01/30/2014 01:32 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

We Pay the Wage

The buzz leading up to this year's State of the Union speech was about raising the minimum wage. The president stood at the podium and asked for a $10.10 minimum wage. The camera cut to a couple of lawmakers happy that their idea was getting president intonement.

Until the time such a law passes, we as consumers can help make a living wage or a reasonable wage a reality. Frequent businesses that pay their workers. But how do you know who in your local strip mall is worthy of your dollars and time? We could use some government help here.

Why not something where the government rewards good business citizenship? For technology and consumer goods, the Energy Star Program comes to mind. Consumers can buy a product certified that it meets a standard for production and energy consumption. Make a good product and you can use the logo.

Why not the same thing for businesses? Create a logo that the business can use if it verifies that it is going further than the minimum wage laws. This is easy enough via quarterly wage reporting.

The sample logo below is very rudimentary but you get the idea.


A business can place a decal on the door, in the letterhead if they like, or wherever they advertise to show the business as a verified good corporate citizen.

You are not forcing a business to pay a minimum wage, but the government is giving a competitive advantage to a business that is goes the extra mile for the employees. Use the market forces to drive competition. No one wants to do business with people who don't treat their staff well. If you have a choice of two businesses and one uses the logo -- which one are you going to use?

As President Obama is going to use executive orders to bypass Congress, would a program like this fall under his management of the Department of Commerce and the IRS?