Terry Paulson

Son: Just when I start to think Republicans might be right about Obamacare, they show once again that the only citizens they care about are the rich! The gap between the rich and the poor in this country keeps growing, and they won't even support increasing the minimum wage.

Dad: Do you know why?

Son: Greed! They don't want to pay more. They're just looking out for themselves!

Dad: As economist Thomas Sowell observed, ”I have never understood why it is 'greed' to keep the money you have earned, but not 'greed' to try to take somebody else's money." Sure, most people want to keep more of what they've earned. After all, the top 10% of earners already pay over 70% of the income taxes.

Son: They can afford it.

Dad: Many high earners own small companies which are struggling in this economy. With higher healthcare costs, a higher minimum wage just adds costs and cuts profits.

Son: They're still wealthy.

Dad: Wealth can disappear as fast as it's celebrated. If business profits take a major drop, would you have that minimum wage rolled back?

Son: Of course not!

Dad: Now, you know one of the reasons the GOP doesn't support minimum wage increases or higher taxes. They rarely come down once raised. But it's more than just higher taxes. When small businesses have to pay more to entry workers, they hire fewer workers, use more automation, or even move operations elsewhere.

Son: That's happening anyway.

Dad: This just accelerates that at a time more and more people are having trouble finding jobs. Most economists agree; a minimum wage increase creates more unemployment.

Son: You can't live on a minimum wage job.

Dad: You're not supposed to. Many receiving minimum wage are young people who live with their parents. Most are part of multi-income households. Just over 10% of the people making minimum wage live in households below the poverty line. Such entry-level jobs serve as a proving ground for a worker's value. If you do a great job, serve the customer, apply yourself, and learn new skills, you're likely to be promoted or move to another better paying job.

Son: Not everyone gets a better job.

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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