Corporate Greed Fuels Resistance to Minimum Wage Hike

by David T. Bruce

Many analysts and columnists are insisting that the economy is getting better. The state of the economy is a relative condition, however, as over 12 million Americans remain unemployed, with long-term unemployed men and women accounting for 38 percent of that number. At any rate, this perceived economic recovery has prompted President Obama to offer up an increase in the federal minimum wage over the next two years.

minwageThe arguments against raising the minimum wage are predictable, as they are consistent. Business owners contend that an increase in the minimum wage would force them to pass that cost on to the consumer. As well, the costs associated with paying employees more would limit the number of employees that they could hire, thereby further impacting the unemployment rate. This may be the case, certainly for small business owners who are trying to earn a living, but for those larger corporations that are doing well, these arguments amount to pure greed.

The current minimum wage of $7.25 amounts to $15,080 a year; this places a family of two below the poverty level. This is recovery? To pay rent in 1960, a person would have to work 71 hours at minimum wage ($1); a person would have to work 109 hours at the current minimum wage, to afford rent. This is recovery?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (unaffectionatly referred to as Obamacare by dissenters) compels business owners employing over 50 people to provide those employees with healthcare benefits. Companies such as Wendy’s (in Omaha, Nebraska), Papa John’s and Walmart are systematically structuring their workforce to avoid providing benefits. This is greed. And the bottom line of the argument against increasing the federal minimum wage is greed.

Business owners regularly raise prices to keep pace with inflation. Local utilities and governments do likewise. When will big businesses and governments realize that at some point, prices will be raised so much that they will lose money? The federal government does understand this, as government employees have historically received a cost-of-living allowance to help offset inflation.

The unemployed and underemployed Americans cannot give what they do not have. At some point, everyone will suffer. There is plenty of evidence to support that an increase in minimum wage would be a good thing, and the numbers demonstrate that big businesses continues to prosper while the middle class deteriorates. Every time you read or hear that the economy is improving, you can bet that Wall Street is doing very well, while the rest of us are worse off than we were yesterday.







5 Replies to “Corporate Greed Fuels Resistance to Minimum Wage Hike”

    1. Exactly; And the large corporations and Wall Street are those that benefit. Small businesses do suffer, but the answer is not in forcing wage workers to live in poverty.

      Thanks for your comment.

  1. You make two statements that leave me scratching my head.
    “for small business owners who are trying to earn a living, but for those larger corporations that are doing well, these arguments amount to pure greed.” Each is trying to earn a living, either for themselves or their employees and shareholders. I don’t know what you mean by “doing well”. Profitabity is the reason both small and large businesses exist.
    Second quote – “systematically structuring their workforce to avoid providing benefits. This is greed.” The large companies you mention are restructuring to keep their costs to a point they can maintain certain price levels. These companies are in business to provide value for the customers and shareholders. If they cannot do this, they should cease to exist. Do not blame the companies who devise counter-measures to bad legislation. Blame the Obama administration for devising a bill that forces business to take these actions.

    1. “Doing well” was a polite way of stating that many of these companies are making more than enough money to satisfy their shareholders and maintain a certain standard of living. “Doing well” for small businesses could mean that they are making enough to live on, which in many cases is enough for those that want to own their own business and set their own hours. Those are the true business people who want to provide value for their customers. You will not convince me that Walmart places value for their customers at a premium; their shareholders: absolutely. Yes, they want to be profitable, but they do it on the backs of their employees that they compensate minimally. Minimum wage in this country isn’t even a living wage.

      Speaking of smaller businesses: Papa Johns’s indeed can afford healthcare. By the CEO’s own admission, the cost of healthcare would force an increase of 10 to 14 cents on a large pizza (a .6-.9% increase). But he doesn’t want to pay that. Like I said: greed. Those who develop counter-measures to providing health insurance are showing what they care about most. Not their employees and not their customers. If Walmart can run year-long sales, they can afford insurance for their employees. Obama is not to blame for corporate greed.

      Thanks for your comment – we really appreciate the opportunity to clarify our position.

      -Dave & Shadra

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.