error. Had this been an opponent it would be labeled as lying and the data censured to protect the innocent.

Not all industries kept up with inflation.  During the economic downturn and sluggish recovery, many states could not afford cost of living increases.  Inflation reduced quality of life for many state workers and teachers. Since most earn salary minimum wage increases will not help.

The logic for the increase is to make it easier to afford essentials such as health care.  Recently the ACA employer mandate required employers to subsidize health insurance. Employers have been obligated to provide a benefit, direct monetary gain, to employees.  In essence, this increased the minimum income substantially. At the very least, the demand should be reduced to account for a benefit no longer fully required.

Pro arguments involve grass greener comparisons.  Biased media purposely select individuals to interview based on intended message.  We feel sorry for the individual who works crazy hours to afford expenses. But, isn’t this everybody shouldn’t we applaud them!  A medical intern may earn only $56,000 per year, for 52 weeks, at average 80 hours per week, resulting in $13.46/hour. Plus the medical intern has costs of 8 years of loans.  Eight years of intense studying (most college students are not the entitled frat guys portrayed in film) prevents other income, as well as delay in family creation, that are lost opportunity costs.

The movement disregards global economic reality.  We live in an age of high speed transportation and instantaneous communication.  Workers around the globe want our jobs even with low pay and no health insurance.  The $15 per hour minimum wage sends more jobs overseas. This isn’t right or wrong, fair or unfair, it is reality.  Mandated wage increases inevitably cause fewer high paying jobs. Jobs equal self-determination.

Alan Burke