Letter to the Editor: Increasing minimum wage has effects

The public discourse on the merits of increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour is a cruel hoax perpetrated on the workers in our society who are paid that rate.

The argument is that these workers should be paid a working wage —whatever the definition of that term might be. What is ignored is the inflationary effect that this initiative generates which thus increases the living expenses that these workers incur.

As an example, my grandfather related to me an experience he suffered in the 1930s. At that time he was a firefighter for the city of Wilmington and the City Council voted to give the firefighters a $100/year raise. Given that this was an action by a public body, the newspapers duly reported this raise in their daily editions. My grandfather’s landlord, knowing his employment, promptly raised my grandfather’s rent by $10/month. So my grandfather’s $100 annual raise ended up costing him $120/year.

Increases in compensation that are not linked to increases in productivity are simply inflationary. The inflationary spiral that our society experiences will be self-fulfilling as long as we encourage increases in compensation that are solely based upon inflation.

Robert Gouge

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