Friday, January 12, 2007

On the minimum wage

"A question for you: Do you think that it would be appropriate for the federal government to force you to pay more for a product at the store than that product is worth to you? What if the government came to you and told you that the company making the product you wish to buy just isn't making enough money. Their profit margin has been stagnant for four years, and so the government wants you to pay more for the product so that the company making the product could get more profit. Like the idea? Do you think the government should tell you what must pay more for an item from the department store or grocery shelf than it is worth? If not .. then how can you support the idea that the government should tell an employer that he has to pay a person more for his labor than it is worth?" - Neal Boortz

What Boortz neglects to add here is that is EXACTLY what government does when it increases the minimum wage. Who do you think pays the cost of a higher minimum wage? Evil greedy companies? Au contraire mon ami. It is the consumer who pays the cost, which companies just pass along with higher prices.

By the way, which companies usually pay minimum wage to their employees? That would be companies whose profit margins are the tightest. Companies which sell a lot to the poor and low wage earners. So it is completely meaningless to the poor. They end up making more, but they also pay more.

What about small businesses which can't afford to raise their prices (in order to stay competitive), but also can't afford to pay their employees more than the current minimum wage? They get squeezed out of business, while the Walmarts of the world roll right along.

On the bright side, unionized workers will make more (due to collective bargaining agreements which raise salaries every time the minimum wage goes up). Great news for the struggling U.S. auto manufacturing companies and airlines. Instead of the slow, strangling death they were facing due to too many union concessions, let's blow those industries out of the water!

One final point, which Neal Boortz made the other day:
"But here's what I don't understand. How's come whenever Democrats talk about raising the minimum wage, it's only a dollar or two? They want to raise it to $7.25 or about being cheap! If you can't raise a family on $5.15 an hour, then how are you going to do it on $7.25 an hour? Why not raise the minimum wage to something say, $25 an hour. Obviously the single mom running the drive-thru at the local taco stand deserves that.

Oh...we can't raise it that much? Because it would kill jobs? Then if that is the case, liberals themselves are proving the point of their opponents. And by the way, this idea that somebody is supposed to raise a family on the minimum wage is nonsense. The minimum wage is for high school kids...people just entering the workforce. If that's the best you can do after working several years, then there is only one way to describe a person in that situation: a loser.


William R. Barker said...

Ed... while I agree that in large measure the minimum wage is irrelevent and perhaps creates more harm than good at the margins... not everyone stuck in a minimum wage job is a "loser." Many probably are... but Boortz comes off way too harsh for me. Some people... for whatever reason... get stuck on the bottom rugs of life. Yes, in most cases their own failings have a lot to do with it... but a blanket condemnation of them all as "losers?" I don't agree with that.


EdMcGon said...

Of course, some people in minimum wage jobs are young people just starting out. But most of them won't be working in minimum wage jobs for long.

But what would you call someone who has worked minimum wage jobs all their life? That sounds to me like the very definition of "loser".

William R. Barker said...

As to your first paragraph... agreed.

As to your second paragraph... I'd have to know the individual's circumstances.

Ed... I've never experienced real "poverty." I've seen it, though. In a thread over at RT I used the word "ignorant" to describe another poster. "Ignorant" is not the same as stupid. It simply means "unaware."

Not everyone is raised in a "functional" way, Ed. Some people either have no ambition or have had the ambition knocked out of them.

Yeah... there are "losers" vs. WINNERS in life's lottery and I'm certainly not saying the difference can only be chalked up to "luck." In most... MOST... cases there are reasons - often self-imposed reasons - why people fail to become "winners." That said... I take it that you are using the term "loser" as a prejurative as much as the opposite of "winner." That's what I'm not on board with.

If I misinterpret YOUR definition... then perhaps we're on the same page after all. If not... then not.


P.S. - Don't forget... I'm ALWAYS right. Just ask AIP! (*GRIN*)