It seems most political discussions are really a debate about values, perception of what is “fair,” and taxes.
It seems most business discussions are about the value provided to the consumer, providing it fairly, and then, how to pay less taxes.
So, it’s no surprise that the two (politics and business) should meet in my blog.
As my husband, daughter and I enjoyed some time down at the marina, I wondered how many hot dogs the kid behind the snack counter would have to sell during his shift to make it worth it for the business owner to pay him $8.50 an hour. I never thought of this stuff before I owned a business. Suddenly the topic of minimum wage has a whole different meaning to me. I remember making minimum wage. Fortunately, I didn’t have to support a family, I used it to go to the mall and buy pizza. I’ve always held the thought that everyone should earn a living wage.
Since I’ve gotten so busy, I’ve started thinking about hiring some help. The prospect of this scares me. It scares me because I have to entrust someone else with something I’ve traded my time and energy for over the past two years. There’s a lot on the line: I work with people’s money, confidential information, and know a lot about their personal lives. And then I have to pay the person, and make sure I’m paying the right amount of payroll taxes. This is what got me thinking about politics because it seems Republicans are against paying taxes altogether (for the record I’m not, I’m just concerned that I am not going to pay them correctly or on time or miss some crucial component that will land me in jail). And the message I get is that they aren’t so in favor of the minimum wage. This used to infuriate me, but now I think I understand. Perhaps Republicans aren’t against paying people a living wage, it’s paying people according to decree rather than results. And a business owner is wired for results. This doesn’t necessarily mean the business owner is greedy; if we search our hearts and minds, we realize that we’re ALL wired for results. But as a society, we don’t honor the desire for profit. Why is that?
When you think of all a business owner has to pay for and how difficult it is to turn a profit and make a living (business owners have families to feed, afterall, who enjoy the occasional hot dog), you start to realize what a big issue minimum wage is. What if the kid he hired doesn’t sell a single hot dog his whole shift? The business owner will still need to pay him along with the appropriate payroll taxes, and write checks for rent, inventory, insurance, and so on. Suddenly the business owner is the one getting my sympathy. And yes, I know not all business owners are Republican.
Life is funny like that, just when you think you have it pretty well figured out it says, “Ummm, nope, not even close.” Makes you remember to look at things from all sides of the story.