Paraphrasing Sir Isaac Newton, for every action, there's a reaction. On a more day-to-day basis, we can observe that there is a consequence to every decision we make. In most cases, those consequences are favorable, in others, the consequence has a negative impact. For example . . .
Those who desire to make life better for those at the lower end of the income ladder, desire to raise the "minimum" wage to around $15.00 per hour. We are told that everyone should be able to make enough money to support their family without the need to have more than one job or to require some government assistance. Sounds good! But, let's look at the impact or the consequences of such a decision.
— Minimum wage jobs are "starter jobs" that generally go to young people who are just entering the workforce. The jobs often don't require any previously learned skills and the employer can give the individual on-the-job training to fulfill the basic job requirements. In many cases, the employer may hire more of the unskilled than they would people who already have the basic job skills needed to do the job. In a sense, the employer is paying a wage sufficient enough to have the newly hired begin to "learn to earn". So, consequence number one is that the higher minimum wage will, in all probability, diminish the number of entry level jobs that become available. Businesses will expect the new hire to bring established skills and abilities to the position.
— Elevating the current minimum wage jobs to the "living wage" level, will have the impact of dis-incentivizing people. Why study to get into college or to learn a useful trade skill if, right after you drop out of high school, you can begin to earn a "living wage"? The unintended consequence will be an increase in the low income earner base.
— Another consequence is that the consumers will be the ones paying the increased wages, the Social Security and Medicare premiums, the cost of the employee's health care premiums, and so on. The consumer will absorb those costs by paying more for the products or services they consume.
— If the starter wage is raised, one can expect all the labor rates above that position will expect and demand their wages also be increased . . . all requiring the employer and the employee to incur higher costs for all those Social Security, Medicare, and health insurance premiums. The unintended consequence will be that there will be a "tipping point", at which companies will consider moving their operations to a more business friendly country simply because you/we, the consumers, refuse to pay the higher costs that will be placed on all the goods and services we want and need.
Another item that may sound great is the president's call for everyone to be eligible for "free" tuition in community colleges. The consequences of such are enormous. For example . . .
— Why would anyone enroll in a four year college and pay full tuition, when they can enter a community college and not have to pay any tuition? Consider the negative consequences to state and to independent four year colleges when about half of their student population is no longer there. Or, the impact on the community college system that is expected to absorb that shift.
— History shows that approximately 20 percent of students entering a four year college need some form of remedial help. Upwards of 60percent of students entering community colleges require remedial courses. It would appear that providing free tuition at community colleges would essentially be extending the high school years from four to six. Wouldn't it be better to "fix" the problems at the elementary and high school levels?
Another issue is the President previously calling for children to enter a pre-K class at the age of four. He now wants to provide free child care to families so that both mothers and fathers can work.
— Consider the fact that his proposals would basically put someone other than a parent in control of the children from shortly after they are born, until they are in their early twenties.
— Russia employed such a system and in it, the government determined what job training the child would receive from the time they were in elementary grades. The parents had no say in the decision.
— As a partial by-product of government management of individual family decisions, Russian family birth rates dropped to levels that have caused that country's population to basically be cut in half each generation. Russia has a population crisis that is forcing it to try and reconstitute the Soviet Union just to get more population so it can defend its vast country.
— Will our citizens be amenable to the "government" becoming the "parent" of their children?
The President also wants to extend the full "earned income tax credit" to couples who don't have any children, approximately 13.5 million more people. This change is expected to cost over sixty billion dollars.
— Even of more concern than the increased financial aid, is the consequence of us dis-incentivizing the population; taking away the desire to learn the skills needed to earn a better living.
— Where is the motivation when there is no responsibility to provide for one's own needs?
— The more the government assumes the role of nanny, freedom is lost as the government becomes the one that determines the extent of your needs.
History has shown that government cannot effectively direct and manage a business enterprise. In fact, it has shown that it cannot effectively manage and control the bloated bureaucracy that now exists. All these so called "good things" only serve to put us on the new road to serfdom. We will no longer be a government of, by, and for the people. Maybe Huxley's "Brave New World" is the blueprint to our future.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
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