The Daily Signal by Ken McIntyre
Dear Daily Signal: Jarrett Stepman writes in opposition to Seattle’s having raised the minimum wage: “Lincoln saw the ‘opportunity society’ and reaping the fruits of one’s labor as fundamental to the growth and underlying goodness of America. It was one of the many reasons he so fiercely opposed slavery.”
Yikes, this commentary sounds profoundly trite, and is a poor representation of the fundamental reasons Lincoln fiercely opposed slavery (“Seattle Hiked Its Minimum Wage. Here’s How It’s Impacting Low-Income Workers”). It also is a weak argument supporting the thesis of the article.
I think there can be a reasonable compromise that allows even low-skilled workers to earn a living wage. The problem with $7.50 an hour is that the take-home portion is simply not enough to support a person with even one dependent.
In that sense, the free market, left to itself, will perpetuate a slave class of low-wage workers. Solutions are neither easy nor obvious, in my opinion, and a $15-an-hour minimum wage probably, by itself, is not an effective “one size fits all” answer.
But arguing that Lincoln saw the “opportunity society,” etc., seems like a red herring to me. Lincoln would spin in his grave if he saw this phrase listed as one of the top 10 reasons he so fiercely opposed slavery.
It’s an interesting way to try to tie an 1850s Republican Party leader to the Republican Party of today, but in reality it’s just a ridiculous stretch.—John Levin
I guess it went over your head, John Levin, but it seems spot on and relevant to me. If you price low-skilled and inexperienced workers out of the market, you’re dooming them to be slaves to welfare. But they don’t even get the satisfaction of doing anything productive. There is no good in that.—Alan Mackenthun…