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The Implications of Increased Wages and the Impact in a Capitalist Construct

Op/Ed By Wallace Mabry


Wallace Mabry

Wallace Mabry

Pastor Michael Vaughn contends, in his editorial “Something to Think About: The Ramifications of an Increase in Minimum Wage,” that raising the minimum wage of fast food workers to $15 an hour will negatively impact employers, who will be faced with having to, (1) increase the cost of goods (fast foods) to recoup lost income, and (2) cut back on the work force, resulting in a upward spiral of the unemployment rate.

These minimum-wage workers, he contends, instead of struggling for fair pay, for a fair day’s work, have access to government programs (read the dole or welfare), which they can use to pull themselves up out of the mire of poverty and degradation.

Pastor Vaughn seems content to let big business (the big corporations that pay to have government officials make laws and create wars that run counter to the betterment of the people, solely to finance their global endeavors, and their lavish lifestyles) set market prices, and realize humongous profits, at the expense of the poor, the impoverished, and the working masses.

Increasing hourly wages to bring incomes in line with the upward climb in the cost of living has been a struggle with a long history. One could be assailed with questions surrounding the value of labor, how that value is determined, and how the worker, who sells his labor, can cause employers to acquiesce to the worker’s demands for fair pay, for a fair day’s work. It’s a conundrum worker’s unions have been up against for decades.

Big business and manufacturers, meanwhile, have moved their work to China and Mexico, where cheap labor abounds, turnings out goods that are sold in America as high-end merchandise, grossing billions of dollars in sales, yearly.

A rise in wages would indeed set things in motion. The cost of necessities like food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and even communication would rise commensurate with the rise in wages. That is a dynamic that has been going on throughout the history of America. Remember when a pack of cigarettes cost $.35? Remember when gas cost $.65 a gallon? Remember when a brand new Chevy Corvette 350 cost $10,000?

As wages have increased, so has the cost of necessities and sports cars. That is a historical fact. Welcome to America, the seedbed of capitalism.