During testimony after the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, clothing manufacturers objected to new protective legislation on the ground that the percentage of employees killed due to occupational hazards was quite small. One of the advocates of the legislation responded "For those who die, its 100%." Al Smith, then in progressive mode, working with Robert Wagner (the Tammany Twins), remarked "That's good Catholic doctrine."Would it be equally good Catholic doctrine to add to the minimum wage laws that the hourly rate of pay for the lowest paid worker in any enterprise shall provide, at full time employment, excluding any overtime, an annual income equal to 1/30 the total annual compensation of the highest paid executive? Then we wouldn't have to worry about the guy with the bow and arrow, or what he's going to do with the money.
Siarlys Jenkins:A minimum wage causes unemployment and inflation. It is helpful to those already employed at the bottom of the payscale and hurts everyone else.
Patrick Button:Evidence?That tired canard has been making the rounds since the first federal minimum wage, 25 cents an hour, was first passed into law. Oh the moaning and wailing from employers who were living rather well even during the Great Depression... but in fact, business improved as a direct result of "the least of these" having more money to spend, and a list of essentials they'd been waiting to spend it on.When the City of Santa Monica considered raising the minimum wage in the city above that for the State of California (actually a difficult thing to do for such a small jurisdiction), one restaurant owner told a reported in front of a TV camera "That would cut into 20 percent of my profit." Well, that's the idea. If 20 percent of your profit would substantially improve things for all of your employees, you are binding the mouths of the kine who tread the grain, and its about time you gave them a bigger share of the net revenue generated by their labor as well as yours.Frankly, if the minimum wage DID help those already employed at the bottom of the pay scale, and hurt everyone else, I'd still be for it. About time we all made a small sacrifice for those at the bottom of the payscale. But in fact, when it goes from $6 to $7 an hour, those previously making $7 an hour generally see an increase, in the next year or two, to $7.50 or $8.00.If you want to prevent inflationary results, Walter Reuther once proposed to General Motors a contract which provided that GM would not raise the price of a car during the life of the contract. They fought that one tooth and nail -- not because it would put them in the red, but because they weren't willing to share the existing revenue. Indeed, large companies WILL raise their prices to cover wage contracts, but Reuther had the right idea.
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