Instead of reciting the minimum wage rates of the 50 States in the U.S. as compared to the Federal Minimum, l would like to address a different issue. Is the decision to raise, maintain or lower the minimum wage an issue of morality for which Government must become involved, and if so, to what degree?
Before we go on, it should be acknowledged that both sides have proponents that push extreme views, apart from mainstream supporters of compromise.
Group #1- Pay in the private sector should be left entirely to the business owner or operator. Government has no right or obligation to intervene, that is the free-market system, the foundation of Capitalism. The Free Market regulates itself.
Group #2- The Free Market system can only work if there are consumers who are financially capable of purchasing goods and/or services. By deliberately keeping wages low, the private sector limits the purchasing power of a large part of the population. This results in less taxes paid, and more reliance on social services to meet basic needs. Intervention is necessary to prevent the private sector from sabotaging governments ability to provide essential services to both the public and private sectors.
The heart of the matter is this; what responsibility does government have, at any level, to those groups or individuals who come under its power to regulate any decisions or policies that may be employed in the market place. Further, how is that responsibility to be extended to those who are affected by the actions of said groups or individuals.
Basically, it comes down to two competing economic theories, which in the end, are just polar opposites of each other. All other theories can be found somewhere in the middle, and a solution may be found in adopting the positive aspects of each, and accepting that each has negative qualities to be avoided.
IT IS THE COMPETING CONCEPTS OF A HANDS-ON VS HANDS-OFF ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN REGULATING BUSINESS PRACTICES.
Look for PT 4.