Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Minimum Wage is Actually Zero

This is the unpleasant fact that most people who support the minimum wage fail to realize or refuse to accept.  The minimum wage guarantees everyone (mostly) WITH A JOB, a minimum wage PER HOUR.  It doesn't guarantee you a job, or a minimum number of hours.

The Minimum Wage sounds good, which explains why it has so much support, but if you can't get a job - you get zero.  More specifically, if you can't provide a value per hour of productivity that is more than the minimum wage, then you can't get work.  You are structurally unemployable.  Funny thing is, the people most likely to be unable to provide this value are the ones we are trying to help with the minimum wage.

And that's just the beginning of effects of the minimum wage.  There are other alternatives to an employer just eating the higher wage out of profits: cutting hours, raising prices, demanding more from workers, automation, going out of business.  Plus there's the affects that never get seen: businesses that never start because the regulations are too onerous and make profitability difficult, impossible, or simply not worth the risk (there's a reason bug, established companies support the minimum wage - they can pay it, their potential competitors can't).  There's also the fact that someone who can't provide enough value at the minimum wage now is unable to take advantage of the best way to learn skills that will allow them to provide that value in the future - by working!

Sure, you can cite studies that say these effects aren't real, or that they're minimal, or that they're offset by the increase in wages.  The problem is that for every one of those studies, there are several that point out the obvious, inescapable economic fact that when you raise the price of something, ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL, you get less of it.  I capitalized that because it explains why every minimum wage hike doesn't cause unemployment to go up.  To make a simple example: employment trends up over time - the minimum wage doesn't always reverse this trend, but, in a vacuum, it will slow it down.  You can show me study after study, but the burden of proof is high when you say that employment violates a fundamental law of economics - supply and demand - it just doesn't add up.

The question isn't: "What is the state of the economy now?"  It's: "What would it be if we hadn't been artificially inflating wages for almost fifty years?"  It's: not: "What effect does the minimum wage have on minority employment?"  It's: "What would minority unemployment be now if we hadn't been pricing many of them out of employment for the last 50 years?"

There's racism of thought, action and effect.  The minimum wage is racist in effect, and pretty damn effective at it as well.  Hell, there's a lot of evidence that this was the PURPOSE of the minimum wage!  If you want to improve the lives of minorities and the poor, freeze the minimum wage.

And stop demonizing minimum wage opponents as anti-poor.  We just believe in economics.  We may be wrong, but our hearts are in the same place yours are.

No comments:

Post a Comment