To The Daily Sun,
Bob Joseph believes that based on rates of inflation, the minimum wage should be around $15 to $16 an hour. At least that was his assertion in a recent letter. Hey Bob, why not $20 or even $30 an hour. Wouldn't that be even more equitable, fair and compassionate? Just forcing businesses to pay employees more, despite razor-thin profit margins, makes those on the left feel really good. They can move on to other issues now that their work is done here. Good intentions are so quickly accomplished and you don't have to get your hands dirty.
Being in that party of the so-called harsh and less compassionate right, I thought I might check out some hard, cold facts. I enlisted the exhaustive research done by Thomas Sowell, esteemed economist and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Walter E. Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University and, finally, Ellen Sauerbrey, chairman of Maryland Business for Responsive Government. Oh, and despite what either Jon Hoyt or Henry Osmer said about me, I constantly cite resources that I use when voicing my opinions. How could you not know that?
Professor Walter Williams' book, "Race and Relations" has many historical and statistical facts to ponder. "In 1948, black teen unemployment was lower than white teen unemployment. Today, black teen unemployment is 40 percent while white teen unemployment is 20 percent." Over the past 50 years, black teen unemployment has never been less than 20 percent, and has been as high as 50 percent, says Thomas Sowell.
Dr. Sowell confirms that "minimum wage laws reduce employment opportunities for the young and unskilled of any age." It has been happening around the world for generations and Sowell says you can check out those statistics by reading a copy of the distinguished British magazine, The Economist, at any local library.
Ellen Sauerbrey notes that "markets set wages". "When labor costs go up, employers have two choices. They can attempt to pass the price on to consumers (and perhaps lose customers) or find a way to cut costs." In the restaurant business that can mean increasing menu prices, cutting employees, or just closing up shop. According to one San Francisco newspaper, restaurants and grocery stores in Oakland's Chinatown have closed after the minimum wage law was passed.
The Heritage Foundation reports that 97 percent of wage earners make more than the minimum wage and the majority of them are between the ages of 18 and 24. Many are students working part time and living in households averaging $53,000 per year. The Department of Labor reports that only 4 percent of minimum wage workers are single parents with full-time jobs.
For the most part, these "compassionate" minimum wage laws are more about allowing liberal/progressives (see most Democrats) to pat themselves on the back and feel good about themselves while leaving the poor and unskilled unable to take that first step onto the career ladder in order to gain some valuable experience in the job market. That has caused devastation for decades in those populations. Check out Spain, Greece and South Africa and their generous minimum wage laws for proof. Then check out Switzerland's unemployment rate which has no minimum wage laws — it always seems to remain below 4 percent, says Dr. Sowell.
There is some pro and con debate to the Earned Income Tax Credit, but many economists claim it works much better in helping low-income earners. They say it doesn't lead to job loss, it doesn't deter hiring and since it penetrates about 80 percent of low income working families, it raises the effective minimum wage for a mom with two kids from $7.25 an hour to $10.44 an hour.
Again Walter Williams' book, "Race and Economics" (2012), is brimming with dozens of studies that show how these minimum wage laws have had a negative employment effect on low skilled workers. Bob Joseph claims that "what happens when you increase people's wages, you increase their spending power." Well yes, Bob, providing they actually have a job and don't lose their job or get cut back to part-time status.
Let's have a real and honest debate about this issue shall we? Good intentions make liberals feel good about themselves while providing them with one more opportunity to label those conservative types as lacking in compassion for those less fortunate than them. Somehow, the results of those good intentions gets lost in the translation. The destruction to families this particular policy has caused worldwide is there for all to see. Why do the liberal/progressives pretend not to see? Why don't they understand that allowing entrepreneurship to thrive by getting the government out of the way, thus creating more jobs, is the way to go?
- Category: Letters
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