I’m bemused by claims that a higher minimum wage would drive businesses from the city to where wages are lower. One of the biggest expenses is rent, and commercial real estate prices vary by location. I’d bet places with lower minimum wages also have lower rents.
If high rents don’t chase them out, a higher minimum wage won’t either. (I suspect this argument is made because business can shift labor costs to the public, who pay for the food stamps to keep the workers alive. If they wanted to shift any other expense, there would be a widespread outcry.)
The argument that jobs would be eliminated, replaced by some form of automation, falls apart when you go to a service station. There are still workers there. Only instead of pumping gas they run a mini-market. The jobs did not disappear, only certain tasks, to be replaced with more valuable ones.
And there is an argument for raising not only the minimum wage, but all wages. The economy is suffering from a lack of demand. There are restaurants not getting enough customers. The American Homebuilders Association says that first-home sales are slumping. People are not buying due to wage stagnation. Businesses need customers to survive.
And for customers to be there, they must have money. Businesses might not like paying more to workers, but they profit when someone else pays its workers more. So, let’s all of them raise the wages at the same time so they will share the expense and profit.
Adriana I. Pena