“Ironically, the futuristic short-order cook has been developed to replace workers in one of the most progressive states in America. Several California cities have already raised the minimum wage as the state plans to push the rate to $15 by 2022.”
“This wage is not sustainable for a lot of companies… in that $5 increase, you’re talking about $12,000 increase per employee… where does that money come from,” warned Peter Tateishi of the Sacramento Metro Chamber.”
I mentioned this the other day over on Being Classically Liberal when the topic came up. I said, “If $15 is good then why not $20? Isn’t $20 better? If they really care about a living wage, why $15? Why not $30, why not $50? Eventually you get a point where they will say that it’s too much. Then you ask them why it’s too much, they will say a business can’t afford to pay $50 or they will say the work being done isn’t worth $50. Then we can explain that it’s not worth $15 either.”
In my first actual job I made $1.75 an hour. I was 12. I worked hard and thought I should get more. I told my dad this. He asked me how much I thought I should get. I told him $2.50 because I worked very hard. He said, “ask for it” I replied “what if he says no?” and my dad explained that I had two choices at that point, to either continue working for the lower wage, or quit. So at 12, I was unemployed. He said no, I said good-bye. While I do understand that unemployment is different for an adult with a family to feed that was a valuable lesson to me. Know what you are worth and be willing to look for it elsewhere if you have to.
You see, you might think you are worth $2.50 an hour but your boss, the business owner, the one with his neck on the line, has a say in it too. It’s not you demanding it but rather negotiating it. It’s like anything else, if you don’t want to pay $8.00 for a burger, you go someplace where they are $5.00. A wage is a price tag on your labor. If the boss isn’t willing to pay, he finds labor elsewhere at the price he wants to pay. I realize that some people find it offensive to think of their labor that way, but how else should you think of it? The only person who thinks you are special just because you exist is your grandmother and that’s only because she gets to send you home.
Along with hating to hear that human labor is subject to the rules of economics leftists also hate to hear that poverty is subjective. Everyone in America, when compared to the rest of the world, is a member of the 1%. The default state of man is poverty so-called. You are born with nothing and must work to obtain anything you have. It’s the curse of Adam and we have to live with it. I grew up poor but didn’t know it. My neighbors thought we had money because we had three cars. They didn’t seem to notice the spider webs underneath. I knew a man who lived in the Appalachian mountains. He lived in a shack on a hill. He saw time and again on television shows about him and his people. These shows were all about misery and poverty. He wished they would stop making them he said, it was embarrassing being lied about. To the elite in New York seeking to tug the heart-strings and get viewers he was poor, his kin were poor, and his neighbors were poor. But them all, they were happy and had enough. The Lord, they said, always provided.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people in the world who are poor by anyone’s standard. Those are the people who don’t have the food they need to survive, or the water. You see, that’s probably the only real measure of poverty. The tribe living in the deep jungle of South America has food, loin coverings, and shelter. They aren’t poor. But in many parts of the world people don’t have these things. They we can say are poor. I feel humanity has a moral obligation to those people. I do what I can to help each paycheck.
I bring all of this up really to point out what I’ve said before, but in a different perspective. Capitalism, an economy, is a complex organic system. It operates on certain principles and rules. It’s more biological than anything else. It’s based on billions of separate minds desperately seeking not to poor, meaning, to have food, clothing and shelter. Each mind goes about it the best way possible. There are ebbs and flows in this system. I think any attempt to predict it, to speculate at it, is a gamble. I do not blame anyone for wanting a raise, not at all, they are just going about doing what minds in a biologically complex system do.
But here’s the problem – socialism and its kin seek to control this complex system. They seek to bend billions of minds seeking their own into a single pattern and path. When we talk about minimum wage, we’re really talking about forcing the mind of the shop owner to pay something he doesn’t want to pay. Since no law or social experiment actually can change his mind he still looks at the wage and matches it with the individual. Fine, he thinks, if he has to pay $15 an hour then he’s going to get his money’s worth and hire someone with $15 an hour worth of skill and experience. That leaves the person without that much experience out of a job. That’s the reality of minimum wage. It might sound noble on the surface but underneath people fail to notice all the spider webs.