Letter: Minimum wage

April 15, 2014 

In the State of the Union Address, President Obama spoke of raising the minimum wage for federal contractors and encouraged states and companies to do the same. He then made a statement that shocked me: "Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty."

If it is true that "Americans overwhelmingly agree" with the president's statement, I believe it is cause for serious concern.

Please do not misunderstand me. I think we should work as a country to help those around us who are in poverty. I strongly disagree that raising the minimum wage will accomplish this.

Workers should be given incentives to be more productive. It was my belief that Americans overwhelmingly agree that a person should be paid what the market determines their contributions are worth. Requiring that someone be paid more without requiring that he or she create more value for society at best leads to inflation and at worst leads to job reduction, harming the very people minimum wage policies intend to help. The only sustainable way to create more real wealth as an individual, company or nation is to add more value to society.

MARSHALL MERRILL, Richland

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