Amazon is clearly not content with the damage it has done to the country's small businesses by operating within the free market. Now, the e-commerce giant is bent on wielding the club of big government to bludgeon Mainstreet USA even further into submission.
Jeff Bezos’s flagship enterprise publicly supports the implementation of a $15 an hour federal minimum wage. Such a policy would cripple small businesses, especially those in rural areas, and, in effect, open up more of the market for Amazon. Such advocacy is borne out of brazen self-interest, not genuine concern for workers.
Given that real income has stagnated over the past couple of decades while expenses have risen, it’s clear that something has to be done to increase wages. However, any action directed to this end cannot come at the expense of making life harder for mom-and-pop establishments. For that reason, an increased minimum wage that only applies to large corporations may be the solution the country needs.
Economies of scale dictate that large corporations (such as Amazon) can operate much more efficiently, and thus eat labor costs with greater ease, than small businesses. Simply implementing a blanket increase to the minimum wage does not take this fact into account and, thus, puts small businesses at a comparative disadvantage. Little guys already struggle to compete with commercial giants such as Walmart — cutting into their already slim profit margins could strike a devastating blow to personal entrepreneurship in the United States.
So what to do? If the big guys want a higher minimum wage, give it to them.
Raising the minimum wage for corporations above a certain market capitalization would avoid creating a fallout for small businesses while also increasing the quality of life for some workers. If anything, small businesses wouldn’t just walk away from this arrangement unharmed, but better off. Due to lower relative labor costs, the profit margins of small businesses would grow compared to their larger competitors. Small town capitalists would find it easier to grow their businesses as the ability of larger players to compete against them would be inhibited. Also, because workers from corporate employers would get paid more, their disposable income will increase. More disposable income translates into greater cash flow for all businesses, big and small.
Increasing the operating costs of woke corporations would also mean they’d have less money to funnel into cringey progressive marketing campaigns and nonprofit organizations, which would be nice.
Amazon’s minimum wage proposal is problematic for another reason: It’s federal. Federal minimum wage requirements are not a good policy. A cashier in eastern Tennessee doesn’t need as much to get by as a cashier living in Seattle. Raising the national minimum wage to $15 an hour fails to account for cost of living differences between regions. In a country as vast and diverse as the U.S., such oversight is unacceptable.
Any change to minimum wage law must happen at the state level. State legislators are the individuals best equipped to determine what labor price floor best meets the needs of those they represent.
The idea of a conditional minimum wage isn’t even fringe. It actually has bipartisan support (sort of.)
Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, has proposed imposing a $15 minimum wage on all corporations worth over $1 billion. California’s wage laws, similarly, provide lower hourly minimum pay requirements for businesses with fewer than 25 employees. Conservatives and liberals alike, it appears, see the need to raise wages without penalizing small business owners who are just trying to get by.