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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 16, 2013 at 8:05 AM

Mandating minimum wage robs the most disadvantaged

Won’t help the most vulnerable get a job

The $15 minimum wage debate is fascinating. Even Mayor-elect Ed Murray expresses support. Let’s think this out.

It was my honor and opportunity to start working away from home at age 10. The irreplaceable life skills and experience it provided included a solid work ethic, personal responsibility, perseverance and the appreciation of small-business owners. I never saw a paycheck based on the mandated minimum wage before turning 21.

One original purpose of the Davis-Bacon Act federal minimum wage was to force employers to pay wages high enough to hire whites over blacks. Today minimum wage laws create discrimination against minorities, the unskilled and young entry-level workers. At $15 per hour, what business would consider hiring an ambitious, but inexperienced, prospective employee? Who would keep 12 workers on the staff if nine workers could be motivated at the new wage to take up the slack?

Some view profit as an obscene concept and think business owners are “making it on the backs of the poor.” In 57 years of employment, I never got a paycheck from a closed business or a bankrupt entrepreneur.

An entry-level job is a trade-off between accepting a starting wage and being taught vital skills to rise in the workforce. Mandating any minimum wage only robs the most disadvantaged among us.

Jeffrey Howard, Redmond

Comments | More in minimum wage | Topics: Minimum Wage

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