Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Minimum Wage Addendum

There is a decent post up on the Economist's blog concerning the minimum wage. It presents a few of the rarer arguments against the minimum wage, but what caught my eye was its explanation for why many Big Businesses support an increase:
CEO's who support higher minimum wages are not, as the media often casts them, renegade heros speaking truth to power because their inner moral voice bids them be silent no more. They are by and large, like Mr Sinegal, the heads of companies that pay well above the minimum wage. Forcing up the labour costs of their competitors, while simultaneously collecting good PR for "daring" to support a higher minimum, is a terrific business move. But it is not altruistic, nor does it make him a "maverick". Costco's biggest competitor, Wal-Mart, also supports a higher minimum wage, and for the same reason. Wal-Mart's average wage is already above the new minimum; it will cost the company little, while possibly forcing mom-and-pop stores that compete with Wal-Mart out of business. This seems blindingly obvious to me. Though I don't expect we'll see "the minimum wage—it's great for Wal-Mart!" in many Democratic campaign commercials.
Just wanted to make sure that all those in favor of increasing the minimum wage know that a) They are taking Wal-Mart's side on the issue and b) They are pushing out mom-and-pop stores so they can feel better about themselves while making no sacrifices.

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