Skip to comments.Sowell: Minimum Wage Madness
Posted on 09/16/2013 3:19:58 PM PDT by jazusamo
Political crusades for raising the minimum wage are back again. Advocates of minimum wage laws often give themselves credit for being more "compassionate" towards "the poor." But they seldom bother to check what are the actual consequences of such laws.
One of the simplest and most fundamental economic principles is that people tend to buy more when the price is lower and less when the price is higher. Yet advocates of minimum wage laws seem to think that the government can raise the price of labor without reducing the amount of labor that will be hired.
When you turn from economic principles to hard facts, the case against minimum wage laws is even stronger. Countries with minimum wage laws almost invariably have higher rates of unemployment than countries without minimum wage laws.
Most nations today have minimum wage laws, but they have not always had them. Unemployment rates have been very much lower in places and times when there were no minimum wage laws.
Switzerland is one of the few modern nations without a minimum wage law. In 2003, "The Economist" magazine reported: "Switzerland's unemployment neared a five-year high of 3.9 percent in February." In February of this year, Switzerland's unemployment rate was 3.1 percent. A recent issue of "The Economist" showed Switzerland's unemployment rate as 2.1 percent.
Most Americans today have never seen unemployment rates that low. However, there was a time when there was no federal minimum wage law in the United States. The last time was during the Coolidge administration, when the annual unemployment rate got as low as 1.8 percent. When Hong Kong was a British colony, it had no minimum wage law. In 1991 its unemployment rate was under 2 percent.
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They have to keep raising the minimum wage or else people would figure out that you don’t need one.
Now minimum wage is morphing into living wage which is generally considered to be enough salary to raise a family.
The unions and libs are trying hard to get the minimum wage to a living wage. Union members make above a living wage but if a living wage is passed it just means union members’ wages will be increased.
When and if the minimum wage becomes a living wage many small businesses will suffer greatly or be forced out of business. Big box stores will cut hours so they don’t have to pay benefits as well as cut back on service.
Unemployment will go up but libs and unions could care less.
I will add this, to keep harping on it: I believe MW has led to the “problem” of (small) employers taking in illegals, and thus adding to the flow of illegals.
Get rid of MW and we may see the illegal problem virtually dry up.
AND THE LEMMINGS CONTINUE OVER THE CLIFF TO THEIR DEATHS. LEAVING REASON BEHIND BECAUSE THEY THEY HAVE NO REASON AND ARE THEREFORE UNREASONABLE...
WHAT IS HELL? THAT PLACE WHERE THERE IS NO REASON..
It would be a crying shame if millions of Obama voters perished in the streets for want of a “living” wage.
The faster we raise the minimum wage, the faster we get robots.
Bye-bye perpetually angry Black workers who spit in my food.
Bye-bye friendly and competent Hispanic workers who vote for the Democrat Party.
Be careful what you wish for.
The safety "net" has become a safety "nest".
All true, but I’m not too sorry to see California decide to be the bleeding edge on the issue, because I have a hunch there’ll be more bleeding than edge. No one will learn if all we ever discuss is fine-sounding abstractions. Somebody has to try it and get beat up as a result - that saves the rest of us the necessity to try it ourselves. There will be excuses made for the failure and fingers pointed at the usual culprits when the scheme results in higher unemployment - that’s what liberals always do. That part won’t change.
Fundamentally, the effect of minimum wage laws is to eliminate from the marketplace prospective workers whose productivity, at least initially, would be insufficient to justify paying them minimum wage. This will have the effect of forcing employers to hire other more-productive people to do jobs which would have been done by those less-productive people, thus making less of their labor available for other purposes. This will increase the wages that can be demanded by those who remain in the marketplace, but if one figures that the less-productive people are going to have to be paid *somehow*, whether by an employer or by taxes, the net effect is that minimum-wage laws don’t really help anybody except Democrat politicians.
Tell these people minimum wage should be $100 an hour and they’ll scream “No! That will make prices go up!”
And enough to make sure the government knows what you are paid no matter for tax purposes....
We recently had a black reporter for the local paper do a story on living on food stamps.
[shockingly] His conclusion was that he could eat really well, and likely was more healthy after a month on the regimen because it forced him to shop and cook wisely.
He even mentioned that most food stamp recipients are deficient in knowledge in shopping wisely and cooking.
“It would be a crying shame if millions of Obama voters perished in the streets for want of a living wage.”
A rather questionable premise, say I.
Who will weep for the Obama voters who assume room temperature?
And for what reason?
Please answer with specific examples!
Minimum wage is a commie plot to put all black people on the dole and drag our country down to third-world status.
Well, okay. It’s only part of the “fundamental transformation of America” plot, but it’s a doozie.
On my first job in 1965, minimum wage was $1.25/hour. Even then when I was young and stupid, I realized that the
government was interfering in a business transaction between me and my employer.
In a free country, people should be able to negotiate salary, and the potential employee or employer should be free to
accept or reject the terms offered.
Thank you for the ping, Jaz!
It's worth mentioning that I wasn't very sympathetic, since their monthly budget on minimum wage was exactly - to the dollar - the same amount as Mrs WBill's and my budget at the time. And we had a couple of cars, a house payment, and were socking the unbudgeted balance of our paychecks away with both fists. But I digress....
Both the producer and his wife ran into a major problem - finding a minimum wage job. Not the "job" part, specifically. They found a number of those. No, the problem was that since they were moderately clean cut, showed up to work on time, etc etc etc....their employers kept wanting to give them raises.
That didn't fit their desired story about how hard it was to get by and how the man was keeping people down. Ooops.
The first few days were pretty boring. Video of them riding a bus (the horror!!!!) to work. Needing to show up on time (!!!!!) and having an uncomprimising boss (no!!!). Having to shop carefully (shock!!) and use coupons (unbelievable!!!) to save money at the grocery store. Mrs WBill, who is more softhearted than I, even said: "What is this crap? Looks like an average day in my life!".
Finally, the filmmaker resorted to some gimmicks. He got a lousy apartment in an unsafe area of town. He "got hurt" on the job and needed medical attention. A few other things, all ridiculously staged, all designed to bring the story back around to the desired outcome.
My takeaway was that, while living on minimum wage was not easy, it was do-able. And, most important, what was hard was *staying* at minimum wage. With some work and some attention to detail, it was easy to move up quickly.
If we are truly compassionate, we should set the minimum wage at $526.32 an hour! That would mean that everyone earns at least $1 million every year! We’d certainly eliminate poverty lickety split..
Who cares if a big mac value meal #1 costs $350....
“When and if the minimum wage becomes a living wage”
It is not possible for any wage to be set that would be a “living wage.” Inflation would outpace the labor increases.
“There will be excuses made for the failure and fingers pointed at the usual culprits when the scheme results in higher unemployment - thats what liberals always do. That part wont change.”
True enough. In fact, as soon as Pelosi took the house, she raised the federal min wage. It was only coincidental that it occured right before the enemployment rate skyrocketed and has remained high...
Yep, purely coincidental and things would improve if we could “re-educate” tea partiers...
You called my bluff. No, I won’t be weeping! LOL Bob