Saturday, April 19, 2014

Evidence, from an unlikely source, of the harm in raising the minimum wage...

Catherine Rampell rightly condemns the practice of wage theft in the marketplace. Certain employers, in their attempts to boost, or protect, their bottom lines have resorted---by manipulating time cards, paying less than minimum wage, working employees off the clock, not paying required overtime rates, shifting hours into the next pay period so that overtime isn’t incurred, etc.---to what amounts to a breach of contract with their workers. She would like to see the consequences for such illegal acts stepped up markedly:
Harsher penalties, including prison time, should be on the table more often when willful wrongdoing is proved. Thieves caught stealing thousands of dollars from someone’s home can go to jail; the same should be true for thieves caught stealing thousands of dollars from someone’s paycheck.

What Ms. Rampell's exposé points out is the reality that employers will indeed go to great---and, at times, extreme---lengths to save on labor costs. An aggressive campaign to stamp out wage theft in America may indeed accomplish its objective, but, make no mistake, it will not deter employers from doing what it takes to improve/protect their bottom lines. And, with regard to labor costs, there remains plenty of legal measures to do so: Such as cutting hours, mechanization, reduced benefits and perks, layoffs, and so on.

Ms. Rampell essentially (although unwittingly) proves that the President's proposed 39% hike in the federal minimum wage will, in no small measure, adversely impact many of the folks it intends (or pretends) to help.

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