Letter to the Editor: Not all wages are equal

I feel compelled to once again respond to a recent letter to the editor regarding the ongoing drumbeat to raise the minimum wage. (“Are some burdens heavier than others?” Jan. 22)

Mr. Sowers of Harbeson begins by making a reasoned case against some of the poorly supported arguments of others against raising the minimum wage. Then, unfortunately he begins touting the “benefits” of state control of the economy by citing the “free” accomplishments of government spending such as “free” highway construction and “free” welfare. There are few things in life that are free. Truly free things are gifts and donations that are freely made by the donor and not compelled by government fiat.

What I am not hearing from those who espouse a government-imposed minimum wage is the process of determining what that wage should be. In recent years this campaign has centered upon a wage of $15/hour and has described such a figure as a “living wage”.

Yet what I am not hearing is any definition of a “living wage.” I am also not hearing how such a government-imposed figure allows for equity in every state and region of our country.

Are the proponents of a nationally imposed wage saying that it should be identical in mid-town New York City versus the farming communities of the Deep South or the streets of San Francisco? In my opinion, to argue that this wage should be equally applied throughout the land ignores the science of economics.

The debate on this topic I think is best addressed by a quote from the late Justice Louis D. Brandeis. “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

Robert Gouge
Middletown