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Minimum wage isn’t a “market wage”

Bob Waldrop April 9th, 2014

Labor Commissioner Mark Costello’s argument against the minimum wage (Commentary, "OKC benefits from market cages,” March 26, Oklahoma Gazette) rests on a false premise. We do not have a free market for labor. The wages of low income workers are not “market wages.” Our economy is tightly regulated to favor capital over labor and to suppress wages.

If you doubt this, take your grill and start selling hot dogs in Bricktown as a street peddler. The government will jump on you like a rat on a Cheeto and shut you down.

This non-free market, politicized economic process creates a large pool of low-income workers with no alternative but to work for someone else at a wage. They can’t become entrepreneurs because most of the microenterprises within the range of their limited economic means are against laws or regulations.

Republicans are fine with regulating the economy; they just want to make sure it is regulated to benefit their friends. Costello never says anything about this because allowing low-income people to start their own micro-enterprises and grow their own jobs would not benefit the economic aristocrats who run this state. They are not in favor of economic freedom for all. So Costello champions the cause of low-wage slavery as a matter of government policy.

Given the unlevel playing field, minimum wage laws are a necessary counterbalance to the constant push of the economic aristocracy to drive down wages. For most people, adjusted for inflation, wages have not increased in real terms since the 1970s. That isn’t an accident either.

— Bob Waldrop
Oklahoma City
Founder, Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House

Don’t misunderstand “God-given” rights
In last week’s Gazette (Letters, March 26), Doug Rixmann demonstrates limited knowledge of the addition of “Under God” to the nation’s Pledge of Allegiance. It was great fear of Russian communism and its spread to the USA that led to the un-American McCarthyism and anti-American pogroms against loyal Americans.

I grew up stating the Pledge of Allegiance as it was written and as it should remain. It is a terrible error to believe that our freedoms are God-given. The Spanish Inquisition demonstrated how “God-given” rights without state authority always meant nothing. Only until the American experiment of the 18th century and some English forerunners did individuals truly enjoy security from unlawful detention, confiscation of property and imprisonment.

Many church courts unlawfully deprived individuals of property and freedom, the Inquistion being one of the most glaring. Atheists do get this point; Rixmann misses the point that “Christians” are very liable to the same flaws as other humans with a track record not to be very admired in the first two millennia after Christ.

His point about not trusting Muslims to be loyal to the USA brings the same point about Christians. Would a Christian support policies of the federal government that appear not to be Christian? Do you really think that a Christian policy as defined by our very fallible Christian leaders is always the best policy for the USA? Can we depend on such as Rixmann to be patriots first? I served 26 years in the USAF with many fine patriots who were not Christian and doubted them not.

— Kenneth Wainner
Edmond
Retired colonel, U.S. Air Force


Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to jchancellor@okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette.com. Include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

 
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