Who Decides What Is A Living Wage?

To The Readers’ Forum:

Kevin McElrath’s Readers’ Forum letter of March 11, 2013, typifies why America is in serious economic jeopardy today. One need only look at the one word (which I have capitalized) in the third sentence of his last paragraph – “All workers are ENTITLED to a Living Wage…in order to be self-sufficient.” I’m sorry, but all workers are not entitled to this so-called Living Wage, any more than people who WON’T work are entitled to take a portion of working people’s wages. In fact, no worker should be entitled to be paid anything more than what is agreed upon by the worker and his/her employer. If we are truly a free country, why should anyone else make this decision?

It reminds me of a joke. An employer and prospective employee are discussing terms of his employment. The employer says, “Now don’t worry, I’ll pay you what you’re worth.” To which the potential employee replies, “But I can’t work that cheap.” Bad government, politics, and coercion are to blame for the institution of the Minimum Wage, a bad policy (along with a host of other ones) if there ever was one. It was originally instituted in the ’30’s to prevent blacks (who would work cheaper than their white counterparts) from taking jobs that whites had traditionally done. Read Walter E. Williams’ column in page A4 of the March 8, 2013, Post-Journal.

Mr. McElrath, please tell me who is to decide what a Living Wage is? You, the President, or some impartial alien? In the Worker’s Utopia so many misguided souls dream of today, I suppose they believe the ideal scenario is that everyone should be paid the same (Living) wage from President to ditch-digger (not to disparage ditch-diggers – I personally like ditch-digging. It’s good, honest work, unlike being President.) Please feel free to emigrate to North Korea, or any other country with severely government-controlled economies, if you believe you’re suffering needlessly here (or if you think that type of system has EVER worked anywhere). Our economy is (just barely) breathing under the weight of a multitude of controls that shackle a (supposedly) free market system that could probably run laps around other economies, if we would stop regulating ourselves to death. Logical protections for workers and our environment are necessities, but without a strong economy, our present population cannot sustain itself.

Speaking of shackles, I urge everyone, especially the “Entitlement” types, to read “Harrison Bergeron”, a short story in Kurt Vonnegut’s book, “Welcome to the Monkey House”. May we all wake up before it’s too late, or before we’re all broke. Will the Entitlement folks be happy then?

Samuel Genco,