Why Minimum Wage Means Maximum Slavery

While we were in Vancouver last week, the dipsticks in Washington, District of Criminals did it again. They increased the Minimum Wage from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour.

I don’t mean to preach to the choir, but there goes the remnant of what might otherwise have been the start of a jobs recovery.

Wage and Price Controls don’t work. You and I can see it in everyday real life. Richard Nixon tried it and failed. The Pols that run the country can’t seem to see beyond the end of their noses. Actually, they know exactly what will happen but they’re so hell-bent to reward unions, they don’t care.

Why unions? Simple. If the minimum wage is increased, naturally the union wage must also be increased. Increasing the union wage rate keeps the membership in line and fattens the pockets of the union officials. In turn, it helps get the Pols re-elected. Talk about being hypocritical. The very Pols that caused the dollar to lose purchasing power due to government deficit spending now pretend to be so munificent as to help the poor earn a “living wage.”

This is no different than rent controls or price controls. Anytime artificial numbers are substituted for what an otherwise free market would be willing to pay, somebody gets hurt. In the case of minimum wages, it’s the very low-level worker that gets hurt. If the objective is to provide employment for entry level workers, minimum wage isn’t the answer.

Would you like a job paying $6.55 per hour or would you prefer no-job paying $7.25 per hour?

It really is that simple. If you’re a marginal worker, you’re expendable. The business for which you work can perhaps justify paying you $6.55 per hour to sweep or wash dishes. When then forced to pay $7.25 per hour for the same services, the business just decides they can no longer afford to hire the sweeper or dishwasher. They make other arrangements to get the jobs done. Meanwhile, the former dishwasher is now out of a job thanks to the Federal Government raising the minimum wage.

During WWII, we had all sorts of wage, rent and price controls. Perhaps because we were involved in a major war, folks simply made-do without and devoted their efforts to helping the United States win the war. Once the war was over, most of the wage and price controls were removed. The economy then took-off like a scalded dog.

There were a few pockets of resistance however. One was Santa Monica, CA. They decided rent controls were necessary because “greedy” landlords were taking advantage of the “poor” tenants. Ditto NYC, by the way. The result was fewer units available because the very folks that risk their own money and expended their own energies to provide living accommodations weren’t willing to do so for a less-than-profitable return. Existing units were not well maintained because the owner was seldom allowed to increase rents to cover expenses. New units were exempt. Those new units were rentable at whatever the market would pay. As a result, all varieties of high-priced new units came on the market while the more-affordable units vanished. Once again, the very folks who were supposed to be helped by rent controls now found themselves with no choices, thanks to government interference.

As mentioned above, during WWII, we had price controls on almost everything. We also had coupon books that limited the quantity of almost every good we could purchase. My mom traded coupons with other moms so everyone had a chance to get what they really needed. Shortages, however, were the norm. It made almost no difference whether you had an “A,” “B,” or “C” gasoline sticker for your car because you couldn’t buy tires.

When prices and/or quantities are artificial.

Why Minimum Wage Means Maximum Slaverylly limited, scarcity is the result.

Have you heard the opposition to Obama’s National Health Care complain about rationing? This is exactly the “why” of that complaint. Some bureaucrat will decide who gets what medical treatment. The excuse is that medical costs are too high. It’s another form of wage and price controls. In this case, the result will be otherwise-avoidable deaths simply due to the rationing of medical services. And as you’ve read many times, if you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.

So what’s the solution? What about “all those poor people?” What’s a heartless capitalist to do?

Recall Mama Obama ranting during the campaign that “some folks are going to have to give-up some of their pie so that others can have some?” Neither she nor the multitudes like her understand the basics of Economics 101. Our economy is not a zero-sum game.

For most of my life, I raced cars and one of my favorite races was the 2000 mile La Carrera Panamericana from Guatemala to the USA through central Mexico. Let’s admit that Mexico is a poor country. That is, many of the folks are considered to be poor. Yet as I traveled throughout Mexico, I saw color TVs in cardboard shacks. I must have been really “poor” when I was a kid because we didn’t even have a black and white TV. No one did. We were one of the first families in the neighborhood to get a TV and that wasn’t until 1948. Today, even a poor Mexican can have a color TV. Why? Because contrary to Mama Obama, the world’s pie continues getting bigger. That means even the poorest among us can enjoy a living standard that wasn’t even available when I was young.

We have a bunch of politicians who continuously deficit-spend thus reducing the purchasing power of the dollar. Then they graciously increase the mandatory minimum wage in order to off-set the loss of purchasing power they, themselves, created. Do you suppose there is a moral hazard hiding somewhere in this fraud?

Tex Norton

The Daily Reckoning