Pay full-time workers enough to live without welfare.
And make profitable companies pay taxpayers back for subsidizing their work force.
There are a lot of expenses that come with running a business. If you imagine opening a fast-food restaurant, for example, you have to cover: land/lease/building expenses, equipment (in this case, ovens, refrigerators, grills, lights, etc.), utilities (electricity, gas, water), supplies (napkins, utensils, food, drinks, etc.), taxes and other government fees, advertising, and labor. Some people believe that the business owner should be able to set the labor prices wherever they want. But if you don’t get to set your own price for any of those other things, why should you be able to do it for the actual human beings that you have working for your company?
It shouldn’t be tolerated. Companies don’t hire people as a charity, they hire people because they need those people to do something. I don’t care if the company needs a person to lean against a particular wall for 8 hours per day, that person should be paid enough in their 40 hours of work per week to pay rent, food, and other basic expenses that all people have in our society.
Because when they don’t pay enough, the balance ends up falling into our laps as taxpayers. We end up having to pay out welfare to the employees of profitable companies in the form of food, medical and housing subsidies. And why? Because their actual employer isn’t paying them enough? It’s wrong, because that means that we, as taxpayers, are subsidizing the costs (and thus the profits) of these profitable companies.
In a free market, we should be able to decide if we want to subsidize a particular company’s employees by simply choosing whether or not we want to purchase from that company.
So, I believe we need to raise the minimum wage to $15 as of 2019, not 2024 (as Democrats, with the help of Independent Bernie Sanders, are proposing), to start with. But truly, in my opinion, the minimum wage should be set by local living expenses, because $15 per hour in New York is meaningless, while $15 per hour in small-town middle-America may be too high. And whatever is decided to be a fair minimum wage needs to be permanently tied either to inflation or to the median wage.
However, I think there’s another way of forcing companies to choose to pay living wages: Make them pay taxpayers back.
In 2016, WalMart made a consolidated net profit of $14.29 billion. That means that after they pay all of their expenses, including exorbitant wages and bonuses to executives, they had over $14 billion leftover. Problem is, taxpayers are subsidizing their workforce to the tune of about $6.2 billion per year!
We need a federal law requiring profitable businesses to pay that money back. In this case, it would cut WalMart’s profits from $14.29 billion down to $8.09 billion, which is still a lot of money.
If we did this to all of these companies that pay slave wages to their workers, it would change the dynamic considerably, because the Wall Street share values of these publicly traded companies are largely based on their net profits. Profits are where dividends come from. So, if these companies were forced to pay taxpayers back for subsidizing their work force, the effective cut in net profit would force the company to make up the difference through cutting pay at the top of the company and increasing pay at the bottom.
It’s a simple solution, but I believe it would work, and I believe I could get this done in congress.