From The Anchoress. Go read.
Where does the money come from to pay a living wage for workers? It comes from your profits. In order to pay your workers enough, you must give them some of that money you wanted to keep for yourself.
–> For this reason, there is not an obligation to pay your workers out of your own need. “Need” as in need. But if your company is reporting profits? If you are taking home more income than you need to meet your basic needs? [Hint: Your needs are about the same as all the other human beings.] All your workers need to be paid their entire wage. That is, no less than the amount necessary to live. You get to take home extra money after you have paid all your bills.
Profits are not evil. Profits are good and necessary. Profits are desirable. Profits are what you use to invest, to grow your business, to produce more wealth. But if your profit depends on taking advantage of the misery of others in order to cheat them of their daily bread that you might live in greater luxury? Then you are a) not a successful businessperson, and b) evil.
I don’t usually go in for bizarre economic regulations and all that. But this is in area where responsibility rests with employers. A boycott is good, but ultimately consumers are not auditors. There is a legitimate role for government oversight if employers are habitually abusing employees. But I’d rather see good third-party auditing instead. For all the shenanigans of accounting firms, at least when one goes bonkers, it can fall apart and be gone — not so easy to dissolve a government agency.
Auditing wages is something accountants could do and do well. You can count on an accountant to look straight at you and say, “No, actually your kid doesn’t need dance lessons.” Accountants don’t fall for lines about cultural integrity and hermeneutics of inadequacy and blah blah blah. We say things like, “Oh, guests are coming over. Guess we ought to turn the heat on then, people expect to take their coat off indoors, don’t they?” And then we turn the heat back down soon as those luxury-wallowing parasites get out the door. No, accountants will not make you overpay your workers, you can be sure of that.
‘Till now we’ve wondered how we could possibly simplify the tax code, what with all the accountants that would be out of work. But look! Problem solved! Free them all up to audit something useful for a change. Then write just the bare minimum of a law needed to bring the facts about hiring practices to the light of day.
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