Swickard: Paying Americans too much or too little

2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. Question: when is the notion of “any” considered not enough? And, when is the notion of “much” considered too much? Answer: when the government decides the compensation for American workers.
     Lately, along with the push to increase minimum compensation, there is now a push to impose a maximum wage. Some Americans are getting too much compensation so the government must stop them.
     I cannot lay my finger on the part of the United States Constitution that says the government can make me pay someone more or less than I desire. The founders thought that emancipated adult citizens had the right to make any deal for compensation if both sides agree. If they do not agree, they do not have to trade.
     Economist Milton Friedman wrote, “There is one and only one social responsibility of business, to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”
     All of the horror stories about workers being abused involve times in America’s past that are no longer germane to the argument. If someone is not making any money right now and wants to work for less than the minimum wage it is wrong to keep them unemployed. Further, they are not gaining productive skills. Read full column