Minimum wage concerns unfounded

I cannot believe that people are still using the same tired old argument that raising the minimum wage is a job killer. I am an economist and Mark Walker may be the publisher of the Western News, but he doesn’t know jack about economics.

I come from a family that has owned 15 businesses over a 40-year period and we never worried about an increase in the minimum wage. In fact we were all for it, as it gave more people the ability to buy what we were selling. Also, Mark should know that a high tide raises all boats. As more people have more buying power then the economy will grow faster. Simple economics 101.

If we never raised the minimum wage then there would be no benchmark to set the wages of skilled and unskilled workers. Henry Ford, when opening his first auto plant, paid his workers way above the going rate with the idea that his workers should be able to buy the product they were making. Simple idea, but helped lead to the great industrial revolution that made the West richer and richer.

As for Mark’s worry that the unskilled will not be hired, this could not be further from the truth. The simple fact is that all people are unskilled to start with and are trained to be skilled. So any company that thinks it can survive without training a workforce is already out of business. Given the demographics of the West, I can see the minimum wage going through the roof over the next 15 years, and if companies don’t like it, they can close up and let the real businessmen take over.

Hey Mark, ever been to Europe? They make way more than we do, get six weeks paid vacation a year, have way better free health care (read the article in Macleans magazine dated Jan. 31, 2011 ) and are more productive. Plus they don’t pay any more in taxes on average than we do. I guess their companies just aren’t as greedy.

Lastly, the minimum wage in the most expensive province in Canada should also be the highest. In fact even after we reach $10.25 per hour, we will only be second highest and Nunavut, with the highest, seems to be doing just fine. The sky never even fell, imagine that.

Kirby Houde

 

Penticton