Seattle has decided to raise their minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour. Nice folks in Seattle…very generous.

However, there was one person eliminated from the debate as to whether to raise the minimum wage or not: It was the employer – the owner of the company. That person had nothing to say about this. Whether the employer can afford to pay more money is irrelevant. Whether he can stay in business is of no importance. It is "social justice" that is the main concern of the proponents of higher wages. After all, like President Obama said, "How can anybody be against higher wages"!  

Well, maybe it’s the person that has to pay them. Maybe it's the employer who may lose his business; or unable to expand as he hoped; or not be able to employ any new people; or worse, be forced to fire employees he would love to keep; or be forced to pass on the higher cost to low income consumers.

As we see protesters carrying signs demanding an increase in wages, we see no signs of people demanding an increase in intelligence. Evidently ability and competence has nothing to do with higher wages. No, first-time-workers are demanding an immediate wage raise now, even though they are new and have little or no experience on the job.

There was a time when we had apprentices. They weren't paid a minimum wage, in fact they weren't paid a wage at all. They first had to learn a trade. Once they did, they would be hired and if they were good, they would progress from there. They would make more as they got better at what they did. But not today. In today’s entitlement society, many demand what they want first, and then perhaps, they will earn it later. (If an employee is in the government sector he may never need to learn more or improve his skills and may get a bonus anyway).

The advocates of raising the minimum wage believe a third party taking money from the owner of a business and giving it to his employee -- regardless of the employment contract they voluntarily signed together -- is only “fair”. The contract between employer and employee becomes null and void if society deems their interest comes first. In today's world "society" determines what goes -- not the market, not the fundamentals of a business, not consumer demand, and certainly not the employer.

All that is important is that people should be nice, and considerate, and care about those on the bottom ladder of life. They think we should have a minimum wage of $10 dollars an hour. No! $15 dollars would be better. But $20 would be much better! And what does the employer have to say about this? Nothing!  We never even ask. The employer is immaterial. He only cares about profit and loss. Doesn’t he know that individual rights and property rights are passé? Doesn’t he know he must yield to the majority?

I'd like all of you who believe this, that money should be taken from those who have a lot and given to those who don't... to all agree to let the rest of the world, especially the third world, decide how much of your money they should get, and how much you should be allowed to keep. I want you all to agree that whatever the majority of those poor nations, that are not making a living wage say is fair, you will abide by.

No? I didn’t think so.

Yet, that’s exactly what Seattle decided to do this week.

Paul Nathan