David Brooks made some good points in “Take a hike, minimum wage increases” (Commentary, July 27), but he missed two critical ones.
First, “the market is really good at setting prices,” but that price is fair only if market access is equitable.
Governmental action — namely, the laws allowing the formation of corporations — has enabled the creation of massive economic institutions. That strength in turn has created a gross imbalance in bargaining power against the lone worker.
Attempts to redress the balance, like allowing labor unions or establishing a living minimum wage, are seen as interference rather than action.
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Without them, however, the invisible hand of the marketplace becomes an iron fist.
Second, people aren’t just economic factors; they are people. If the price of a thing goes up or down it makes a difference to the fortunes of those trading in it.
If the minimum wage won’t sustain a person in the here and now, never mind a family, it matters not that better jobs await at some unknown future point.
The hike in the minimum wage is long overdue and much needed.