Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 4/25/14


Thank God for Rolling Stone magazine. You’ve heard of it, I’m sure. It’s the magazine that put Boston Marathon terrorist bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover and made him look like a model for the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog.

I’m thankful to Rolling Stone for making the never-ending task of coming up with material for these commentaries unbelievably easy for this and the next five weeks. They put a piece on their website by Sean McElwee on April 23 entitled, “Six Studies That Show Everything Republicans Believe Is Wrong.” As the person who called the article to my attention said, “a Niagara of You Tell Me material.”

Thank you Rolling Stone for six articles that all but write themselves.

Let’s take the first of the six examples of Republican wrongness according to Mr. McElwee – the one that bears the subhead, “The Minimum Wage Doesn’t Kill Jobs.”

In his text, Mr. McElwee accuses Republicans of over-simplifying the minimum wage argument. His article says, Raise the price of labor through a minimum wage, they [Republicans] claim, and employers will hire fewer workers.” Well give him credit, he at least quotes the argument correctly. And the argument regarding minimum wage is, in fact, simple.

Raise the cost of something and people buy less of it.

Lefty authors and pundits – including the authors of the lefty websites to which Mr. McElwee links us in support of his minimum wage thesis – all have one thing in common. To the extent that they have any experience at all with paychecks, that experience is limited to cashing them. They have never had the experience of writing one.

Say minimum wage and people automatically think of fast food employees. But minimum wage affects employment in every industry.

Entry level jobs pay the least. That’s because entry-level employees, because of their inexperience, offer the least economic benefit to an employer. But an entry level job affords a young worker the opportunity to gain the experience necessary to advance to higher paying jobs. Thus when you arbitrarily raise the minimum wage beyond what an employer can economically pay, you wind up hurting the very people minimum wage is supposed to help.

Speaking as someone who has written paychecks – twice a month for nearly 23 years – I can tell you for certain that the price of labor has a direct effect on how much of it I buy. And I can also tell you for certain that as the price for entry-level labor rises, I either find a way to automate the doing of that labor or I simply say, ‘This is something we can’t afford to do.’

Near the end of the paragraph McElwee says that raising the minimum wage helps the economy by “giving workers more money to spend on goods and services.”

By that argument we should quit pussyfooting around and raise the minimum wage to $48.08 an hour. That’s $100,000 per year. Think of all the goods and services everyone would be buying then!

Of course try not to think about the fact that a gallon of milk, assuming you could find one, would cost over $23.00.

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