George Will once posited this question, that if by some miracle everyone’s net worth and income measured against purchasing power were to triple overnight, would the howling about income disparity suddenly go away? The answer is, of course not. The reason is because pundits and politicians favored by the non-thinking class would point out that the lower third on the income ladder are still the lower third, and therefore cannot afford the four bedroom, three bathroom lake house the middle third now can. And that isn’t fair. One should fold one’s arms and stomp a foot when uttering that last sentence. Assume I’ve done that for you.
Fortunately, the free market system does not address what is “fair” in terms of how big your bank account is, how much I get paid, how shiny and fast his car is. That is up to you, your upbringing and your decision-making. In the free market, and I would contend in a truly civilized society, the citizens have the sense and the strength of character to live their lives without complaining about the possessions and success of another, beyond perhaps a compliment on the qualities of whatever it is that person has garnered. The compliment would be a simple pleasantry. The rest is none of our business. Further, we meddle with opportunities and the methods of success of others at our own peril.
This is axiomatic in the thinking of truly successful people; people who made their own way in the world without resorting to the insulting of, or interference in, the lives of others. Wow, the heads of Occupy Wall Street fans are exploding all over the country right now. Most, despite the fact that many are members of the 1% they pretend to despise and privileged with a college education, don’t understand the first sentence of this paragraph. And those that do, know it’s true but also know they’ll never be able to apply their global warming degrees with such dangerous ideas still lurking in the minds of thinking people.
How does this apply to the minimum wage? Let’s go back to the politicians mentioned above. They know that a large majority of people think it’s okay to raise the minimum wage. They also know, but wouldn’t dare mention, that a vanishingly small number of people actually work for what is presently the federal minimum wage. They also know a few more things.
First, the sector of the economy for which this wage was introduced (never having a lasting impact on those it was intended to help) is the unskilled, entry level or supplementary income sector. Wait staff in mid to low quality restaurants, gas station attendants, unskilled construction labor (we used to call them go-fers), janitorial staff, etc. Because of the simplicity and often the flexibility of working in these sectors, these jobs were typically offered to teenagers to give them entree into the working world and teach them a work ethic. For others it was supplemental income. None of the jobs the minimum wage laws are aimed at were ever intended to be a livelihood and were not designed economically to be so. The fact that middle-aged people have crowded out entry-level kids at Walmart is neither our, nor Walmart’s, fault.
These same pandering pols also know that the electorate is shamefully uninformed. The average voter is asked, “Do you think people at the bottom of the income ladder should have more money?” And the average voter says “Sure, why not?” If asked, “Should the government mandate what a person’s wages should be?” You’d get a sneer, at best. The correct answer is, of course, what an employer and an employee agree on, in the exchange of time for money, is absolutely none of the government’s business. And the legislation to meddle in such arrangements is a waste of time and money. But there are politicians in need of cover from real issues, so here we are again.
Will made another great point just today, in fact. Who will pay for this rise in the minimum wage? Well, by huge disproportion it will be the poor, of course. Who does the most business with those earning minimum wage? It isn’t politicians. It’s not the guy who drives a Jaguar. It’s people who eat and shop as inexpensively as possible. They will finance the lion’s share of this stupid idea. And only a mouth-breathing idiot really believes that hours and jobs won’t be lost and prices increased at those very establishments to offset completely, the new wage.
As a side note, both McDonalds and Walmart already pay above the prevailing minimum wage in most cases. Not all their stores, of course, pay the proposed minimum wage to new employees. Most employees presently move past that $10.10 figure rather quickly.
Here’s a cool result of coming up with the magic number of $10.10/hr. to solve the woes of the down-trodden. The down-trodden get to remain so a bit longer as employers will be less generous with promotions and raises for established employees. And another! This will incentivize some restaurants to finally employ technology that’s been out there for years. Automated ordering. Wawa stores are kicking ass with it. In fact they have been able to hire more people to cover the growth in business, so that just might be a wash in extremely well-run businesses. It won’t matter though. Occupy Wall Street-types will put on their shabby chic outfits and urinate in front of any restaurant that tries it.
This latest iteration of pretending to care about poor people is the brain child, as it always is, of politicians who find themselves in a hole and in need of some handy misdirection. The present administration has been an abysmal failure on absolutely every front. Between blatant failure, to corruption, to deaths by the administration’s ineptitude (Bengazi) or design (Fast and Furious), this is a White House in constant need of Occupy Wall Street-esque distractions. Follow any news stream from the beginning and you will find programs trumpeted, programs failed, then the “rich” attacked and/or the “poor” pandered to. It is so naked it is embarrassing to watch.
Follow this out to it’s conclusion. They cut Gates off in the interest of time. Only 11% of fast food workers are below the poverty line. The rest are members of more affluent households. Also, labor substitution is very important.
The CBO reports that the new wage mandate will cost a few million jobs although there’s a negligible chance no jobs would be lost. This is good news according to the White House. They say that a few million isn’t too many people to worry about and it MIGHT be none! Last week they were saying that the 2.5 million jobs estimated to be destroyed by OBAMACARE will be an excellent opportunity for some of us to relax and get out of those jobs we’re trapped in.
Unions love the minimum wage also. As soon as it goes into effect, mark my words, they will point to union employees and say, “Look at poor Charlie over there”, doing a job he never chose to grow out of. “Poor fella is only making $2.00/hr over minimum wage! That’s a disgrace! He needs a raise.” The effect this has on the bank accounts of the pure-of-heart union “leadership” will only be a happy coincidence .
More and more (but not nearly enough yet) people are realizing that the government is a standing insult in many ways, this being one of them. Whenever politicians/unions claim to be “helping the little guy”, know with crystal clarity that the only people being helped are the political class and their own incumbency and personal gain.
Those who we are told will benefit directly from an increase in the minimum wage will see their gains eaten away rather quickly as the entire economy floats to a corresponding position with respect to their big pay raise.
I know, I know. I say all these things because I am a hater. All fiscal conservatives are, right? If I had the wisdom to be found in a drum circle or Justin Beiber pajama party, I’d be totally on board with this minimum thinking idea.
Remember, government that assumes it can decide your minimum wage can also decide your maximum wage. It’s been tried. Read up on Nixon.
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