Minimum Wage and Morality

Seattle has passed an ordinance that will raise the minimum wage private businesses in the city must pay to $15/hr. The wage increase will take effect in stages over a few years, starting next April. I’ve written elsewhere (here, for instance, and here) on the economic utility of raising the minimum wage.

What about what a government-imposed minimum wage does to a worker’s morality? A Seattle home health worker earning $10.95/hr had this to say about her situation and Seattle’s minimum wage mandate, as summarized at the first link, and also quoted there:

[She] is looking forward to the way a higher wage will help her support her three children.

She said she and her three kids are living with her brother because she can’t afford an apartment of her own even though she works full time. “This will make changes to myself and also a lot of other people in my shoes.”

She says that like family taking care of family is a bad thing. But why shouldn’t family take care of family first, rather than strangers being forced to do so ahead of family? Plainly, this family does not need the outside help; they just find it…convenient.

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