On Stupid Moves: Raising The Minimum Wage

Youngest Son was a little worried about finding a job this summer.  His school let out a little later than some of the other colleges.  Other than a paper route years ago and doing odd jobs for various neighbors, he didn’t have a lot of job experience.  And, according to several newspaper articles and also the experience of some of his friends, there didn’t seem to be a lot of jobs out there.  Somehow, Youngest Son ended up with three part-time jobs.  They just kind of fell into his lap.  But a lot of teens haven’t been quite so lucky.  Yes, we may be on the verge of a recession.  However, idiot politicians, who have no idea about the concept of supply and demand, decided to do us a “favor” and raise the minimum wage.

Because most politicians start out as lawyers, they have no real idea about how business really works.  They most likely majored in English rhetoric (learning to parse words) or political theory.  If they had to take any business or economics classes at all, they were probably the basics.  And now, we the taxpayers, are paying for their stupidity.  They don’t understand how supply and demand work, so they probably don’t realize that  if wages are too low, the supply of workers willing to work at a particular place will also be low.  It’s a self-adjusting kind of thing.  Raise the wage, and the supply of willing workers will increase, even for a somewhat distasteful job.  Money talks.

But the idiot lawmakers seem to think they need to set an artificially high “minimum” wage.  They want to act like they care about the poor down-trodden worker.  But what they’re doing is knocking the whole economy off balance.  Small businesses, who may be able to lure in willing teen and entry-level workers with lower wages (but also decent working conditions and maybe opportunities to learn a skill or advance), now will have to pay the same skill-level workers more than their market worth, and maybe more than the business can afford.  What does the small business do?  It must either cut back on new hires, or raise prices for its goods and services.  How does that help any of us poor schmucks?

Relative value of the more experienced workers also shrinks, along with the number of entry level jobs.  After paying your dues and learning a skill, suddenly the newbie you’re training is making almost as much as you, even though you’ve worked your way up the ladder.  Do you think the boss is going to increase everyone’s wages, just because they’re mandated to increase the minimum wage?  They can barely pay the new rate (and of course the higher employer taxes that go along with the increased wages).  Or maybe the boss hires fewer workers, or lays off the new guys.  You will still make the same amount, but have to work your ass off a little more to make up for the guys he can no longer afford to keep around.

Of course, politicians spin this as a good thing to do.  We’re giving workers a “living” wage.  Not that they, or their kids, will ever have to “live” on these wages.  And not like they’ll be affected by the resulting unemployment and collapsed family businesses.  But they make it sound like it’s such a nice thing to do.

Politicians do things for one reason, and one reason only–to garner votes.  Some people actually think these careerists care about the plights and problems of their constituents.   This is not only sad, but scary.  Because these silver-tongued hoarders, by sounding sincere in their lies and promises, are influencing the policies of our great country.  If people think they care and will help them, then these people will vote for them.  Then they can vote themselves raises, get fat paychecks while taking the entire summer off, get their friends and relatives cushy made-up jobs, have top-notch health-care (while pretending to care about your crappy health care), and live out their golden years with a big fat taxpayer-funded pension.  And all they have to do is pretend they care!

Smart people, or ones that have actually taken economics classes, know that There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (TINSTAAFL).  See, I was actually listening back there in Econ class, even if my eyes were sometimes closed.  (It was right after lunch).  If you want higher wages, go to school, learn a trade, and work your way up the ladder.  Don’t wait for some idiot to artificially inflate your worth and screw up the whole economy!

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June 2008
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