I rant and rave constantly about the minimum wage, which, as many people with an ounce of common sense have pointed out, is $0.00/hour. But for some reason the Left’s attempts to decouple basic economics from the discussion of the minimum wage has worked rather well.
If you ask the simple question: “What happens to the price of a commodity when the supply decreases?” most people will answer correctly. The same with: “What happens when the cost of an activity rises? Does it occur less often or more often?” Simple stuff. So why is the minimum wage an opaque concept? Why is any support for a market-driven wage immediately labelled a right-wing conspiracy to destroy the working class and put mothers and their newborns on the street in blizzards?
Don Boudreax, over at Cafe Hayek has some thoughts.
What, I wonder, is so right-wing about the claim that as the cost of doing action x rises, people are less likely to do x? Is it a “right-wing mantra” that, say, taxing carbon emissions will cause there to be few carbon emissions than otherwise? Is it a “right-wing mantra” that taxing the purchase of cigarettes causes people to purchase fewer cigarettes than otherwise? Is it a “right-wing mantra” that higher tariffs on imports reduce imports? Is it a “right-wing mantra” that imposing a poll tax reduces the number of people who vote?
Minimum wage jobs, contrary to the leftist talking points we hear every day, are not intended to support a family of four in the style to which they have become accustomed. They are entry-level jobs that teach things like, “Be On Time,” and “Don’t Be Stoned At Work,” and “Don’t Talk Back To Your Boss.” And of course the most important lesson….Do a good job, and maybe you will get a raise and a promotion. And then you will never have to worry about minimum wage again.
But San Fran raised the wage and something something [ignore the fact that San Fran’s labor market is already all FUBAR from the tech companies.]
Well, the “minimum” wage should be at $.01 cent. Or what is the value an employer set for a specific task to be done?
Leftists frame the debate as “the value of the person,” when it’s not. But, this is logic. So explaining that to a leftist is like pissing into the wind.
I’d also kinda like to know what liberals think happens when wages artificially increase and scarcity remains the same.
I have friends in Seattle who make well above minimum wage (Boeing Engineering money) and they can’t afford to buy a house because lots of people make lots of money in Seattle.
Raise the wage to $15, everything will just become more expensive.
The amazing thing to me is that in some contexts leftists get it. They propose taxes on, e.g., cigarettes and carbon dioxide emissions as a way of discouraging them.
On the next breath they’ll propose to tax something that they WANT to happen (e.g., business, or expanding employment, or some such), apparently unmindful of the reasoning they just applied to discourage other activity. In the last analysis, what is the difference between a tax and a fine?