I disagree with your April 18 editorial, “Our View: Push for minimum wage is push for living wage.”

We know that wages and the overall economy have been relatively stagnant. Proposing a higher minimum wage as a remedy, however, is like saying, “We know that alcohol will kill disease germs, so we should all drink more alcohol.”

Raising the minimum wage, like drinking alcohol, might be popular with some, and it might make us all feel that at least we’re doing something, but it might actually make the economy, and our health, worse.

A higher minimum wage for some will mean higher wages for others close to the new minimum. It will mean higher costs for employers, which, in turn, will lead to higher prices for goods and services and lower profits, or a loss for business owners who must compete with neighboring states and other countries for their sales.

Small and large businesses, especially those at the margin, will be forced to lay off workers, move out of state or close. Free enterprise works best when employees and employers are free to negotiate wages freely.

Our workers today have many more protections than their 19th-century counterparts – like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Labor Relations Board and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

They also have a freer press and the Internet to help them shine light on illegal employment practices and to find alternative employment.

Let’s not trade one problem for an even bigger problem. Let’s let employers determine what they can pay for the work that is done.

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