We all pay the price when work­ers earn less than a liv­ing wage

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION - Join the de­bate at wash­ing­ton­post.com/lo­cal-opin­ions

Re­gard­ing the Aug. 2 ed­i­to­rial “Sober­ing news for min­i­mum-wage boost­ers”:

I agree with Mont­gomery County Coun­cil mem­ber Marc El­rich (D-At Large) that a re­cent min­i­mum-wage study is se­ri­ously flawed. Ask­ing busi­ness own­ers for their pro­jec­tions ob­vi­ously would pro­duce bi­ased re­sults. The pro­jected 23 per­cent loss in jobs re­sult­ing from in­creas­ing the min­i­mum from $11.50 to $15 per hour in­di­cates that there is an ex­tremely small mar­gin for pay­roll, which is dif­fi­cult to credit.

These stud­ies ap­par­ently do not take into ac­count other fac­tors. How many peo­ple may be able to stop work­ing two or more jobs to make ends meet? We of­ten hear about trickle-down eco­nom­ics, which is no­to­ri­ously in­ef­fec­tive. What about the ex­tra money that would stay in the com­mu­ni­ties where it was earned? Trickle-out eco­nom­ics?

The ed­i­to­rial board men­tioned the per­sonal and so­ci­etal ben­e­fits of pay­ing a true liv­ing wage. The mon­e­tary value of these ben­e­fits is hard to quan­tify and pre­dict; how­ever, they con­trib­ute greatly to build­ing stronger and more peace­ful com­mu­ni­ties, which is some­thing we des­per­ately need.

Al­low­ing busi­nesses to pay less than a liv­ing wage is the worst form of so­cial­ism. Such busi­nesses pros­per be­cause so­ci­ety bears the bur­den of fam­i­lies liv­ing in poverty. The price that we all pay for such a sys­tem is un­sus­tain­able and un­con­scionable.

Charles Goedeke, Lau­rel

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