Cruelty – Part One: The Minimum Wage – Guest Post
April 8, 2009 by admncc
Here at The Constant Complainer, in addition to my posts, readers can submit Guest Posts on topics they would like to complain about. Neo Con Don submitted the below-Guest Post. I stopped publishing extreme liberal and conservative Guest Posts a while ago, but love him or hate him, Neo Con Don has presented the facts as close to the middle of the road as he’s going to get, so he’s back, and without further adieu, here’s Don…
As a conservative, I spend time focusing on the least among us. It is one of the core principles of the conservative movement, and fits nicely with the spiritual side of my life. I became very frustrated when I saw the politicians try to use gov’t to “help the poor” by raising the minimum wage. For a politician in a sound byte world it is very difficult to explain opposition to an increase in the minimum wage, and the liberal media would likely not tell the whole story so the reader gets a chance to decide. Add that to the poor education we give our children, and it’s easy for voters to think that an increase in the minimum wage is a good thing for anybody. The minimum wage increase from 2 years ago has once again proved to be yet another cruel action against the least among us, and another piece in the puzzle of liberal failure.
Let’s take off our do-gooder hats for a moment and put on our business hats. Business owners are in business to make the largest profit they can. They are not in the business of creating jobs or providing health care. All of that is part of the bonus plan when there is a quality product or service that solves a problem for its customers. That is a fact that has been removed from our schools and politics.
Taken on the surface, it’s easy to say that ‘raising the wages of the poorest people can’t be a bad thing.’ If the lowest paid workers get paid a little more, they can buy more and start to get ahead. Unfortunately, the opposite it true. While the intentions of the act are noble, the minimum wage laws adversely affect the same people that they are intended to help. To understand why, we need to know who is earning the minimum wage.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.7 million workers earned wages at or below the federal minimum wage in 2007 representing 2.3 percent of the hourly workforce. Nearly half of them were 25 years old or younger, and three fifths of all workers at or below the minimum wage were in the food service and drink industry where incomes are supplemented with tips. These people earn much more than the minimum wage.
So who really earns only the minimum wage? The answer is those who bring the least amount of value to the job they perform. In many cases, it’s the young that are on their first job that need to be trained and supervised by a higher paid employee. Hiring a new worker is very expensive and usually costs the business more money than they yield in profit. Other earners of the minimum wage are the mentally retarded and physically disabled. It is very important for these people to have jobs so they can have a greater self worth, expand their skills, and be less dependent on taxpayers and their guardians. If the people that claim to care about these people force the businesses that employ them to pay them more, the businesses are forced to eliminate their positions and hire someone with the skills to at least break even. What would be better for one of these individuals…earning $4 per hour and having a job that earns a profit for the employer, or forcing that employer to pay him $6 per hour and the employer looses money? If that employer can’t raise prices high enough to cover the cost of higher wages and payroll taxes, he must fire that employee and employ a more productive one. That is a lose-lose situation, and typical liberal cruelty.
Finally, let’s look at the logic behind the minimum wage argument. There are two reasons the gov’t would be in favor of raising minimum wage. First, it helps with re-election. Second, it brings in more tax dollars. While minimum wage earners likely won’t pay federal or state income taxes, they will be paying the payroll tax which is approximately 15% of total earnings. But the reality is that the tax system doesn’t operate in a zero-sum fashion. President Kennedy proved that by lowing tax rates, more tax dollar are collected because of an expanding economy, and that raising tax rates, less taxes are collected and the economy shrinks. President Reagan and President Bush 43 proved it again.
The result of the increase in the minimum wage has increased unemployment over all, and has caused the teenage unemployment rate to be 150% higher than the national unemployment average. Wage increases occur with experience, so this high unemployment rate among teen will yield lower wages for them when they finally enter the work force.
If increasing the minimum wage prevented people from being poor, why not make the minimum wage $8, or $10, or $50? Why not tell every nation in Africa and South America to make their minimum wage $20 per hour and they will no longer be a poor continent. It just doesn’t work that way.
Walter E. Williams, an economist at George Mason University says that there are 4 easy ways to not be poor:
- Graduate from High school.
- Get married before having children and then stay married.
- Work any type of job (even one that pays minimum wage.)
- Avoid engaging in criminal behavior.
Let’s educate our young people on these 4 behaviors and get gov’t out of their lives…they’ll make more money and have a better life.