There is a loud message in the proposed uses of the money raised by Asheville’s bond issues — that the city has fallen far behind in its maintenance work. While a 10 percent increase in our property taxes for 20 years is supposed to clear the backlog, would it not have been better — and cheaper — to have paid an extra 10 percent over the last 20 years and not fallen so far behind ?
Logic, of course, didn’t enter into it. Successive councils seem to have been frightened off such a course by the pitchforks-and-torches mob’s dislike of taxes. It’s strange, though, that while getting so upset by taxes levied by elected representatives who can always be removed at the next election, the mob never utters a peep of protest at the taxes levied on us by faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats hiding within parasitic businesses.
A business that does not pay a living wage is simply ignoring part of the true costs of its operations and leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab — subsidized housing and transport, food banks and the like are all taxes, no more and no less.
Challenged, you might hear one of these businesses whine: “If I didn’t pay starvation wages, I would go out of business.” Then you are insolvent: Give the rest of us a break and shut down, declare bankruptcy and let someone else try. That’s called capitalism.
“I pay starvation wages because I must keep my shareholders happy.” In a world where the average holding period for New York Stock Exchange-traded shares is falling toward 10 seconds, this argument is b.s. because, clearly, shareholders can have nothing to do with the management of the business.
So this argument collapses into the third: “I pay starvation wages because I can.” All markets have two sides, so this is easily addressed. Retail businesses work on very thin margins. If you know a business — a big-box store perhaps, or a restaurant — that is only paying starvation wages, don’t patronize it. If enough people join you, the faceless bureaucrats’ computers will notice, and changes will happen — the store may close, relieving us all of the taxes it levies on us, or ( don’t hold your breath ) they might act like Christians and treat their workers with respect.
— Geoff Kemmish