If you’re thinking of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, you need maximum compassion, and liberals don’t have it. Promises of more money for lots of people can make voters ridiculously happy if they don’t understand that more for some always means less for others. So the liberals get elected, do their thing and ruin lives of the poorest and most disadvantaged of our fellow citizens.
Here’s a big issue just underlined in a report by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office. It says increasing the current $7.25 minimum wage by that much could fatten the wallets of 17 million workers. That sounds great except that, maybe for 1.3 million others, it could bring their pay checks to zero. They could lose their jobs, knock on doors and probe the internet for maybe weeks and months and then possibly retire to watching TV and sighing a lot.
Such calculations are, of course, just educated guesses that other guesses of higher or less erudition may dispute. The Heritage Foundation, for instance, says that a wage boost to $15 would affect a third of those earning wages and salaries and could put a devastating 7 million of them on the streets. The chief beneficiaries would be suburban teens and, some economists say, entrepreneurs would be made more timid.
The point is that businesses would have to come up with the extra money one way or the other, an obvious means being to lay people off, usually the less skilled sometimes replaceable by technology. The fired then don’t get the experience leading to better jobs in the future and won’t wish liberals a place in heaven.
Businesses may also raise prices, thereby reducing purchasing power for people who often can’t afford the squeeze. The owners could also substitute part-time jobs for fulltime jobs or, if nothing worked well, close down their operations, a deprivation not just to them, but to other employees and the community. Another issue is that a federal minimum wage of $15 might seem appropriate for the economy of one state or area while it would be malware for another.
But never mind. Right now, as you might have noticed, we’ve got a bunch of Democrats running in a primary that they hope will advance their cause of White House residence. On this issue, they could opt for a lower minimum wage to help reduce the negatives, but at least 19 of the candidates like $15. An argument is that the current minimum wage has been squatting in a corner for years while wages in general have been stagnant. Some would have you know it’s all because of the greedy rich exploiting workers with Republican aid.
Nope. A Republican named President Donald Trump has raised wages, with unemployment rates reaching historic lows even as cheers of halleluiah fail to reach Democratic ears. Trump’s tool was not governmental impositions making businesses seek a place to hide, but deregulation and tax reform. The economic system was free at last, or headed that way, and corporations expanded and created jobs.
Oh no, it didn’t happen, say the Democrats who lately have been giving socialism a hug and want to raise taxes on all those corporations, thereby undoing what Trump accomplished. Their other plan is to spend like crazy. And look, one of Trump’s major weaknesses has been ignoring the debt, but these people could rush us to a crisis in a minute. To help fix everything gone crazily amiss, there would be their minimum wage hikes and, soon enough, the public would realize they are on the Titanic even as an opportunistic captain keeps saying don’t worry.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service.