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PAY: We can’t ignore the global economy

Letter by Brian Ebersole, Tacoma / The News Tribune on Feb. 27, 2014 at 1:01 pm with No Comments »
February 27, 2014 1:14 pm

According to the World Bank, more than half the people on Earth live on less than $10 a day. More astonishingly, nutritious, high-quality food costs about the same throughout the world as it does here. Eating well regularly is the daily struggle for most people. Billions of workers would be thrilled to make $10 an hour.

Obviously, the U.S. can’t open its borders and let in these incredibly low-wage workers. We make it very difficult to immigrate here for educated people with no financial assets. Understood.

However, U.S. and foreign-based businesses and corporations can and do hire these $10-a-day workers where they live in countries such as Mexico and the Philippines. That’s the way it is in today’s world.

We cannot ignore the global economy when we set our minimum wage. I do support raising the minimum wage here and in Mexico, the Philippines and throughout the world.

In my opinion, setting a higher minimum wage only in the developed economies of the United States, Canada and Western Europe will result in significant job losses in these countries. Nevertheless, it will provide needed jobs for low-wage workers in the developing economies of poor countries. That, in and of itself, is a good outcome, but not one many U.S. leaders are seeking.

(Ebersole is a former Tacoma mayor and speaker of the state House of Representatives.)

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