Sarah Jaffe of In These Times reports on an effort in Minnesota to fine companies that pay wages so low that employees have to be on state aid. Take Action Minnesota is promoting what it call the “bad business fee,” a fine for each employee who is working while on some form of federal or state support. Jaffe cites a study that claims Walmart employees receive $6.2 billion per year in some form of assistance. That’s $6 billion the American taxpayer is paying to subsidize the nation’s largest private employer – corporate welfare. Jaffe gives several other compelling examples, and I urge you to read her article.
As progressive radio host Thom Hartmann is fond of saying, a business that can’t pay its employees a living wage shouldn’t be in business. People who work for a living shouldn’t have to rely on services that are meant for the poor or unemployed. If we want to promote the work ethic and the dignity of work, we should be as will to say that all workers deserve a living wage. America needs a raise.
Small business owners. Laura Clawson of the Daily Kos reports a surprising result from a poll of small business owners. 57% favor increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Even owners of small restaurants and retail shops favored the change. While the poll was conducted by a Democratic firm, most of those polled identified themselves as Republicans.
Who else should want an increased minimum wage? Conservatives who want to cut spending on food stamps. In a second article, Clawson cites a study from the Center for American Progress that claims an increase in the minimum wage would cut food stamp spending by 1.9%. That might not sound like a large number, but it would total $46 million over ten years. Republicans want to cut the program by $40 million over that time. Those Republicans should do the conservative thing and vote for an increase in the minimum wage since it would lead to an even bigger decrease in spending on food stamps. Increasing the minimum wage – an issue every conservative should love.