Re: “Portland Greens to push for $15 ‘livable wage’ in the city” (March 5):

How many manufacturers do you think will locate to Portland with a mandated $15-an-hour minimum wage? Are the Greens aware of what Chinese companies (paying $2 an hour) did to Maine’s shoe manufacturers? And they want to make it more difficult to compete? Or is Portland just to be a restaurant and tourist town, where nobody makes anything?

If I paid my employees $15 an hour, they’d make $1.50 an hour more than I do, their employer. I make a living because I work a lot of hours. With a higher wage cost, I’d cut employee hours and work more myself.

The Greens glibly advocate price hikes to compensate, but what if your biggest competitor is Amazon, which already enjoys tremendous price advantages over local businesses?

Minimum-wage jobs are not intended as careers, nor should they be expected to pay a livable wage. These are supplemental jobs for teens, college students, retirees and second-income earners. Want higher pay? Get more sophisticated job skills and work elsewhere.

The Greens like to crow about the Australian minimum wage of over $16 an hour. What they fail to add is that while the Aussies’ disposable income (money left after taxes) is slightly above the the U.S., their consumer and rent costs are 20 percent higher, and the average house costs twice what it does here. Melbourne, in fact, has a 36 percent overall higher cost of living than New York.

When measuring what economists call purchasing power parity, Portland would need to pay a $10-$11 minimum wage to match Australia. But even this level would place Portland among the highest minimum payers in the world. That’s a burden no local business should be expected to shoulder.

Marc McCutcheon

South Portland