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The bottom line

At one time the phrase “the bottom line” was in vogue. Although a phrase of the past, it is still the principle governing corporate America.

The bottom line as to the minimum wage is this: the glut of low-wage workers has enabled employers to keep wages low. Workers have lost virtually all bargaining power. The current minimum wage is not only far below what it should be for inflation and productivity adjustments, it is far below a living wage. The bottom line: economic fairness dictates that the wage be increased appropriately and indexed for automatice increses in the future.

The arguments against the increase are rhetorical; even if there is some truth, fairness trumps all and the only bargaining power low-wage workers have is government intervention. However, one argument that cannot be dismissed out of hand is that corporate America (shortsighted, greedy and, yes, stupid) will focus on the bottom line and thus hours will be reduced. The increase in the minimum wage is a step towards economic fairness, but passage will mark the begining, not the end, of the struggle to have an economy that lifts all ships with the rising tide. No doubt President Obama would trumpet an increase in the minimum wage as a victory. There is no indication that he could or would after winning this battle, go on to win a war against the corporate and individual greed that is the hallmark of American society.

Asher Fried

Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Feb 11 2014 - 11:22am

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