IRVINE, CA–There is an accelerating trend of big-city governments passing minimum wage laws that far exceed either the state or federal minimums. Yesterday, contrary to this trend, Mayor Richard Daley vetoed a measure that would have raised Chicago minimums to $10.00 an hour plus $3.00 in fringe benefits by mid-2010.

“Daley’s veto was right–but he and other political leaders should go further and abolish the minimum wage altogether,” said Dr. Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute and a former finance professor. “By mandating a certain level of wages, the government violates the rights of both employers and employees to reach a voluntary agreement based on their own judgment of what they can afford.

“Those who provide jobs are not the slaves of city hall, and have a right to set the wages they are willing to pay. And those who are willing and eager to work for relatively low wages–either because they are unskilled, inexperienced or would rather have a low-paying job than no job at all–have a right to do so.

“In a capitalist system, the price of labor (i.e., wages) is determined in the same way as all other prices: by the individual judgments and voluntary decisions of buyers and sellers.”

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