Here’s an interesting hypothesis: If there was no minimum wage, there would be almost no unemployment, far less human trafficing and immigration woes, and the cost of goods would drop, making it possible for Americans to afford American-made goods again. Heck, America could start actually making things on a large scale as in days of yore.
The standard argument for minimum wage laws is at best based on the outdated notion of exploitation from the time of [[The Jungle]]. However, low wages do not exploit the worker because they are not forced to accept it. Times aren’t like years ago (and in limited places) where there was one employer in a town and little entrepreneurialism.
This seems to also be the product of a fantasy world in which the cost of goods wont go up when the people who make or sell them have to pay more to bring it to market. In reality, raising the minimum wage does nothing but take jobs away from people under whom the law applies. And I mean NOTHING. Your buying power doesn’t increase above the subsequent rise in prices. It’s a cause of inflation, plain and simple.
For it to be a truly Free (and ethical) Market, prices AND wages must not be set by either big business (monopolies and trusts) OR by government. The circumstance will dictate the best levels by which the most people can pay a fair price for (or afford) goods and services.
Still don’t think so? I always try to get people to wake up on this rationale by making a simple sarcastic statement: Let’s raise the minimum wage just high enough to make it so people can ONLY afford foreign goods.
The understanding is simple: artificial wage control — and that includes unions — just rearranges the furniture; it does not improve the house.
But what about the “right” to a “living wage”?
There’s been an outcry against employers who don’t provide a “living wage”. What people forget is they aren’t SUPPOSED TO. Some jobs are for a second income or a few buck between semesters. There is a natural niche for such jobs, and taking that away will cause more people to be employed under the table because people WANT to work for less if that’s what’s available and they don’t want to become dependent on the state. Even insisting on a “living wage” for every job isn’t even feasable without wrecking the economy. No, there will always be soda jerks of one stripe or another, making a few bucks while opportunities present themselves to become more gainfully employed in another phase of one’s life.
But before we leave the topic, let’s be frank on REAL exploitation. The minimum wage has done more than give advantage to foreign employers and outsourcing — it has created a whole industry of human trafficking and exploitation of illegals.
Minimum wage laws (and arguably unions) are another example of the cure being worse than the disease, or the road to hell being paved with good intentions. Welcome to the business-as-usual process of politics.