Joyce P. Regier: Wages and profits

February 22, 2013 

Wages and profits

In 1967 my high school son and I picked four stocks to invest in, one of which was McDonald’s. Three of our four children and I each bought two shares at $22 each; one daughter bought three.

Eight or nine years later, when we cashed in, each share was worth about $650. My daughter with three shares bought a new Toyota!

These profits are possible only because of the low wages of those who work in fast food, warehouses or big box stores. Trade groups spend millions paying off members in Congress to keep the minimum wage low and to keep profits high.

And they have succeeded. From 1973 until 2007, the purchasing power of minimum wage workers dropped 22 percent while corporate profits increased 50 percent!

The original intent of the Fair Labor Standards Act was to put a floor under wages so that full-time workers could make enough to live without government subsidies. Because of corporate influence, once again wages are low and government is picking up the slack with food stamps, rent and tax subsidies.

If we want more jobs and tax revenue, the fastest way is to raise the minimum wage and let corporations pay their fair share.

Joyce P. Regier, Durham

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