In the Middle: Minimum Wage

Jeremy Fugleberg

Jeremy Fugleberg

I’ve never quite understood why the minimum wage is a flashpoint issue. The Left wants to give the working poor and burger-flipping teens a hand up by raising the base wage. The Right believes it is the guardian of small business. Neither understands the other.

The Left is awkwardly claiming that giving people money will mean they’ll spend it wisely – usually a Right position. But raising the minimum wage will not do much to raise the quality of life. The extra money people get will only buy a few more trash bags at Wal-Mart.

Look, the working poor assume a ridiculous level of risk by taking an honest job. At any given moment, they are one injury or car accident away from our patchwork welfare system.

If you want to make people’s lives better, don’t give them a few more bucks an hour; give them a safety net. Health care is in shambles, especially for the working poor. And in this world of fast-transitioning jobs, benefits are often non-existent.

Both sides are cowards. The minimum wage is easy to argue, simply because it’s a black-and-white issue. It’s time to stop arguing and forge a comprehensive solution to the demon that haunts both small business and the working poor – the high cost of health care.