Although granted a very large space on your editorial page, Ben Michaud’s Aug. 5 column (“Maine Voices: Raising the minimum wage is self-defeating for Maine, bad for business”) can be summed up in one short sentence: Raising the minimum wage hurts profits. As an example, he gives a detailed analysis of the hit that a McDonald’s franchise would take when their labor costs increased.
Michaud’s analysis is grossly oversimplistic, as he does not address the possibility that McDonald’s could raise their prices to maintain their profits (price inflation that the Fed now desires) or the economic benefit resulting from low-wage earners spending almost 100 percent of their newfound income on goods and services right here in Maine.
He doesn’t address how this extra income might reduce benefits that these low-income employees receive from the state or that they may end up paying more in taxes and toward Social Security and Medicare – all long-term positive impacts to the economy.
Heck, your fortnightly Saturday columnist Steve Robinson would likely argue that the higher minimum wage would give a stronger “incentive” for people on welfare to find jobs and go back to work.
But I can sum up my greatest objection to Ben Michaud’s column very simply: He mistakenly believes that the role of government is to enact policy that enables corporations to maximize profits.
I hate to be the one to break the bad news to Mr. Michaud, but the actual role of our government is to do the right thing for the people, not for the corporations. The 30-year “trickle-down” experiment didn’t work.