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Use the Free Market to Raise the Minimum Wage

This may sound crazy, but how about we use the free market to raise the minimum wage instead of a government mandate?  I thought about this while watching the President give a speech recently in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Speaking at the University of Michigan, the President called on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.  The President says it would lift wages for 28 million Americans.

While I oppose government-mandated raises in the minimum wage, I do believe people should be paid well.  This is why when I shop; I tend to support places that pay higher wages.  So that means a big box store like Costco is more likely to get my business than Wal-Mart.  A downtown restaurant will always get my business over McDonald’s or Burger King.  And I am one of those people who have no issue with shelling out $3-$4 for a venti Pike’s Blend.

Now of course, because I choose to shop at places that pay higher wages, I also get the consequence of paying higher prices.  Which means in order for Starbucks to pay up to $13 an hour for someone to make me a tall cup of coffee with a double shot of expresso; they have to charge me more.  And I’m cool with that.  I demand a certain product done in a certain way and I am willing to pay for it.  I am using the free market to encourage companies and employers to pay higher wages.

And for all my friends who support raising the minimum wage, I suggest you do the same.  Instead of buying items on the cheap, start hitting the most expensive stores in town and purchase your everyday goods and services.  Spend $5 on a cup of coffee and $10 for a cheeseburger. In other words, practice what you preach to the rest of us.  And if enough if you do it, we could see wages rise in no time.

It’s one thing to run your mouth and call for increases in the minimum wage.  It’s another thing to put your money there.

  • IndyJeffrey

    Abdul, the last time I spotted you, you were taking your date, presumably Mrs Abdul, to dinner at Buca di Beppo. Hardly the bastion of high wage paying establishments.

    Also, not to go all Econ 101 on you, but decreasing the supply of customers to low wage paying establishments is probably not the most effective “use of the free market” to cause the wages of those folks increase.

  • malercous

    Abdul; the “Free Market” is exactly why we need minimum wage laws. The “free market” is a great excuse to exploit desperate people, sweatshops, child labor, no overtime, etc. It also explains why IN has a lower avg wage than the rest of the nation.
    Raising the min. wage will get people off food stamps & other gov. assistance programs, which is supposed to be something Republicans are in favor of. The last time the min. wage was raised, I made a point of checking for the increase in fast food prices since the Right assured us they would rise. That did not happen even 6 months later.
    Republicans tout the free market as the answer to every problem, which is far from reality. If the free market was so great we never would have had to create all the regulations we have curbing the excesses free markets create. Ever hear of Adam Smith? Republicans cite him all the time in defense of free markets, which shows they either: 1) haven’t actually read him or, 2) intentionally ignore a big part of what he wrote because it doesn’t fit with their “beliefs.”
    You’ve seemed to me to be a fairly honest person, so I’ll presume that you haven’t actually read “Wealth of Nations” & thus make your arguments out of ignorance,rather than being intentionally deceitful. Adam Smith was adamant about the need for the regulation in the marketplace; he thought it not only a good thing, but very necessary for the system to work. Smith was against monopolies, the political influence of $, contract enforcement, currency speculation, & predatory lending are among areas he favored gov. regulation.
    But arguably, the most important area Smith favored regulations was for protecting workers against abuses by employers. Plainly stated: Adam Smith would be in favor of minimum wage laws that gave workers a means to support themselves. Yet, you argue for the opposite. Maybe you could actually read his work so the next time you tout free-markets as a cure-all, you won’t get caught looking foolish. Or perhaps you know more about capitalism than the guy literally wrote the book on it?
    Still love ya guy. My offer still stands to take you out to the range so you can shoot assault rifles, pistols & shotguns. A few pics of you moving lead would buff your cred in the G.O.P. Holler at me next time you’re near STL if you want.

  • Emily

    Malercous, educate yourself please! You can thank the free market for you’re ability to access this blog, use the internet, have and use a computer/tablet/smartphone within which you can post comments on the sites the free market has created for everyone, including you, to access and read… No other system would ever get the results you demand – get people off of food stamps, off of government assistance programs, than a Free Market economy would. This is common sense regardless of one’s emotional, political biases… Raising the minimum wage would lead to massive job loss, businesses going under, businesses using the free market to replace the jobs held by people with new technology to cut costs and avoid any increases in minimum wage and government intrusion via wage regulations. Prices won’t raise necessarily bc layoffs would happen to curb costs, aka those people you say would be off food stamps and government assistance programs would not be off of them and actually more people would be joining them to receive such assistance as jobs would be lost.
    Regarding your comments on Adam Smith and the wealth of nations, I suggest you re-read not only your own post but perhaps also the wealth of nations

  • Callan

    Technnically: he’s frequenting an establishment and informs the market that it needs to price lower to get his custom, as such: he’s making things cheaper for the rest of us (including those low wage workers). Same holds for Wal-mart, etc. You can spot the trends in improved efficiency and productivity by thinking in terms of ‘hours worked to get good x’ instead of ‘money earned making good x’