The Minimum Wage Debate

Miah, Malik

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/05/2014
Year Published:  2014  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20402

In a discussion of the debate over the minimum wage increase in the United States, Miah advocates for a socialist mentality and a focus on individual rights in order to provide an economic solution to the decline of the middle class caused by capitalisim.



An op-ed article by the billionaire conservative Charles Koch outlined this rightwing vision in the April 3 issue of The Wall Street Journal. "A truly free society," he wrote, "is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens.

"The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism."

Koch continued, "Instead of fostering a system that enables people to help themselves, America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness.

"This is what happens when elected officials believe that people's lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by the people themselves. Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal."

For the right wing, the term "collectivism" is a synonym for "communism" and "socialism." The truth is that socialism is what's needed today. Socialism, ideologically and philosophically, is more than an economic solution to the greed of capitalism. It is a society that is moral and just -- based on the principle that the individual will give according to one's abilities, and receive according to one's needs.

To Koch and his ilk, "collective" good for society is not "freedom or liberty" but a road to permanent decline. While farfetched, Koch's argument rings true to many white workers who see African Americans, undocumented immigrants and others as taking "their" jobs.

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