Letter: Free market shouldn’t subsidize business
Re “Actually, there are better options than raising the minimum wage” (Sunday Monitor Forum, Feb. 16):
Michael Saltsman suggests a state supplement to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit as an alternative to raising the minimum wage. This would be paid out of tax revenue raised by everyone in New Hampshire. But he does not acknowledge that when employers pay less than a living wage, workers collect benefits from the government to provide the difference between their paycheck and the cost of living barely above the poverty rate. This is a government subsidy of the employee costs of that business.
Workers paid less than a living wage are forced to turn to the government for the benefits that keep them alive and sheltered. The system actually operates as a subsidy of two groups: the business that refuses to pay a living wage and the consumer who pays less than the price a good or service should cost.
As a successful businessman, I do not want my taxes used to boost the profits other businesses, nor to make non-essential goods cheap.
Would we be willing to pay the same amount we spend on welfare as a direct payment to businesses and consumers? No, but that is what the system of low wages and poverty-based assistance actually does.
Goods and services provided by a business should cost what a free market says they are worth. Our current minimum wage, combined with government assistance, distorts the free market valuation and provides profits that are not earned. If paying the workers a living wage increases the price of whatever the business is providing, the market will decide if the cost is worth the good or service. The consumer will either pay the price, or decide it isn’t worth it, and do without.
A free market should not subsidize business.