Minimum wage laws are a primary reason for the demise of rural and
inner city communities. These are low rent areas where the
cost-of-living can be ten to twenty times less than expensive city areas.
The low-cost areas began to fail with the advent of minimum wage.
The slow-paced stores, cafes, gas stations closed. Communities
unraveled as businesses and job mentors left. Learning a work ethic
was lost as new workers were unable to find entry level jobs.
Vandalism and crime followed. Tens of thousands of businesses and
homes were boarded up or bulldozed. Government spent billions trying
to revitalize inner cities.
Rural dwellers that drove five miles to shop, must now drive an
extra twenty or more. The poor and the young lack transportation to
jobs and shopping. Inner city dwellers are compelled to move or face
long commutes for work. Having thousands of mom-and-pop businesses
provided shopping and services to bus travelers. Bus stations closed.
Imagine having a home that rents for $300 or less in a country
town with a nearby easy-going job. It's possible without minimum wage.
Wal-Mart aggressively lobbies for minimum wage increases which
suppress community stores with lower profit margins.
The stores, motels, hotels that survive have become havens for hard
working ethnic families. These are the most marginal and difficult
businesses in America. Often the children and the elderly pitch in
with stocking and cleaning without pay, and no family member clears
minimum wage. Cultural groups without these values get edged out,
creating tensions. Stereotyping and classification result. Reverend
Al Sharpton calls ethnic shopkeepers "interlopers." Even noted civil
rights leader, Andrew Young, recently resigned his position with
Wal-Mart after a rant against Jewish, Korean, and Arab shopkeepers.
Soberly speaking to a reporter, as a representative of Wal-Mart, he
said he was glad to see them packing off to Florida! He later
apologized for his "demagogic" remarks and then tried to rationalize
Inner city areas and small towns had character and personality.
Big box stores and corporate chains are the same everywhere. They are
impersonal and abusive to employees. they foster sonsumerism and push
us to foreign products over U.S. manufacturing. Wal-Mart faces massive
lawsuits for discrimination against women, minorities, and for
compelling workers to clock out and work overtime. They have paid
millions of dollars in fines for environmental abuses. They have
successfully pressured numerous U.S. businesses to move high paying
manufacturing jobs to China, forcing hundreds of competitors to rapidly
move their own production lines to China. Wal-Mart has also received
billions of dollars in government subsidies, while small businesses and
individuals pay the tax load. No wonder the Walton family is worth
almost 100 billion dollars. That's right: $100,000,000,000!
We have encouraged lawlessness. People are moved to hire illegal
aliens for less than minimum wage since the illegals are glad to have
the work, don't pay taxes, and cannot expose themselves to the law.
This is a covert world of employment almost exclusive to illegal
aliens. This one factor alone overwhelms our border security.
Human smugglers demand money, hold children hostage, imprison and beat illegals to get them to work in sweat shops, as undocumented farm
laborers, in prostitution, and in drug rings. Huge criminal empires
have formed around these illegal activities. They kill hundreds of
people each year. And each year thousands of vehicles are stolen. It
is a reason the U.S. imports an ever increasing number of used car
parts from Mexico.
Most illegals build favorable relationships, develop good work
performance, learn English, and buy fake residency papers. Some
borrow, share, invent or steal identity. Most of the over ten million
that stay earn better than minimum wage!
Inexpensive places can be staging areas for talent. Students,
innovators, athletes, artists, musicians, composers, writers are given
the time and find inspiration in these diverse cultural settings to
polish their craft and perform. Some of these areas become magnets for
like-minded talent and the well-to-do that admire them.
We trade freedom, diversity, and a wide spectrum of economic
values for the single-minded goal of fast paced productivity work.
Some people: young mothers, students with erratic schedules, seniors,
those with physical or mental limitations, that otherwise would find
appropriate work in a less structured world, end up on assistance.
Minimum wage is impersonal, built on bureaucratic rules and paperwork.
Without minimum wage, we have a more personal world where families,
neighbors, and employers focus on solving an individual's problems.
That is the intangible essence of community.
Incrementally, through numerous minimum wage increases, we have
been destroying the heart and soul of America. The result of this
arbitrary feel-good legislation has been devastation to our
communities. Why can we not allow a person to make their own choice of
where to work? After all, we encourage people to volunteer their time.
Economists that support minimum wage focus their studies on one
rate hike or one city. They lack universal historical perspective, are
unable to make a compelling economic argument, and are uniformly guided by political bias. It would be like me suggesting minimum wage laws
cause inflation, when other factors like shortages of housing, higher
tax rates, national debt, balance of trade debt, interest and insurance
rates, lack of competition, government intrusion in the marketplace for
the benefit of special interests, the cost of fuel and commodities,
foreign interventions, criminal activity, etc.,
must be considered.
These economists make arguments that are so poor, inarticulate,
and downright dishonest as to make a travesty of their profession.
They preach dubious old school economics of the production line and
inventory turnover, and have given us a throwaway society. They
believe minimum wage will get the poor off their duffs and into more
productive work. We are left with paternalistic jargon, media sound
bites, and early morning employee pep talks. They do not understand
that it is an intrinsic economic value to be free. They tell us the
emperor is wearing beautiful clothes and lead us into a terrible
nightmare called minimum wage.
There are no net economic benefits for minimum wage. There is
self-righteous satisfaction that minimum wage somehow creates wealth.
It hasn't and it will not. It is an empty, cynical, political ploy.
The forced small pay increases lead to major long-term economic
disruptions. It takes an ever improving economy to lift real wages.
Minimum wage laws disproportionately hurt the poor, divide
cultural groups, and interfere with natural entry level job training.
They create waste, breaking up communities and families. They force
reliance on automobiles, foreign goods, and illegal aliens. They
regiment our thinking, stifle talent, and foment political resentment.
They limit access to goods and services, and concentrate economic and
political power in the hands of a select few. They lead us to greater
government spending and higher taxes. Ending minimum wage will give
our economy competition, the individual convenience, and society a
sense of community. No to minimum wage!
A personal statement
David A. Weary Coordinator
Environmental Communications Network
a 501(c)(3)nonprofit organization
332 E. Ellis Dr.
Tempe, AZ 85282