The conversation right now about the minimum wage is veering off in the wrong direction. That’s because all the parties are not showing up for the debate.

Take the wave of small-business owners saying recently that the implementation of an immediate $15 minimum wage would be catastrophic for them. Peter Aaron, owner of Elliott Bay Book Company, has said he’d have to cut employees, which could hurt his ability to serve customers. At a recent town hall meeting of the mayor’s and the city council’s minimum-wage committees, a Dick’s Drive-In vice president, Jasmine Donovan, said that a wage hike could cause Dick’s to cut their famously generous worker benefits and raise prices on food.

But there is a notable group that isn’t showing up to town halls and isn’t making their views known: big business.

All the Targets and Walmarts have to do right now to avoid getting the stink of a difficult conversation on them is to stay the hell out of the way—which lets them off the hook way too easily. A conversation that pits local workers and local small-business owners against each other is a fight that benefits big business more than anyone. And it’s big business reaping record profits, the big businesses that employ more than 60 percent of low-wage workers, and the big businesses that are the egregious offenders in the wage fight—not small businesses, many of which struggle to stay afloat.

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