Letter: Subsidized underclass
In a just society, any business that can't survive without using slave labor doesn't deserve to exist. A genuinely viable business should provide decent, living wages to low-wage workers who constitute an underclass that barely subsists, and the rest of us shouldn't benefit from exploitation of that underclass.
If you examine our present system, the income of America's underclass is supplemented by food and health care assistance provided by taxpayers through programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid. It's a classic case of upward wealth redistribution from American taxpayers to retailers, farmers and other employers who pay their employees less than a living wage.
If the minimum wage were raised to a living wage, some businesses might use that as an excuse to raise prices for some products and services, but that could be offset by lifting the unfair tax burden imposed on American taxpayers to subsidize all those Walmarts and McDonald's. Millions of workers would then have the wherewithal to purchase products and services they could not previously afford, thereby creating new demand for those products and services. Raising the minimum wage to a living wage is a job creation idea we should all embrace.
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MARTIN BENSKY, Richland