Browsing the blog archives for October, 2018.

Amazon’s New Minimum Wage


Effective November 1, Amazon will pay all of its employees a minimum of $15 per hour. According to CEO Jeff Bezos, “We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead. We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.” Bezos also said he will campaign for a higher federal minimum wage as well.

Many in the establishment media applauded Bezos’ “leadership” on the issue. Of course, higher wages are always welcome when they are not mandated by government. But I’m much more critical of Amazon.

Bezos claims that the decision emanated from serious contemplation about “doing the right thing.” But the U.S. economy is strong, unemployment is down, the number of unfilled jobs has increased substantially, and the Christmas shopping season is around the corner. Amazon had to address the wage issue for competitive reasons. This was an economic decision. All the talk about “wanting to lead” is dribble.

If you think I’m too hard on Amazon, consider that he is now campaigning for a higher mandated minimum wage. Lest you think this is out of a sense of “social responsibility,” recall that this political effort comes after Amazon announced its own plans to raise wages. Bezos is simply mandating that his competitors be required to do what he has now determined is best for Amazon. Why can’t other retailers make their own decisions about wages? If Walmart decides to start its workers at $18, should politicians mandate that Amazon do the same?

Amazon has grown exponentially because Bezos had the opportunity to chart a different course for the company without undue interference from Washington. But now that Amazon is better able to absorb the costs of a higher minimum wage and other political mandates, his tune has changed. It’s time to cut through executive doubletalk like this. Bezos should have the freedom to run Amazon the way he sees fit, but he should respect the rights of his competitors to do the same.