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May Small Business Owners (and their employees) Live Long and Prosper

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Let's preface this article with the truth. Every time someone (aka, a Republican or a Libertarian) opposes a raise in the abominable $5.15 per hour minimum wage, that person says that such a raise would ruin the "small businessman". Truth be told, if tax cuts for "small businesses" must accompany a raise in the minimum wage, the bill will not include a definition of "small business". Consequently, in order for "small business" advocates to support a raise in the minimum wage, they will seek a tax cut for business, period. Large global corporations who provide a large portion of the incomes of these "small business" advocates will also benefit from "small business" tax cuts. After all, where one business exists, another larger one exists making the former business a "small business" and, next to the larger business is an even larger business, etc. So, before tearing apart the "minimum wage will hurt small business" argument, let's all agree that the above excuse is a lie told with malice aforethought by people who make their living telling lies with malice aforethought. What if raising the minimum wage, a wage that absolutely no one in his or her right mind could support as a living wage, actually did put "small business owners" out of business? Should this not be a message to anyone who was thinking of starting a small business? Should the message be that better preplanning needs to happen before starting a small business? For instance, if one wants to open a restaurant, one must first look into one's financial ability to open the restaurant. One would need to be able to afford the price of purchasing or renting the property upon which a building would stand. If a small business loan is to be used to obtain the property, one must understand that one is gambling that the business will be sufficiently successful in a short period of time to reconcile the loan quickly. In the restaurant business, ovens, refrigerators, storage and preparation space all have to be purchased. Pots, pans, serving dishes, tables, chairs, cups and glasses need to be purchased. Cash registers, pens, pencils, pads, order forms need to be purchased. The owner needs to develop a partnership with suppliers of paper products, with a laundry service and, of course, with food vendors. There can be very little doubt that potential restaurant owners think of these small but important details and add up their costs while they are still considering starting their business. If the cost of all of the above and whatever else may have inadvertently been omitted is not congruous with what kind of recompense the potential owner envisioned for himself or herself, he or she must face the cold, hard fact that opening a restaurant may not be a good idea. One knows what kind of income one wishes to receive from a small business and if, after investigating the cost of the overhead and comparing that cost with a realistic business forecast, one realizes that starting the business will doom one to live in poverty, one will probably look for another avenue of income. More than likely, small business owners don't expect that they will become millionaires, close to billionaires, like CEOs and top executives of global corporations. On the other hand, even small business owners hope that the income from their businesses will place them in at least an upper middle class existence and many hope for even more than that. What would hurt a small business owner? A small business owner would be hurt if that owner opened, owned and managed a small business and had a lower middle class, even poverty class existence to show for it. How would raising the minimum wage hurt a small business owner? It would not. If a small business owner is hurt by having to pay employees more that $5.15 an hour, that business owner did not look in advance at everything needed to start a small business. Along with the ovens, refrigerators, computers, tables, chairs and food vendors, the potential small business owner needs to include his or her ability to pay employees a living wage. As with any of the other necessities for starting the business, if the potential business owner cannot pay a living wage to employees, that potential business owner has to face the cold, hard fact that owning a business just isn't in the cards. CEOs of global corporations skim millions and millions of dollars from the profits of their corporations at the expense of the workers who produce the products for which consumers pay millions and millions of dollars. They gain this wealth on the backs of Americans who they throw away like soiled rags and workers in third world nations who already live in squalor. Though small business owners don't have the same wealth with which to be gluttonous and inhumane, their modus operandi emulates that of the big boys in the corporations. While arranging for the perfection of every non-human detail of their businesses, they enter into those businesses with the full intention of paying their employees a wage which ensures that those employees will live below the poverty line. Raising the minimum wage or, better yet, paying their employees a living wage doesn't hurt small business owners. Thinking that they can own and manage a business by financially abusing their employees is what hurts small business owners. That thought should never enter their minds because, eventually, people are going to want to live comfortably not luxuriously but comfortably. It's every worker's right to demand a living wage, whether from global corporations or from small businesses. People who are investigating the possibility of starting a small business need to include their ability to treat their employees humanely in making the final decision. If they can't pay their employees a living wage, they have no business putting themselves in a position to hire employees. Maybe they would do well to work for someone else who is willing to pay them a living wage. No one, absolutely no one, should increase his or her economic standing by placing another human being on the road to economic hell!

 

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Michael Bonanno is an associate editor for OpEdNews.

He is also a published poet, essayist and musician who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bonanno is a political progressive, not a Democratic Party apologist. He believes it's (more...)
 

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