Op/Ed By Michael Vaughn
Is raising the minimum wage really a good idea right now? A few weeks ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested New York state raise its minimum wage to at least $10 per hour. For my high-school aged son, this may be a a good thing; he is happy about the prospect. This is likely the effect the governor would like to have with all those who are making minimum wage. He wants to them to be happy. However, he would likely be getting a different response, if people only thought a little bit. As a result, in this week’s column, I would like to provide some “food for thought.”
One of the things I’ve tried to do in these columns is to have people think for themselves. Not allowing politicians to put thoughts into their minds, and for them to speak to their emotions, instead of their intellect. If people would think a little, I think they would see the governor’s proposal has been flawed.
Here are a few things to think about. The idea that folks making minimum wage will be able to pocket all of the governor’s proposed increase flies in the face of how capitalism works. Companies are in the business of making the most money they can. Therefore, when labor costs increase because of a minimum wage increase, they will likely cut costs by either getting rid of workers, reducing employee benefits, and/or passing the cost on to customers.
And, passing the cost on to customers, or reducing employee benefits, would increase the expenses folks who just got a wage increase would likely have to pay. That would, therefore, take away the increase they just received, and leave them without any extra discretionary spending.
In addition, another thought I had came from when the governor explained why there was a need for an increase in minimum wage. He said workers need a wage increase because of the high cost of living in New York state!
I truly believe that, if he were to be able to hear himself before he said it; he would never have said such a thing. Here is the governor of the state, who has created a budget which continues to increase spending, and has been paid for by increasing the tax burden of New Yorkers. If he really wanted to put more money into the hands of those who have been making minimum wage, he would work with the legislature, and get rid of the many taxes and unfunded mandates which currently choke the state.
A significant overhaul of the New York state budget, and cutting taxes, would go a long way toward increasing the real income of New Yorkers, and likely would amount to much more than his proposed minimum wage increase.
Whenever a politician speaks about putting more money into your pockets, before getting excited, you need to ask where they will get the additional money from. In our country, we essentially have a closed-loop system. The government is not like a business which makes money. The government takes money, and, therefore, any money they give has been taken from someone else. The issue seems to be that, since everyone loves getting an increase in one hand, they likely have not paid attention to what the government has been taking with the other hand.
I would not begrudge someone earning a living wage; however, when the governor uses the high cost of living in New York State as a reason to raise the minimum wage, it is evident he is only making this claim to try and shore up votes, as opposed to really helping the people of this state, and, more specifically, those making minimum wage! Real income should begin with the worker keeping more of what they have worked hard to obtain!
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