Regarding “American workers need more support” (Other Views, Sept. 5):
Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-Paterson, makes several erroneous assertions regarding raising the minimum wage and mandating paid family leave. First, raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour, or $15 an hour, is an arbitrary act of the federal government. Wages are determined by a worker’s output, and for the government to mandate a specific “minimum” wage makes some workers more costly to employers than they are “worth.” In other words, a minimum wage causes the least-productive members in our society to stay unemployed.
Second, paid family leave should be a benefit negotiated between employers and employees, not mandated by the federal or state government. Mandating paid family leave is a costly expense for small business owners, which make them less competitive with larger business enterprises. In fact, throughout American history many big-business interests have supported government mandates as a way to throttle their smaller competitors.
Third, the congressman asserts, “Our country was built on the backs of the working families.”
The United States’ enormous growth for more than 200 years occurred because of the ingenuity of inventors and the invested capital that turned their inventions into commercial successes. Real wages have grown not because of labor per se, but because of the enormous investment in capital, which allowed workers’ output to expand substantially over the decades.
Pascrell needs a crash course in economics, finance and history to realize that government mandates do not create wealth or raise wages.
Fort Lee, Sept. 5