Minimum Wage

How to Help Fast-Food Workers

Raising the minimum wage will hurt, not help.

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Doubling the minimum wage may seem like a good way to help fast-food workers, but it would hurt them instead. So what should we do? We must sweep away the government-created barriers to income earning, barriers that protect established businesses from competition and rob the most vulnerable people of options.

This week, fast-food workers have engaged in 24-hour strikes throughout America to bring attention to their struggle to make ends meet. They have been demanding an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour and the right to organize unions.

The low minimum wage, however, is not the cause of their problems; it's a sign of deeper factors holding them back. In fact, the minimum wage distracts us from the radical changes we must make if low-income workers are to advance. Those who fixate on the minimum wage unwittingly do struggling workers a disservice.

What workers need is greater bargaining power, and that comes primarily from having options. Unfortunately, the corporate state, which people mistake for the free market, closes off options. Anything less than removal of these obstacles is a cruel hoax on those seeking better lives.

What's wrong with simply doubling the minimum wage? The answer is that wages are not arbitrarily set. Even in a corporatist economy, they result from supply and demand. This can be seen in an extreme hypothetical example, in which the minimum wage in the fast-food industry is raised to $100 an hour. What would happen to employment? It's easy to see that it would plummet as the industry itself faded away. Why? Because, given the price of fast food, workers can't possibly produce $100 worth of value for their employers in an hour.

Employers don't hire people as a favor. Businesses exist to make money for their owners. If hiring someone is to be worthwhile, that person will have to produce more than she is paid. If she can't, she won't have a job.

Couldn't a restaurant raise prices to cover the higher wages? It could try, but this would drive away customers, who would seek out cheaper meals at other restaurants. (Franchisee profit margins are already thin.) If they all raised prices, people would eat at home instead. What happens to the jobs then?

The point is that wages aren't set by picking numbers out of the air. Set them too high relative to value created, and the business disappears. Set them too low, and workers will look for alternatives.

So the spotlight should be on alternatives. On first glance, someone working at a fast-food restaurant seems to have alternatives. McDonald's faces competition from Burger King, Wendy's, and more. Low-skilled jobs can also be found in other kinds of businesses, such as Walmart. The problem is that the demand for such labor is more than matched by the supply. That's the thing about low-skilled work: lots of people can do it, especially when an economy has not fully recovered from a (government-induced) recession. That's why it pays to acquire marketable skills. (Rotten government schools handicap the most vulnerable Americans.)

Government aggravates an already bad situation anytime it erects artificial barriers to employment alternatives, including self-employment. But governments at all levels do this routinely, usually by protecting the well-connected from market competition.

How so? I couldn't possibly count the ways here. But we can mention the most common: Occupational licensing restricts entry into many kinds of work by raising the cost of going into business. Zoning restrictions prevent people from using their homes for commercial purposes. Restrictions on street vendors and cabbies quash small-scale entrepreneurship. Intellectual-property law inhibits or harasses those whose products might be construed as violating patents or copyrights. Government land holdings make land artificially more costly. Taxes and regulations impose greater burdens on would-be entrepreneurs than on large, established businesses.

All this and more shrink the options of those with limited skills and meager resources, forcing them to vie with one another for the remaining, perhaps less-desirable jobs with reduced bargaining power. This gives an unfair advantage to employers, who know there are others eager to take the place of any "troublesome" worker.

A higher minimum wage granted by a condescending ruling elite can't help people trapped in this situation. Only a radically freed market can.

This column originally appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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  1. Those who fixate on the minimum wage unwittingly do struggling workers a disservice.

    It’s not unwitting. Part of it is about increasing the wages of unionized workers higher up the ladder; part of it is about keeping the people on the bottom shackled to government-as-“protector”.

    1. This. Unions push for a higher minimum wage because their base pay is often scaled to it.

      1. Most of the activists I see for a ‘living wage’ are urban hipsters and college students. Ironically the same people who seem oblivious to the high, often regressive, taxes urban centers have which burden the object of their activism.

        1. Most of the activists I see for a ‘living wage’ are urban hipsters and college students. Ironically the same people who seem oblivious to the high, often regressive, taxes urban centers have which burden the object of their activism.

          I see a lot of fast food workers agitating for the ‘living wage’ recently. The reason that most of the people who are the most visibly in favor of the minimum wage are urban hipsters and college students is because they tend to have a lot of disposable time which they fill with idiotic ‘activism.’

          The more useless a human being is the more likely they are to have a lot of time on their hands and the more likely they are to be involved in stupid activism projects.

          1. my co-worker’s sister makes $79 every hour on the internet. She has been out of a job for ten months but last month her paycheck was $19606 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site ………… WEP6.COM

          2. You people are chronically focused on the wrong targets. Liberals and “urban hipsters” are not the problem.

            1. It depends on the problem. In some cases liberals and urban hipsters are certainly the problem.

            2. Derpaliscious!

            3. FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS!

    2. The minimum wage in the US began in 1935 (IIRC) as a means for northern labor unions to prevent textile manufacturers from relocating to southern states where cheaper black labor was available.

      IOW, minimum wage laws were at the behest of racist unions.

      1. I think one has to be careful about this kind of statement.

        For one thing, there is too much casual tossing around of the term ‘racist’ which cheapens it when the term is deserved. I imagine the northern labor unions would have supported this kind of legislation regardless of the color of the southern workers in question (additionally I bet a good portion of those northern workers involved would have been non-Wasp immigrants who didn’t exactly have it good back then).

        Secondly, you can play into the hands of minimum wage supporters. Black workers in the south in 1935 likely worked for an artificially lower wage because of some pretty horrible discrimination that was rife there back then. It makes unions more sympathetic than they need be to point out that the measures they advocated worked to counter this.

        1. before I looked at the receipt 4 $4372, I have faith …that…my brother woz trully erning money parttime from there pretty old laptop.. there aunt has done this for only about 14 months and at present paid the morgage on there apartment and bought themselves a Mercedes. we looked here… cnn13.com

      2. Actually, it’s the opposite.

        It was an attempt to keep blacks down on the farm, instead of migrating to northern cities for factory work.

        1. It was also used to price women out of the labor markets too.

        2. NO HISTORIAN OF ECONOMICS will be surprised to find the great reform-ers of Progressive Era economics, many of them leaders of the AALL,at the forefront of American labor reform. The surprise would be ifRichard T. Ely, John R. Commons, Henry R. Seager, Sidney and Beat-rice Webb, and John B. Andrews somehow opposed the minimum-wage, maximum-hours, and working-conditions legislation that they dedicated so much time to promoting and enacting. What is more surprising is that these leading progressives campaigned for labor reform while also maintaining that restrictive labor laws, such as legal minimum wages, would disemploy poor workers. Moreover, these progressives argued that minimum-wage-induced disemployment was a social benefit. Legal minimum wages and other statutory means of inducing undesirable groups to leave the labor force were, in the progressive view, a eugenic benefit. A legal minimum helped the deserving poor by removing from employment the undeserving poor, who, by virtue of their hereditary infirmities,were wrongly dragging down the wages of the better class of worker(Leonard 2003a). Sidney and Beatrice Webb put it plainly: “With regard to certain sections of the population [the ‘unemployables’], this unemployment is not a mark of social disease, but actually of social health” (Webb and Webb [1897] 1920: 785).

          1. Link? I have a friend who will be reading that block of text in the very near future.

            1. Progressive Labor Legislation and Eugenics: Women’s Work in the Context of Race Improvement (.pdf)

              1. I just read the abstract. This is going to be a fun/depressing read.

          2. progressives using eugenics, colour me shocked.

            1. Conservatives simply preferred hanging and burning.

              1. TU QUOQUEEEEEEEE

                Seriously, are you so stupid that you don’t understand tu quoque is a fallacy? EVEN IF you prove your premise, you’re no closer to proving your conclusion.

                Very, very stupid people engage blindly in such logical fallacies, and every time they speak, they reveal what fools they are.

                Also, Tony is PB, huh? Or else tu quoque is all progs have.

                1. It’s not even a tu quoque because it’s not factual. I’m sure Tony will recall when Missouri Representative Leonidas Dyer tried to pass an anti-lynching bill in 1918 in response to the East Saint Louis riots of 1917. Democrat Senators filibustered his bill, which would have made participating in a lynch mob a federal felony, and fined the county in which the lynching took place $10,000, to paid to the family of the deceased.

                  1. I think you have a good point but your supporting evidence does not support it very well. First, it would be far too easy for Tony to point out that there was considerable ‘conservatism’ among the Democrat party of that day, so the fact that Democrats blocked the bill does little to countenance his claim. In the same vein he could point to groups, such as the NAACP, that are today undoubtedly liberal that championed anti-lynching laws and note that many of the arguments made against the law were similar to ones made today by groups on the ‘right’ (the main argument was that there was no constitutional authority for such a law).

                    But your main point is correct. Many prominent economic conservatives of the day were bravely in the forefront for civil rights and against abuses such as lynching.

                    1. First, it would be far too easy for Tony to point out that there was considerable ‘conservatism’ among the Democrat party of that day

                      That might be, if Tony actually had some grasp of the political philosophy of conservatism. Applied by Tony, conservatism just means “things I don’t like.”

                  2. Are you trying to claim that Democrats in 1918 = Democrats in 2013?

                    1. -Are you trying to claim that Democrats in 1918 = Democrats in 2013?

                      I hate to say ‘I told you so’ but…

                    2. Are you trying to claim that Democrats in 1918 = Democrats in 2013?

                      They are in favor of most of the same policies.

                    3. Are you trying to claim that Democrats in 1918 = Democrats in 2013?

                      Are you trying to claim that Democrats in 1918 ? Democrats in 2013?

                    4. Democrats in 2013 have had over 100 years of failed policies behind them, they should know better. That’s the main difference.

                    5. Are you trying to claim that Democrats in 1918 = Democrats in 2013?

                      Absolutely.

              2. Tony, you need to understand if the Burger Barn doubles your wage we consumers are not paying more for our burgers so when your boss has no choice but to lay you off because of a lack of business you’ll have no one but your derpalicious self to blame.

              3. You spelled ‘Democrats’ wrong. ‘D’, Tony, not ‘C’. Start with that.

            2. Archduke started attacking the credibility and subtly suggested nefarious motivations of modern progressives’ policy by pointing out that earlier progressives used a similar policy for eugenic/racist reasons. Modern progs obviously not being racist (for the most part), Tony used a “Tuquoque” on conservatives to subtly point that out. Modern conservatives not being (for the most part) racist. I think, that’s what happened.
              What is PB?

              1. What is PB?

                PB stands for a commenter here, Palin’s Buttplug, aka shreek.

                He is quite fond of the whole “Bush did it too!” shtick.

                1. thank you

              2. Thank you. Nothing is more annoying than being spitballed with Logic 101 vocab words on a freaking Internet discussion board.

                “Everyone was racist” in the early 1900s is a valid point, though, when the claim is that somehow progressives were more racist than others.

          3. We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

            Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

            1. I am not sure this proves very much. Holmes was admired by many a Progressive, but I don’t think he admired many progressives.

              http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07…..inion&_r=0

              1. There’s no need to “prove” progressives were for eugenics, since it was a major part of their platform. Crack a book.

                1. Of course. My point is that you don’t prove it by pointing to the pro-eugenics statements of a man who loathed progressives.

                  In a Venn Diagram the circle for ‘Progressives’ would have considerable overlap with the circle for ‘eugenics supporters’ but it would not encompass it. Case in point: the opinion of Holmes cited above was an 8-1 opinion and the majority included some of the more ‘libertarian’ justices to ever serve on the Court.

                  1. This is not how Venn diagrams work. A Venn diagram is two or three slightly overlapping circles that are used to show the existence or non-existence of elements in certain classes or sets. So even if the statement “All people who believe in eugenics are people who call themselves progressives” were true, it would not be represented by a single circle. It would be represented by two slightly overlapping circles with the part of the circle representing the class of people who believe in eugenics that does not overlap the circle representing the class of people who call themselves progressives shaded out to show that nothing exists there. In fact, since we cannot make an inference about the existence of anything in the class of people who call themselves progressives that are not also in the class of people who believe in eugenics, it would be completely wrong to represent that statement as a single circle.

              2. I am not sure this proves very much. Holmes was admired by many a Progressive, but I don’t think he admired many progressives.

                But this argument was a direct outgrowth of overall progressive dogma. Whenever Holmes made horrible decisions, as in Buck v. Bell and Schenck v. United States, it was always the result of him following progressive logic.

      3. Of course, having on the market a rather large source of cheap labor depresses wages outside of that group, too ? the wages of the white worker who has to compete. And when an employer can substitute a colored worker at a lower wage ? and there are, as you pointed out, these hundreds of thousands looking for decent work ? it affects the whole wage structure of an area, doesn’t it?

        – Senator John F. Kennedy, on a bill to raise the minimum wage in 1957

        1. See, but this is exactly what I referred to. This passage could easily be read to mean that Kennedy supported a minimum wage law to keep ‘colored’ workers from undercutting ‘white’ worker wages because ‘colored’ wages were being artificially kept low due to various Jim Crow laws.

          1. Could you cite some of those various Jim Crow laws?

            1. Laws that would keep black workers from making what they could on a more free market?

              Are you joking?

              1. Yeah, I mean laws the result of which was that “wages were being artificially kept low.” Were there essentially “maximum wage” Jim Crow laws that prevented black workers from making what they could on a more free market?

                1. You don’t have to have laws specifically targeting wages to lower bargaining power of a group. Laws that retard the chances for those groups to attain skills, experience, and such will do the same. And laws barring them from other forms of employment will as well.

                  1. No, you don’t, but that’s some pretty clear goalpost moving from “Laws that would keep black workers from making what they could on a more free market?”

                    You seemed to be making a much stronger argument that “Jim Crow laws disadvantaged blacks.”

                    1. And that disadvantage would lower bargaining power, right?

                      Take no further look than Mr. Richman’s article leading off this discussion, where he notes that increasing employment options boosts bargaining power. The inverse is just as true.

          2. Isn’t that still racist? Or, if you prefer, legislation designed to disadvantage black workers for the sake of white workers?

            1. I don’t think so, because they would see it as ensuring the black worker can’t be disadvantaged.

              The idea is that a host of Jim Crow laws put blacks in a position where to compete they had to sell their labor for lower than what it might have gotten on a free market. So what makes the black worker ‘attractive’ is that their wage has been artificially lowered by government enforced discrimination. A national minimum wage law would make it so if you wanted to employ the black worker you could not ‘bargain them down’ to the artificially low rate.

              Of course this would likely have the effect of those blacks not getting the work at all, but supporters of the minimum wage would see any alternative as perversely making discriminated against labor incentivized.

              1. Bullshit.

                John Kennedy was from MA – which was not part of the Jim Crow south.

              2. “…but supporters of the minimum wage would see any alternative as perversely making discriminated against labor incentivized.”

                All you prove that progressives are perverse or perversely stupid.

  2. Seeing more people eat at home would not be a bad thing, but that’s digressing for the point of the story. You’ve also laid out many of the reasons why the rent is too damn high, and the one big factor you left out is the practices of the banking sector, which has thanked the American taxpayer by favoring big corporations over individuals and small businesses more than ever.

    1. Wall Street and the Fed is the ultimate confluence of power and money. So many want to blame the corporations for the ills, but the corporations are simply responding to the system that the government created. Whether it be the outright fraud perpetrated by S&P and Moodys with the government’s blessing or the continued underwriting of the largest banks and corporations with taxpayer dollars. So what if I hate Chrysler products? I’m still paying for them and their shitty cars thanks to DC.

      1. Wall Street and the Fed is the ultimate confluence of power and money. So many want to blame the corporations for the ills, but the corporations are simply responding to the system that the government created.

        This is by design. Without a central bank, the bankers could only lose the money they had on their books. Thanks to the Federal Reserve Bank, banks have access to unlimited money, with the Fed controlling a discount window at which they “loan” money at interest rates of 0% to 0.25%.

        1. Tell Washington Mutual or Wachovia they had access to unlimited money.

          You can’t though – they went insolvent.

          1. Aww, look, it’s shrieky-poo being a dumbass. Washington Mutual went into receivership. JP Morgan Chase bought Washington Mutual’s banking operations. Jaime Diamond, chairman of JP Morgan Chase is also on the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s board of directors.

            Conflict of interest? Probably.

            Several of Washington Mutual’s former investors sued JP Morgan for possible illegal activities that led to Washington Mutual being put into receivership. This isn’t terribly surprising since JP Morgan’s founding father of the same name engaged in an illegal campaign to cause the 1907 Panic, put his competitors out of business and acquire their assets, and get a new Central Bank with an unlimited charter.

            This banking shit doesn’t happen in a vacuum, shrieky-boo. Lot of hardball being played by these gangsters in suits and ties.

    2. by favoring big corporations over individuals and small businesses more than ever

      And why do you think that is? Why has dealing with big businesses become so much less risky than small businesses and individuals? What could be causing the imbalance? Think hard, now. I know you can figure it out if you try.

      1. Same reason they invest nine figures at a time for 1-2% returns in the money market, of course, because it’s easier and lazier than the potentially more profitable practice of borrowing from the Fed for virtually nothing and lending to small business at 5-6%, and because the tax code doesn’t exactly encourage them any differently, despite the indisputable fact that small businesses (including fast food franchisees) employ something like 80% of the labor force.

        1. Small business lending and servicing is INCREDIBLE heavy lifting, with massive staff, infrastructure, transaction, and commission costs.

          It’s also a cess pit of corruption and bad decisions if you can’t 100% trust every last person on your staff.

          1. Yeah, bullshit.

            SBA guaranteed loans and similar government programs are incredibly and unnecessarily paperwork heavy. But small business lending outside of that is no more burdensome than consumer lending.

            1. Not really.

              I can gauge your creditworthiness for a personal loan by looking at your credit report / score, your bank statements, and your pay stub.

              I can even automate the process of doing all three of those, in many instances.

              Unless we’re talking about microloans to businesses (in which case it’s really just a form of glorified consumer lending under a different name), small business lending requires an entirely different form of underwriting, because you have to try to measure likely future cash flows and the quality of business plans.

              The types of small business lending that can be commoditized (inventory factoring, merchant banking for things like credit card processing) are completely mature and saturated markets where there’s no unsatisfied demand. If there’s any credit shortage for small business at all, it’s in the uncommoditized areas where ad hoc investment quality judgments are required.

              In addition, the uncommoditized areas of small business lending are highly dependent on sales personnel, and the 1 point the sales guy gets for creating and maintaining the lending relationship in the first place puts the lender in the hole right out of the gate.

              1. Unless we’re talking about microloans to businesses (in which case it’s really just a form of glorified consumer lending under a different name),

                That’s exactly what most small business loans (say under $1million) are. They require a personal guarantee from the owners and are based on the owners assets / credit worthiness.

              2. In addition, the uncommoditized areas of small business lending are highly dependent on sales personnel, and the 1 point the sales guy gets for creating and maintaining the lending relationship in the first place puts the lender in the hole right out of the gate.

                Sounds a lot like the big banks claims that retail customers are money losers for them – and yet fight any effort to allow innovation in the sector to service these money losers.

        2. …”because it’s easier and lazier than the potentially more profitable”…
          If it were more profitable, there wouldn’t be a lack of effort. Fail.

          …”lending to small business at 5-6%, and because the tax code doesn’t exactly encourage them any differently, despite the indisputable fact that small businesses (including fast food franchisees) employ something like 80% of the labor force.”
          False equivalence. Fail.

        3. So this is why you can’t be consistent on the mound..too busy commenting on Reason lol

    3. You’ve also laid out many of the reasons why the rent is too damn high,

      Well, in NYC it’s likely down to rent control.

      1. Well, in NYC it’s likely down to rent control.

        Rent control is bad but its effect on too damn high rents is dwarfed by zoning and by demand.

  3. If they could understand job markets and economics, they probably wouldn’t be making minimum wage. They would be policy makers in government. Oh, wait, they wouldn’t be that, either.

    1. I don’t think they have to understand those things necessarily, although I don’t see why schools can’t teach the most basic economic concepts, especially as they touch upon personal wealth.

      We all work within the system, regardless of whether we get it or not. I thought the point of the article was more about explaining the need for changes to the system to benefit the average workers. If the system starts changing, they’ll start doing better, regardless of whether they understand why.

      1. I was required to take a semester of consumer economics in high school (and I think the other semester that year was health), and I often wonder why other students apparently were not, or if they just got through school without passing that class. Educating people about such things is as much as we can or should do, because we can’t very well legislate away the things they might unwisely choose to buy and consume, as Bloomberg has found out lately.

        1. I think we covered supply and demand in middle school. Probably around the time they explained how bad monopolies and trusts are and robber barons. This was in a suburb of Kansas City in the late 90s. That’s about the extent of my K-12 economics education. Everything else i know, i learned from the internet and reading things like Hazlitt and Hayek.

      2. Changing the system most likely involves an educated voter.

  4. In the far past, when I started working at fast food briefly, I found it took two “skills” to get a raise:

    First, show up. On time.
    Second, don’t steal.

    Not having to schedule around visits with a parole officer helps a lot, too.

    1. So which one of those requirements did you fail?

      1. He just failed to include the “Don’t show up to work stinking of pinesol” requirement.

        Delicious, delicious pinesol.

    2. +1 to SweatingGin.

    3. Of course. that’s all these minimum wages jobs should be. A temporary position in which you show via experience that you are a dependable employee. The fact that people are trying to live or provide for families with these entry level jobs just shows how depressed the economy is if, even those who have a good record of employment, cannot get better than entry level work.

  5. I am surprised more about fast food isn’t already automated. For example installing touch order screens at drive through menus or store cash registers, instead of having to pay someone to manually take orders. I guess maybe that would be too hard to adjust to for the average fast food consumer.

    A few times I’ve noticed that the drive-through order taker is at a remote location, which is interesting. Still sounded like a domestic call center as opposed to India or something, though.

    1. Having worked at a fast food joint in the murky past, I will submit to you that a good portion of the customers are as highly skilled as the workers at the restaurant. Think of them mastering a menu-selection board, along with the utility of clarifying things with a real person (“Did you really mean you want the cheeseburger with no cheese?”) and you’ll se why most places haven’t bothered with that approach yet.

      I think on the food-prep side, however, there’s huge opportunity.

      Someone smarter than I will figure all this out, I’m sure 🙂

      1. Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and watch most of those jobs get automated.

        In-N-Out Burger pays $11 an hour to start, IIRC, but their employees are motivated and work fast and cheerfully.

        1. You just reminded me of the almost cultish love Trader Joe’s employees have for their company. My local store employs a couple people I know, one a former nightclub boss I had, and another, a former university IT guy. Obviously, TJ’s hasn’t been forced by government to go above and beyond to create this environment; they’ve arrived at a set of practices that work out for everyone.

          1. It’s almost like there’s a “market” that – when allowed to work – creates outcomes satisfactory to most people…

          2. Every Chik-Fil-A I’ve visited has a similar efficient, eager, and seemingly devoted group of workers eager to serve.

            1. Chik-Fil-A workers are the strongest evidence that an alien invasion of body snatchers is among us. No human is that blankly cheerful.

              1. So they are the same all over? I just went to a Chik-Fil-A for the first time in a recently invaded state and that was one of the first things that struck me. I figured it was just startup training.

                1. I’ve seen the same creepiness in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas locations. Only one of those was new, as far as I know.

                  1. “My pleasure!”

                  2. Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia.

                    Ditto.

                    Its the Chik-fil-A culture.

                    They are happy because they arent gonna have to come in on Sunday.

                    1. Chik-fil-A here wasn’t friendly. Douchebag slacker high school students acting like it was a waste of their time to serve you.

            2. I’ve seen that, too, even in places where you wouldn’t expect cheerfulness from anybody.

              The Cathy family’s convictions don’t keep me away from Chik-fil-A nearly as much as their menu (and terribly inconvenient locations in my area). I’ve been given manager cards for free sandwiches before, but it’s a matter of personal health choice that I’m not in there more often. Which is how it’s supposed to work, of course.

            3. Chik-Fil-A workers creep me the fuck out. But then again, I’m a bit surly and look upon extreme helpfulness and unsolicited “assistance” (thank God Circuit City is dead) with such skepticism that I intentionally avoid it.

              Menchie’s (a self-serve frozen yogurt place) is amazingly creepy, especially since it often ends up full of rich progressives and annoying hipsters. Their cashiers frighten me with their smiles and cheery, rehearsed taglines.

          3. Publix seems to be similar. There’s a recent Forbes article on it.

        2. Yep – that changes the game. Good Forbes article on this yesterday.

          I just note that I think the customer interface part of it is the hardest to automate or mechanize. Doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t be done more widely than it has to date.

          1. There’s more opportunity for that at mid scale sit down restaurants. Have the menu on an ipod type device at each table that customers use to order from and also drill down into menu items if they want to. With the ticket printing directly in the kitchen once the order is place.

            1. Stacked burgers does iPad ordering from your table. Good food too.

              http://stacked.com/

            2. I’ve been wondering for years why restaurants don’t integrate some kind of touch device to allow customers to place orders, call the waiter, etc.

              No waiting around for a slow waiter, you can print up the check when you please. It would make the experience a whole lot better. And so long as the food is good, I know I’d choose the restaurant with such technology over those that don’t.

              1. Koreans have a call button on the tables in their restaurants. It seems so intuitive I’m always surprised everyone isn’t doing it. Then again I’ve been in restaurants with people who deserve to be stabbed for how demanding they are of the waitress and how little they tip, so maybe they’re the reason we can’t have nice things.

              2. Because restaurants would then have to pay what waitstaff they DID have minimum wage instead of letting them rely on the possible tips they could receive?

                (Not that I necessarily blame them since the profit margins for individual restaurants is ridiculously low.)

          2. Ever been to a Sheetz?

            It’s all automated ordering. Granted, it’s a gas station (with a sizable live food-prep component). But the ordering is all touchscreen.

            ATMs around here are almost all touchscreen, and even the dimmest people seem to manage (not fast enough for me, typically, but I’m an impatient bastard).

            1. I actually didnt like it when Sheetz went to all-touchscreen. I also didnt like it way back in the 80’s-early 90’s when you had to fill out the little blue card. I guess that Im mostly just pissed that they took away the “special request” button on the touchscreen. I want my tortilla chips seperate, so I can dip them in all the toppings, and not have to eat them with a fork, damnit!

      2. a good portion of the customers are as highly skilled as the workers at the restaurant.

        I work next to a Fresh & Easy where everything is self-checkout. Some people are impossibly bad at using it. The only thing that slows me down is having to wait for an attendant to check my ID if I buy booze. I can’t imagine waiting in line at a fast food joint on my limited lunch break while a grandma who’s idea of high-tech is a touch-tone phone tries to order for her and her 8 grandkids on a touchscreen. Maybe an express line or two though for the people who are comfortable with it…

        1. a co-worker of mine refuses to use the self-checkout because it may cost someone a job.
          I asked him if he still buys buggy whips, but it went over his head.

          1. Maybe he was just stunned that you’d have to ask. OF COURSE he still buy buggy whips! Buggy whip manufacturers need a living wage too.

            1. But would he buy it himself or send his chauffeur? Because I’m sure he’s not sealing someone’s job by driving himself.

            2. OF COURSE he still buy buggy whips!

              That’s only because he’s into S&M.

          2. I refuse to use the self-checkout because the cashiers are still faster. That and I spend half my time waiting for the computer to catch up to me.

            1. Not at the Walmart nearest me. The help there is ridiculously slow and unhelpful. I don’t even bother asking them anything anymore. I can get through the self-checkout in half the time it would take to have one of the Walmart sloths do it.

        2. Yeah, this is the other side of it. Self-checkout, for some reason, seems to be impossible for anyone over the age of 35 and IQ under 100.

          Of course at the supermarkets around here, self checkout is still at most 1/2 of the active lanes at any given time.

          1. It seems to be impossible for anyone with an IQ under 100 regardless of age.

          2. Self checkout can be awesome or it can suck, depending on the system. The good ones you can breeze through very quickly.

            I find that Kroger has terrible ones. It’s constantly doing the whole “An assistant will help you shortly” when i’m trying to truck through my basket. You should be able to shut off the stupid bag weight monitor. It’s the culprit 99% of the time.

            1. The fruit and veggies by the pound are what usually causes self-check to Kroger out on me.

          3. This works neatly for me though, I find that at my local grocery only people who are efficient at it choose to use the self-checkout lanes.

            I’ve had a couple experiences with terrible people taking forever with it but otherwise the lines move briskly, which is handy for me since I rarely buy bulk and would rather avoid the non-express lines and customers with carts full of groceries. The normal express lines on the other hand are usually congested.

      3. If you’ve ever been to a Sheetz or a WaWa you’ve seen the future of fast food ordering.

        1. Maybe. I like the method OK, but limiting. When I feel like going off my diet, I like to order an egg and cheese biscuit, but the machine won’t let me order a biscuit with egg and cheese without some meat on it first.

      4. There are a lot of gas stations, especially in the northeast, that have automated ordering stations. Wawa, GetGo, and Sheetz for example. You just go in and use the touch screen to order your food. Then you could use a card or cash like at a self checkout at the grocery store to pay. It’d be pretty easy to replace 50% of fast food workers with capital investments.

    2. I am surprised more about fast food isn’t already automated. For example installing touch order screens at drive through menus or store cash registers, instead of having to pay someone to manually take orders. I guess maybe that would be too hard to adjust to for the average fast food consumer.

      Around here, Wawa and Sheetz (convenience stores) are spreading like crazy, and the delis at both of those have touch-screen ordering.

      1. Ok, you beat by like 8 hours to making this point.

        1. I do it the other way around all the time. That’s why I say I make no claims to originality.

      2. I’ve been to Applebees where they have a touch screen to order food and drinks. you can even pay with a card right there. All you really need, even at a restaurant, is someone to bring the food out and clean up the tables. I told this to a friend who was arguing that waitresses should have the same minimum wage before tips as everybody else.

    3. Good point. Didn’t they have “automats” — minimally-staffed diners where you pushed buttons to order your entree, dessert, and coffee as far back as the 1930s?

      As for fast food consumers not being able to adjust – why not? Look at all the grocery stores that have self-serve checkouts these days.

      1. Japan, with about one vending machine for every 21 people, has a higher ratio of vending machines to population than about any other place in the world. In part due to the high cost of labor.

  6. Fuck ’em

    1. Last year’s Reason cruise. What a sausage fest! But…good times…

    1. Schwyzer definitely appears to know a thing or two about what motivates lunatics.

      Total immersion in your subject – it’s the only way to REALLY understand…

    2. It’s too bad Kevorkian kicked the bucket. He would have taken pity on Hugo and helped him out with his next attempt.

      1. Kevorkian is dead? I didn’t know. I guess he took the old medical advice of “Physician, heal thyself.”

        1. I laughed at that.

    3. I think Hugo might just need to retreat from dealing with women altogether. He might be the better for it.

      1. The history and gender studies professor is also famous for proclaiming his theory that mass shootings ? e.g., Sandy Hook and Aurora ? are the result of “frustrated white male privilege.”

        If this isn’t proof of lefty projection, what is? A white male privileged with tenured authority in a degree program brimming with female students… if he weren’t such a scummy creep I might feel some respect for the man. His life choices were masterfully played, except for buying into his own bullshit and throwing tantrums.

  7. -What workers need is greater bargaining power, and that comes primarily from having options.

    This strikes me as leaving a hole big enough to drive a Teamster driven truck into this debate. Once you say the ‘problem’ is about low bargaining power supporters of unions will jump in to say collective bargaining would address that.

    1. Artificially shrinking the labor pool and kneecapping scabs doesn’t give laborers more options though. It gives unions more patrons.

  8. CHATTER!

    It’s out there.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  9. And the reason they want a raise is because gas, education, housing, and healthcare all cost too much. The reason these all cost about 200% of what they should? The United States government (with an assist from each individual state).

    Reducing the cost of these would go a long way towards making these people’s lives better.

    1. Well said.

    2. And the reason they want a raise is because gas, education, housing, and healthcare all cost too much.

      Fun fact: Government gets about 8 times as much money per gallon of gas as the gas company does.

      Exxon Mobile gets about 7 cents per gallon. Local state and federal governments get an average in the mid 50s. In California it’s more like 70 cents a gallon in government taxes.

      1. Time to cut the government’s windfall oil profits!

  10. OT

    More Heroic action from the boys in blue:

    SWAT Team kills bambi during raid

    Feared for their lives?

    1. I’ve seen this more than Cleveland Brown pallbearer jokes.

      1. Well then don’t get mad if VG lets you down one last time.

    2. out…of…control. I guess we should be thankful they didn’t shoot all of the dogs too.

    3. Something must be done.

  11. People should not be attempting to support themselves as middle class independent adults by working at fast food restaurants.

    There has to be SOME low-skill, part-time work out there that can be undertaken without requiring the employer to support the low-skill employees like Detroit pensioners.

    If I stop at the shoe shine stand one afternoon, should I have to pay the shine guy for a 40 hour week? Should I have to buy him a house?

    1. Yes

      In progtopia every job, no matter how menial, is high paying.

      1. “The money is out there!”

    2. People should not be attempting to support themselves as middle class independent adults by working at fast food restaurants.

      Clearly people working in fast food are just too stupid or lazy to find the abundant opportunity that exists elsewhere.

      1. Don’t you agree that some are?

        1. It’s really none of my business, and it shouldn’t be government’s either, except to the extent that it can do something about providing an education and opportunities.

          1. government has certainly proven how to suck at those 2 tasks.

      2. Your reading comprehension skills are “low-skilled”.

      3. Clearly the hourly workers at fast food restaurants ARE too low-skilled to find a better opportunity.

        Don’t you think that if they were qualified for a better paying position they’d be able to find it?

        1. It may not take much skill to flip burgers but I bet you wouldn’t want to do it all day. People take such jobs because they have to. You guys have to start thinking from a macro perspective. It doesn’t matter if people are individually lazy or willfully undereducated. What matters is the societal trend. And the fact that it’s no longer teenagers, but middle-aged people with educations, increasingly working fast food, suggests a distressing macro trend in employment in this country.

          1. thinking from macro view, I’d hire a robot to flip burgers

    3. And when they get their way and jobs like clearing off tables at restaurants pay 80K a year + benefits, will lefties bitch because there are no part-time jobs for teenagers anymore (and will they bitch that a meal at Applebees is now $300?)?

      1. (and will they bitch that a meal at Applebees is now $300?)

        Lol, are you kidding? Only the proles eat at Applebees. When it starts impacting prices at Le Bernardin maybe.

  12. I love when I argue against a minimum wage and the dummies respond with, “so you want everyone to work for $0.50/hour?”

    if that’s what they produce, then yes. But there are millions of people out there who already make more than the minimum, so obviously their bosses decided they are worth more than $7.25/hour. These people’s real wages would not be affected. Their wages may decrease slightly if minimum wage were eliminated, but that would be to an overall decrease in prices.

    1. It would cost a few extra cents for a Big Mac to raise the minimum wage to /hr. Which is OK, because now the same people who eat Big Macs can afford it now that they have more money, along with a bunch of other stuff. Raising the minimum wage is stimulative–there is no evidence of a significant effect on overall employment.

      What labor is worth is not determined by the magical hand, but by negotiation between employer and employee under the law. If you let workers unionize and require a wage floor, then workers get paid more, and thus that is what their labor is worth.

      1. Negotiation at the point of a gun. How can you not grasp how nonsensical your statement is?

        1. Oh please. Yeah low-wage workers have all the leverage.

        2. Because it makes him “feel” good and because when they make more money they pay more taxes, helping to keep them poor. Which is, after all, Tony’s ultimate goal (thanks to his unbridled hatred of the poor).

          1. Everything I find icky about the poor is a symptom of poverty, which I would prefer to eliminate. At least attempt to do so before we worry about whether a billionaire is paying too much in taxes on his capital gains.

            1. They are low wage BECAUSE they are low skilled.
              If the job payed more it wouldn’t be THESE people getting hired.

      2. To some degree I think Mr. Richman has played right into your hands by saying the problem is one of lower bargaining power. If that’s the case then unionization probably would help them with that more than loosening occupational licensing laws.

        1. Probably only if the government requires employers to deal with the union or if the union can rely on intimidation of potential employees.

          There’s a reason they have lower bargaining power: they have nothing outstanding to offer and the skills required for the job are ubiquitous.

          1. -There’s a reason they have lower bargaining power: they have nothing outstanding to offer and the skills required for the job are ubiquitous.

            Well, of course someone with less skills has lower bargaining power than someone with more. My only point is that people who bargain collectively tend to have more average bargaining power than they would separately (note this is an average, it will be much lower for many quite promising workers, which is why forcing collective bargaining can be so tragic for them).

            1. Again, probably only if the government requires employers to deal with the union or if the union can rely on intimidation of potential employees.

              People can try try to bargain collectively all they want, but as long as there are people willing not to, it’s probably not going to be very effective. So the unions go after such people with clubs and threats and the government goes after employers with guns and threats.

              1. I think it is difficult to say since the NLRA has controlled our labor-management scene for so long. It has all kinds of odd provisions artificially impacting that area. People assume that if it were lifted it would be the death-knell of any union organizing. I’m not so sure. Some currently barred labor techniques, like ‘wildcat’ strikes or secondary boycotts, would likely work to favor unions in some areas, while the things you point out would likely work against unions in others.

                An excellent discussion of that can be found here:

                http://www.economist.com/blogs…..ssociation

                1. I don’t think it’s difficult to say that getting rid of NLRA interference would be a net loss for labor since there’d be no reason for the NLRA otherwise.

                  1. Again, I am not so sure about that. Most present day unions think so, but of course most present day unions exist in the form they do because of the NLRA. Whether that form is the best that ‘labor’ can do is in my opinion highly questionable.

      3. “…, and thus that is what their labor is worth.”

        Fiat labor!

      4. Tony said:
        If you let workers unionize and require a wage floor, then workers get paid more, and thus that is what their labor is worth.

        OK, let’s flip this around:
        If you let workers companies unionize coordinate and require a wage floor price floor, then workers producers get paid more, and thus that is what their labor is worth.

        At this point, progressives cite this as a cartel, which is inherently evil, for some reason.

      5. I read that Slate article too. Something didn’t add up. It claimed that increasing the wage by $6 an hour could be offset with $0.10 increase in Big Mac, right? If you’ve got 10 workers, that’s $60 an hour increase in labor cost. At 10 cents increased per Big Mac, that means a store is selling 600 per hour? Doesn’t seem right.

        1. The Huffington Post recently ran an article that they had to retract, because the research was completely faulty. They claimed that you could double all McDonald’s employees’ salaries by raising the price of a Big Mac 68 cents.

          Of course, it’s complete shit, but it fit the narrative, so they ran with it, as progressives tend to do. However, when you engage in policy-based evidence making, instead of evidence-based policy making, errors like that tend to occur.

          Don’t let that dissuade you from letting them take over society for the maximum benefit of human kind, though.

            1. The following quote from the link reflects the high standards and diligence in fact checking that goes on at the Huffington Post:

              The story drew on data presented by Arnobio Morelix, an undergraduate student from The University Of Kansas

              I went to a top-ranked school in my field, and there were few undergraduates that I would trust much farther than cleaning my bong. Yet, the Huffington Post turns to their papers for serious consideration in policy making. Their superior enlightenment is difficult for the simple-minded libertarian to fathom.

      6. Tony:
        Because in a free market, money is the only thing that talks. That’s why democracy and liberal labor policy is essential.

        Yeah, those are great studies that compare a minimum wage of 75 cents more than surrounding minimum wages of 75 cents less, and notice no measurable effect on employment. Then, we declare labor immune to the laws of supply and demand. Because of meta-studies of situations like this.

        Where’s the study comparing the minimum wage to no minimum wage, that isn’t comparing the the US to Zimbabwe, or something else foolish? Oh, it doesn’t exist.

        But hey, don’t let that stop you from policy-based evidence making.

      7. Which is OK, because now the same people who eat Big Macs can afford it now that they have more money

        Repeat this a million times until you understand the implication. Protip: Nothing was gained. They can afford the same amount of food for a higher nominal dollar amount of money. They’re still exchanging the same amount of their labor. Do you know the definition of inflation?

        1. That’s incredibly false. The change in price of the food was marginal; the change in their wages was that they doubled.

          1. Yeah, except that it’s all bullshit. Didn’t you get the memo?

            Perhaps you should make sure the “research” you base your ground policies for social management on aren’t pure crap. I would suggest not believing everything you read just because it fits your false preconception of reality.

      8. “If you let workers unionize and require a wage floor, then workers get paid more”

        … and buggy whip manufacturers will be everywhere.

  13. And I love the study that PK loves to quote that raising fast food worker wages had no effect on employment. An economist who believes that increasing the cost of a good (labor) doesn’t decrease the demand for it is a scary thing. This is just about impossible to believe, yet the liberals spout it like gospel.

    1. It depends on what the clearing price is and if or how much above that price the minimum wage is set.

      1. ^^^ Exactly. A lot of the time when minimum wage has been increased in this country, it actually lagged behind a wage increase that had already occurred. If minimum wage increases lags behind natural wages, then it isn’t pricing labor above its value and you won’t have unemployment. The highest adjusted for inflation minimum wage in American history was slightly over nine dollars. Virtually all jobs, including most fast food jobs and the vast majority of jobs at Walmart, pay more than nine dollars. Therefore the highest minimum wage in American history was unlikely to cause much additional unemployment because it was lower than the clearing price of the vast majority of jobs.

        On the other hand, there is a massive amount of international data about what happens when you set the minimum wage too high. Argentina and Venezuela have gone nuts with some of their minimum wage increases, and the result has been high unemployment and inflation. Chile did the same thing under Allende and their economy collapsed.

        For some reason liberals never bother looking at the results of their policies in other countries.

        1. OH IN THAT CASE YOU WON’T MIND IF WE UP IT TO $15, RIGHT? YOU JUST ADMITTED IT HAS NO EFFECT.

          /proglogic

    2. Ah yes, the Card and Kreuger study. They looked at payroll employment numbers in New Jersey, and concluded that raising the minimum wage increased employment.

      What wasn’t widely reported was the fact that Hours Worked actually declined. So employers responded to the higher minimum by dropping people to part time, thus avoiding paying benefits, and hiring more part-time workers to pick up the slack.

      Of course, a Progressive will tell you that this only proves that we need single-payer health coverage, because otherwise the employers are “free-loading” by not paying a burger-flipper enough to support a family of four on one income.

      1. Thank you! I knew there must have been something fishy about that study.

      2. I’m assuming they controlled for population, but there a wealth of factors that are difficult to grasp. Can you control for taste? What if more people were going to fast food restaurants? Then a rise in FF employment would occur, but would not be caused by increase in wage. So like I said, any study that defies simple laws of supply and demand should be looked at with a great deal of skepticism.

  14. Two of Aaron Hernandez’ relatives have now died in unusual car crashes since he was arrested and charged with murder a couple of months ago?

    Yeah, that’s not too freaking suspicious or anything.

  15. Good old David Gregory; why would you have Rand Paul on Meet the Press when you can have Rick Santorum and Joe Scarborough come on and talk shit about him? What a sleazy worthless scumbag.

    Also, the Republicans were in charge on 9/11! Obama never would have let that happen.

    1. Santorum and Scarborough – World’s Most Unappealing Gay Lovers

      1. Santorum stopped just short of announcing his 2016 run when Gregory asked why he would be spending so much time in Iowa.

      2. They have to appeal to somebody. Like PB, for example.

    2. David Gregory: Breaks D.C. Gun Law, Hides Under His Wife’s Skirt.

    3. Paul does seem to have all the right people crapping their pants, doesn’t he?

  16. Now Ghouliani’s on.

    But what about 9/11?????

  17. NFL football starts pre-season tonight, so this seems appropriate to post:

    -Mother of three in line to become NFL’s first female referee
    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports…..s6To6chfJL

    Question: how long before we see the first female coach or player in the NFL?

    1. “Question: how long before we see the first female […] player in the NFL?”

      If a female can play pro ball, I don’t want to see her.

    2. She better be in extremely good physical shape. Getting run over by a NFL Defensive end is not a fucking joke.

      1. NFL refs are probably the best of any sport.

        So if she gets the job, she can probably handle it.

    3. Question: how long before we see the first female coach or player in the NFL?

      A coach I think could happen. The only obstacle would be the misogyny of players who might not take her seriously or want to play for a female coach.

      There will never be a female player in the NFL. No woman would be strong enough or fast enough.

      1. I think a coach will come far before a player, if the latter ever occurs.

        The time for a woman to break into the NFL passed in the 1970’s. At that time when the ‘soccer style’ kicker was starting to be recruited there were some physically quite small kickers. Garo Yepremian was 5’7′ and 160 pounds. I guess this was because few Americans played soccer and the people tended to be smaller in nations that did. A woman could have matched someone like Yepremian. But as the NFL grew and so did soccer it is not hard to find soccer style kickers that are quite physically daunting (like the kicker for the Oakland Raiders), I don’t see a woman matching that.

      2. You could theoretically see a kicker/punter maybe, but even there the physical challenges would be substantial.

        1. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which a woman would be one of the 32 best kickers or punters available.

          A woman could have matched someone like Yepremian.

          In size? Yeah. In kicking ability? Extremely unlikely.

          1. Why not in kicking ability (especially since they could be bigger than Yepremian)?

            1. Because absolute leg strength isn’t necessarily a function of size or interior linemen would also be the kickers.

              In absolute leg strength, I think you’d be hard pressed to find any woman anywhere who could kick farther and more accurately than any D1 kicker, let alone an NFL one.

              1. I have a hard time thinking that one could not find a woman somewhere that could match his absolute leg strength. Of course finding such a woman who also had his long-honed technique is even more difficult, and then you could find many more men who had both.

                1. Where are these women, then?

                  Of course finding such a woman who also had his long-honed technique is even more difficult, and then you could find many more men who had both.

                  Which is why you’ll almost certainly never see even a kicker or punter. There will always be at least 32 men, with a buffer for injuries, etc., who are better than the very best woman.

                  1. I think your last sentence goes a long way towards answering your first (at least to the extent that your first can be answered ‘not in the NFL’).

                    My point, perhaps poorly expressed, is this: if in the early 70’s soccer had the resonance for women that it does today, but not for men, then I think at the forefront of the switch to ‘soccer style’ place kicking a woman may have snuck into the NFL. I say this because the soccer style was just as important as leg strength, and that is why there were so many tiny soccer style kickers starring then. Once men would have an equal cultural experience there would indeed always be 32 better men kickers with that style.

                  2. I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point, an attention-seeking owner of a bad team signed a female kicker as a publicity stunt

                    1. I have seen teams, perhaps at the college level, with separate kickers for PATs than for long range FGs and kick-offs. I could see a woman serving for the first purpose.

    4. Something, something football, being let down by a woman one last time.

      /longtorso

  18. OMG we’re DOOOOOOOOOOMED!

    Teh Booogeyman is coming to git us!

  19. These fucking dummies need to get their story straight.

    Peter King just said al quaeda is stronger now than they ever were.

    1. Good thing we fought two wars and built an all seeing surveillance state.

      1. But we got rid of Evil Booosh and elected a black man with a Muslim middle name! Wasn’t the whole world going to love us by now?

  20. NSA isn’t really about “security”
    “NSA provides details on crimes unrelated to terror”
    “The National Security Agency is handing the Justice Department information, derived from its secret electronic eavesdropping programs, about suspected criminal activity unrelated to terrorism.”
    http://www.sfgate.com/default/…..705565.php
    You think one of these days someone will get pissed about this stuff? Or is it just a “so-called scandal”?

    1. Current and former federal officials say NSA limits non-terrorism referrals to serious criminal activity inadvertently detected during domestic and foreign surveillance.

      The NSA referrals apparently have included cases of suspected human trafficking, sexual abuse and overseas bribery by U.S.-based corporations or foreign corporate rivals that violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

    2. Lots of people are pissed, but the media is doing its best to avoid fanning the flames. Must. Protect. Obama.

      I wonder if we’ll find out that the NSA was ignoring mosques and instead looking at dangerous internal threats, like Tea Parties and Republicans.

      1. Of course Obama is gathering every bit of intelligence on his political enemies he can. It’s a strategy he used back in his days as a state rep. Whether we’ll ever find out the details is another matter.

        1. I was astonished that, before the election, Harry Reid and others were making claims about never-publicly-released Romney’s taxes. Maybe they were just bluffing, but the thought that something underhanded was going on never seemed to occur to the mainstream media.

          1. I had forgotten about that. I’ve posted this before, but here’s Maxine Waters talking about Obama’s unprecedented data collection on his political enemies.

            It’s ridiculous to assume that the administration which sicced the IRS on their ideological opponents wouldn’t use intelligence-gathering agencies for the same purpose.

  21. Isn’t it interesting that after all the attention on the NSA and it’s programs there’s now announcement of a worldwide ‘threat’? Almost like they’re trying to justify their existence or something. Color me cynical.

    1. What is the color of cynical?

      1. Sort of like the color of skeptical, but darker. RAAAACCCIIISSSTTT!!!

      2. Orange Alert. Or is it Green?

      3. It’s puce: unpleasant, stark, undefinable right up until you put your finger on it.

  22. “The National Security Agency is handing the Justice Department information, derived from its secret electronic eavesdropping programs, about suspected criminal activity unrelated to terrorism.”

    No fucking way. Next, you’ll tell me the TSA finds more drugs than bombs.

    1. Even better, people paying prostitutes and bribing corrupt foreign cops and bureaucrats.

      1. Meh.

        Bribery is how all business gets done in some countries. It’s hilarious that we have a law that says American companies can’t compete abroad.

        1. Bribery is how business gets done everywhere.

          Why do you think businessmen donate to politicians here? What exactly do you think a traffic ticket is?

          The only difference between slipping the cop who pulls you over a fifty, and paying the same fine to the court is which exact government thug gets to keep your money.

  23. WHY HAVEN’T WE NUKED RUSSIA YET?

    AND CHINA.

    The fucking backstabbers.

  24. No one likes us-I don’t know why
    We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
    But all around, even our old friends put us down
    Let’s drop the big one and see what happens

    We give them money-but are they grateful?
    No, they’re spiteful and they’re hateful
    They don’t respect us-so let’s surprise them
    We’ll drop the big one and pulverize them

  25. higher wages lead to more demand in the economy, therefore more jobs and taxes paid, lowering deficits, etc.

    /progtard

    1. EXCESS PROFITS!!!!!!!!!!

      /moar progtard

  26. Libertarians are NIHILISTS!

    Why do libertarians hate America?

  27. higher wages lead to more demand in the economy

    To the moneycopter!

  28. The International Olympic Committee should write Russia’s laws. Because they’re all about the inclusionism.

  29. Canada is forsaking big bucks in potential revenue from same-day shoppers who’ve exceeded their allowances, while spending millions to boost staffing to hurry those same people through.

    1. This sounds like a win-win, to be honest. The revenues they’re forfeiting wouldn’t be put to a productive use anyway, and they’re spending money to streamline a government service and waste less of travelers’ time. More of this, even if it is pointless and contemptible. Less of all the other stuff.

  30. Because, given the price of fast food, workers can’t possibly produce $100 worth of value for their employers in an hour.

    Debatable, but then we’re not talking about $100 an hour, but $15. Why can’t we use the actual number instead of a pointless exaggeration?

    So the spotlight should be on alternatives.

    Since the median age of fast food workers has gone up, one presumes this is the result of alternatives not existing. Nothing in this paragraph of utter bullshit is remotely connected to reality. “Government is bad, and stuff!” Convincing.

    You’re making a case for raising the minimum wage by making such a poor argument against it.

    1. What stops an enterprising fast food restaurant owner from paying $15, attracting better employees than the places that will only pay less, and profiting from that choice?

      1. Ask them.

        Presumably they pay as little as they can possibly get away with. The disturbing thing is that low-wage employers would seem to necessarily favor an environment of high unemployment so that the labor supply is cheap and abundant.

        Capitalism requires a bargain to be struck. You want society to facilitate your ability to make profits? Then you have to meet certain minimum requirements for the treatment of your employees. The benefit of human beings is, or should be, the whole point, and if people are not benefiting then what good is it?

        1. Presumably they pay as little as they can possibly get away with.

          Which the employee willingly accepts. It’s almost like a negotiation, except without your desired influence of the government.

          1. How much of this could be cultural? I have read that in nations like Japan and Sweden employers simply tend to offer more to their employees relative to what happens here. I imagine they just make offsets in profits to do so, though there may be increases in prices as well. I don’t know that Japan has strong NLRA type laws or minimum wage laws. Could it be cultural? If so there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong or unlibertarian with a purely social movement to try to pressure employers to act in that way.

            1. I’m all for Tonies taking to the street in protest over working conditions. I’m all for peaceable and voluntary collectivization of workers. Unions unbacked by legal coercion bargaining in good faith with employers tickles me right at the core of my libertarian being, just as would having those unions kicked out on their collective arses when they push too hard. It’s translating social pressure and collective bargaining to a coercive legal predominance that I find appalling, and minimum wage laws fit that bill.

            2. I don’t think there’s anything unlibertarian about trying to convince anyone to act in any way that doesn’t involve force or fraud, whether it’s cultural or not.

              If you can convince McDonalds, or any particular McDonalds owner, to pay his employees more, that’s fine… or at least not inconsistent with libertarianism. I think the evidence supports the idea that paying more in some scenarios — Costco, In and Out, etc — can be advantageous in certain niches, even if it isn’t advantageous across the board.

        2. Yes; that’s why at-will employment works both ways. The “bargain” being struck is one of providing competitive alternatives or sinking. Capitalism is not some Stalinist Five-Year Plan. It’s the accretion of choices made in advancing the self-interests of individuals in their hundreds of millions.

          Besides, why should the impetus redound to employers and not employees? Employers take on the risks and responsibilities and liabilities of opening the franchises or funding the startups or assuming the mantles of CEO. By your logic, if the purpose of big-C Capitalism is advancing human welfare, shouldn’t we view employees as livestock for the heroic employers who advance the condition of material well-being for all of society?

        3. Capitalism requires a bargain to be struck.

          I sense a disturbance in the Force. As if a false choice is about to be presented by a minion of the Dark Side.

          You want society to facilitate your ability to make profits?

          You provide something people want, they give you money for it. The only bargain necessary is the bargained for good or service.

          Then you have to meet certain minimum requirements for the treatment of your employees.

          Well. Nothing vague or possibly misleading about that sentence.

          The benefit of human beings is, or should be, the whole point, and if people are not benefiting then what good is it?

          “If people don’t run businesses out of the goodness of their hearts, then they should, because providing goods and services that people want doesn’t make me happy.”

          Do you huff your unicorn farts out of a jar, or a paper bag?

        4. Tony| 8.4.13 @ 12:55PM |#
          “Ask them.
          Presumably they pay as little as they can possibly get away with.”

          Yes, shithead, and the employees look around for the job that pays the most that they can find.

          1. But bargaining for the highest possible salary or most munificent benefits, even leveraging offers from other companies: that’s a beautiful example of individuals working against the corporatocracy. Done collectively, it’s even better.

            Never let’s mind that employers hire employees on the basis of the arbitrage from the exchange of labor and salary, thereby engendering a system not of brute exploitation but one in which both participants are better off PLUS a soup?on of profit. No, we’ll insist that employees are steamrolled in the arrangement and would be better off priced out altogether with wage floors than be forced to endure the ignominy of working under conditions unappealing to the mild aesthetics of Tony and his ilk.

            1. …”would be better off priced out altogether with wage floors”…

              One of the regulars here points out that the actual minimum wage is universal, regardless of governmental stupidity.
              That minimum is zero, like in when you get priced out of a job.

              1. What pays more, an $8 an hour job you can get or a $15 an hour one you can’t?

                1. Obviously, the $15 rate. Locking in something by law universalizes it, see, despite one’s inability to find a job at that wage.

                  It’s a little bit like watching labor participation drop faster than job losses, and claiming that unemployment is now lower: it assumes that the rate of unemployment would remain static if discouraged workers returned to the market, rather than (of course) rising again to reflect their inability secure jobs.

                2. “What pays more, an $8 an hour job you can get or a $15 an hour one you can’t?”

                  It depends. What’s the cutoff point for government assistance?

                  1. ^This, too.

        5. The disturbing thing is that low-wage employers would seem to necessarily favor an environment of high unemployment so that the labor supply is cheap and abundant.

          Needless to say, cheap labor lets franchisees breathe easier. Cheap credit does the same for car lot owners and realtors, and just about anyone else selling big-ticket, vendor-financed commodities. But benefiting from that condition is not the same as being in any position to influence the policies which bring about that condition. Franchisees are no more architects of high unemployment than auto salesmen of low interest rates.

        6. -Then you have to meet certain minimum requirements for the treatment of your employees.

          Tony, would you really want to arrest people who offered someone employment at less than the minimum wage? Because ultimately that is what you are talking about. I know from previous conversations with you that you object to government intervention in consensual intimate relations. Why insist on it with consensual economic ones? Are not you arguing the equivalent of a law barring ‘exploitive’ sexual relationships (for example, where an extremely desirable woman ‘lords it over’ her less attractive husband, or where an extremely attractive man keeps several women ‘on a string’)?

          1. Why insist on it with consensual economic ones?

            Because it’s more consensual for one party than the other. Wealth is power. Capitalism requires government to facilitate the accumulation of wealth by private people. If government can do that, it can facilitate minimum standards for people doing the work in that system. Places without minimum standards make lots of money for the owners of businesses, but the labor is done in places we call sweat shops. Who cares if the floor is artificial? The whole system is artificial!

            Make a social case for no minimum wage–explain why it would be better for people using real-world evidence, say by comparing places with no minimum wage to places with one.

            1. -Because it’s more consensual for one party than the other.

              I don’t see how that is not true in the area of intimate relationships. Some people, for a variety of reasons, are more ‘needy’ of what some other people have to offer. We see exploitive relationships all the time. What if, based on the same notions of ‘dignity’ and morality invoked to bring the power of the state to bear in economic relationships, we barred such relationships and penalized them with government force?

              -Capitalism requires government to facilitate the accumulation of wealth by private people.

              How is this true? It also allows for people to lose wealth as much as to make it.

              1. If you want to make a social case for regulating intimate behavior, knock yourself out. Being in favor of one thing does not mean I have to be in favor of the other.

                You have to be blind or incredibly ignorant not to realize that the game has been rigged in favor of employers and the wealthy over the last few decades. It is simply not the case that those with capital are operating in a laissez-faire world and the working poor are getting all the favors. The opposite is increasingly the case. The only thing that has granted workers–that is most human beings in the system–leverage enough to manage a decent living has been the ability to unionize and other such active means of increasing their leverage. Because in a free market, money is the only thing that talks. That’s why democracy and liberal labor policy is essential. The natural state of things simply does not benefit most humans.

                1. Tony| 8.4.13 @ 3:32PM |#
                  …”You have to be blind or incredibly ignorant not to realize that the game has been rigged in favor of employers and the wealthy over the last few decades”…

                  You have to be blind or incredibly ignorant to make assertions without a shred of evidence.

                2. Tony:
                  Because in a free market, money is the only thing that talks. That’s why democracy and liberal labor policy is essential.

                  That’s a gross oversimplification. I thought progressives were able to fully understand the complex nature of our world. Apparently not.

                3. The only thing that has granted workers–that is most human beings in the system–leverage enough to manage a decent living has been the ability to unionize and other such active means of increasing their leverage.

                  How about… educating oneself? That is how I make a decent living – not by limiting myself to the stated needs and wants of the collective.

                4. No asshole, it wasn’t unions, it was capitalism that has brought so many out of abject poverty.

                  1. Nope, it was unions (and government paying for education, particularly the GI Bill). Capitalism prior to those reforms was not a pretty place for almost everyone.

                    Of course now 400 people have more wealth than the bottom 350 million in this country–a state even more gilded than the Gilded Age (when our economy was more or less exactly how you advocate it to be). How about we judge by the outcomes? I know you won’t even pay attention. Not until some calamity befalls you, at least.

                    1. 150 million*

                5. You know what’s hilarious about you bitching about the wealthy and employers? The fact that to a person, all of congress and most of the beauracracy (the people you want to control everything) ARE wealthy/employers.

            2. -Make a social case for no minimum
              wage–explain why it would be better for people using real-world evidence, say by comparing places with no minimum wage to places with one.

              I’m not an expert in economics, and others here have been arguing the libertarian argument against minimum wages from that angle, so I will leave it to them.

              But I also want to argue on other grounds because I don’t think this, and many other, questions are empirical ones, but rather ones of morals. I don’t think you really think these questions should be answered based on those grounds, whether the criteria be ‘economic efficiency’ or some utilitarian calculation.

            3. Tony| 8.4.13 @ 2:39PM |#
              “Because it’s more consensual for one party than the other.”…

              Shithead, you’ve made some truly stupid comments before, but this one is a try at the record.

        7. Tony said:
          It would cost a few extra cents for a Big Mac to raise the minimum wage to /hr. Which is OK, because now the same people who eat Big Macs can afford it now that they have more money, along with a bunch of other stuff.

          But then he says:
          Presumably they pay as little as they can possibly get away with. The disturbing thing is that low-wage employers would seem to necessarily favor an environment of high unemployment so that the labor supply is cheap and abundant.

          These two ideas directly contradict each other. If higher wages stimulates consumption sufficiently such that companies make more money, then there’s no reason for them to pay as little as they can get away with, and a cheap labor supply is counter-productive.

          Essentially, you’re arguing that companies insist on being completely economically irrational, and only the government can step in and correct this, by imposing minimum wage laws. That would be very convenient for you, but I doubt it’s the case.

          1. If higher wages stimulates consumption sufficiently such that companies make more money, then there’s no reason for them to pay as little as they can get away with, and a cheap labor supply is counter-productive.

            There’s nothing contradictory about this. Individual firms operating rationally will want to minimize labor costs in order to compete. But on a macroeconomic scale they do better when people overall are paid more. Of course it’s not rational for them to undermine themselves in the hopes that everyone else will spontaneously follow suit. That’s the whole reason you need a statutory minimum wage. We see this short-term individual rationality vs. long-term macro rationality disconnect everywhere in the economy. Well, we not being libertarians.

            1. You do realize that you can have deflation, and innovation, and economic growth, all at the same time, right?

        8. Presumably they pay as little as they can possibly get away with.

          Of course. What other possible explanation could there be? It’s not like business owners project demand at various price levels and pursue different strategies to optimize their business model. Nah, they’re pretty much just in it to screw the worker, and if they can make a profit doing it, so much the better.

          THIS IS WHAT TONY ACTUALLY BELIEVES!

        9. Then you have to meet certain minimum requirements for the treatment of your employees.

          When you price labor so high that companies figure out how to do more with less people, such that there are fewer employees, but they’re treated well enough for your progressive, subjective satisfaction, it will be all the more reason we need an expansion of the welfare state, right? To take care of all those poor people priced out of the labor market, due to the horrible free market capitalism run rampant, right?

          Because being unemployed and on welfare is so much better for human well-being, than being an employee who isn’t paid enough, or doesn’t have good enough benefits, to satisfy progressives’ feelings of do-goodery. What better way to treat a poor person than to give them an artificial sense of worthlessness, based on labor regulations they barely understand?

          1. When you price labor so high that companies figure out how to do more with less people

            Are you suggesting that this government intervention can motivate innovation? Wow. Look who’s advocating for make-work at the cost of innovation now.

            Employment rates are correlated to large-scale issues in the economy, and not so much things like minimum wage and other pro-worker requirements. Indeed one such large-scale factor is the size of the middle class (lots of people with purchasing power leads to a growing economy and more employment). That has only ever been achieved by positive interventions like the minimum wage and strong union protections. Ever.

            1. Are you suggesting that this government intervention can motivate innovation? Wow. Look who’s advocating for make-work at the cost of innovation now.

              Well, hell, if you like the sound of that, I have some more government motivated innovations you could consider. For example: Just outright ban working for the fast food industry in a service capacity. They’d just fire their employees and replace them with automated systems. Sure, this may impact the price of the final goods, and put a bunch of people out of work, but hey: we can’t make a government innovated omelet without breaking a few eggs. Why do we want to hold innovation behind by insisting on efficient resource allocation? And, being a fast food employee is beneath human dignity, anyway. Welfare is much better.

              Bragging about innovation through market distortions and product banning is like patting yourself on the back for devising a clever way to reach around your ass to your elbow, which everyone, except progressives, seems to realize is a waste.

            2. That has only ever been achieved by positive interventions like the minimum wage and strong union protections. Ever.

              This implies that we did not have a middle class before minimum wages and strong union protections. This is absolutely wrong. Just more policy-based evidence making, completely lacking in any grounding to reality.

    2. You’re right. The bureaucratic/administrative/regulatory state has crimped job creation, especially among the poorest potential workers, and should be scaled back or eliminated altogether, starting with braindead notions of upping the minimum wage to save bottom-rung citizens from working altogether. Alternatives should exist, so let’s do our level best to bring them about.

      1. +1 Saved me the trouble of saying it.

    3. Debatable, but then we’re not talking about $100 an hour, but $15. Why can’t we use the actual number instead of a pointless exaggeration?

      Because $15/hr is just as ridiculous as $100/hr.

      1. It’s always amazing how politics and emotion distort logic. A progressive will look at something like toxic waste and say: “If a quart of this chemical will kill you, we must freak out because the water supply has it in one part per trillion. NO AMOUNT IS SAFE!!”

        But when it comes to the minimum wage, they must admit that $100/hour would kill jobs, but what’s the harm in $15/hour? Surely nothing bad will happen, and everyone will adjust.

    4. A comment I read on another page stated that McD nets $700 per employee per year. If we assume a 40 hour work week with 2 weeks vacation that is enough profit to allow a thirty-five cent per hour raise averaged across their entire workforce. There is likely a lot more margin at the executive level, but that is a small enough population that it will only stretch so far.

      1. $0.35 further diminished by higher payroll taxes, etc.

        But no, let’s definitely push for double wages.

        1. Quite right, but I thought I’d keep it simple.

  31. we’re not talking about $100 an hour, but $15.

    Okay, Tony; even if we pretend there are only two employees needed to get a hamburger into the waiting maw of the consumer (a cashier to sell and deliver it, and a cook to prepare and assemble it) and there are no additional employment costs, we’re looking at thirty dollars per hour. How many hamburgers would you have to sell to cover your payroll costs?

    Hint: sale price minus cost on a hamburger is measured in pennies, not dollars.

    1. You will need to sell enough hamburgers to cover the maintenance of your automated prep line and self-service touchscreen booths.

      1. Wherein the actual minimum wage is paid: Zero.

  32. Art Laffer is such a nut!

    Another thing that might have to give is the level of public spending: other things equal, as we economists like to say, collecting no income tax revenue means the government has less to spend on services that most citizens value, such as education, health care and infrastructure. But in his interview, Laffer makes clear that this doesn’t bother him because, he believes, more money does not provide better public services. This is a controversial statement that he backs with a few anecdotes, but it is not one that is widely held, the possibility of greater public-sector efficiency (getting better public services for less money) notwithstanding.

    Of course it is.

    “Diminishing returns” are a MYTH!

    1. You mean to tell me that paying public employees higher wages and better benefits, and coupling those increases with bulletproof job security, results in more expensive employees but no better marginal productivity? UNPOSSIBLE.

    2. This is a controversial statement that he backs with a few anecdotes, but it is not one that is widely held, the possibility of greater public-sector efficiency flying unicorns that shit rainbow sherbet and gold appearing.

      More illustrative and accurate, this way.

    3. But in his interview, Laffer makes clear that this doesn’t bother him because, he believes, more money does not provide better public services. This is a controversial statement that he backs with a few anecdotes, but it is not one that is widely held, the possibility of greater public-sector efficiency (getting better public services for less money) notwithstanding.

      It’s actually very widely held. Every single economics textbook has a chapter about diminishing returns. The only way you can argue that this isn’t widely held is if you willfully ignore the evidence.

      1. I understand the concept of diminishing returns but don’t you think ‘you get what you pay for’ is more often true than not?

        The problem I see with governmental spending is that it is based on confiscation and there is no profit motive to ensure that principle operates.

        1. And that’s where “you get what you pay for” doesn’t fly, as you said in the second sentence.

        2. I understand the concept of diminishing returns but don’t you think ‘you get what you pay for’ is more often true than not?

          That’s true in a situation where there’s a motivation to make sure you’re efficient. In government work there is virtually no force requiring efficiency.

          Diminishing returns in the private sector tends to correct itself because a company will either go out of business or realize that they’re losing money and scale back. Diminishing returns in the government results in people claiming that the problem is a lack of money, raising taxes, spending more, and causing more diminishing returns.

          In the private sector diminishing returns get fixed. In the public sector they get exacerbated.

          1. In government work there is virtually no force requiring efficiency.

            Libertarian platitude that happens to be wrong. It does depend on the program (defense is not typically required to cut that many corners), but there is pressure for government to be efficient–namely the constant political obsession with it, and on the whole federal programs operate actually rather efficiently. I don’t want to blow your mind or anything, because I realize that’s like telling a kid Santa isn’t real.

            But if you really want to talk about efficiency, compare, say, the overhead costs for Medicare vs. private insurance.

            1. USPS lost billions last year

            2. Medicare comes out more efficient based on how “efficient” is defined. When you look at administrative costs, private insurance beats it. However, when you look at money that goes to health services, medicare comes out on top. This is because medicare covers older, sicker people who get life-threatening illnesses much more frequently. Your “efficiency” metric is just a measure of how sick an insured population is, not on how efficient it is operated or administered.

    4. Oh, I’ll grant that there’s a “possibility of greater public-sector efficiency.” What I object to is assuming it, and ignoring mountains of evidence to the contrary.

  33. […]collecting no income tax revenue means the government has less to spend on services that most citizens value, such as education, health care and infrastructure.

    Huh, if the government doesn’t spend money on something most people want, that something won’t exist.

    Paging Bastiat.

    1. And seeing the increase in spending on public education without a concomitant increase in any measurable student achievement makes me wonder how the author could be so dense.

  34. “Doubling the minimum wage may seem like a good way to help fast-food workers”

    Ummmmmm……no, it doesn’t.

  35. Why stop at $15/hr? Why not make minimum wage $70/hr, or better yet $250/hr? That way the .01 percent of the population with jobs will be earning “a living wage.”

    Derpalicious!

    1. Why stop at $15/hr? Why not make minimum wage $70/hr, or better yet $250/hr?

      Give everyone $50,000/yr and a beach house! What could go wrong?

  36. I empathize with food service workers, as I’ve worked in the industry myself and I know how much it sucks. But good lord, many of them are just sadly naive. To them, hard work should translate to more value. They think that because they are exposed to constant verbal abuse and leave their shift covered in other people’s garbage, that they are entitled to more money, not knowing the world doesn’t care about how they feel about the value they provide. The sad truth is it’s just one of the shittiest jobs out there, for both job satisfaction and pay level. If you want more, you have to increase your skills and do something else. The end.

  37. That would help. But the real problem is simply supply and demand. As long as we have open borders, there are going to be way too many low skilled workers to fill not enough jobs, and so wages drop as low as possible..

    We can either reduce the supply of low skill workers, or try to artificially increase their wages, or have them go on the government assistance.

    The first option is the only way that doesn’t require the government to meddle in the economy, but do one of the jobs a government is supposed to – protect the borders.

    1. “As long as we have open borders, …”

      Which is not exactly what we have. If it were easy for people to cross the borders in both directions, they could come here when they have a job lined up and then go home when the job finished or for any other reason. As it is, it’s so hard to get here, they stay whether they have a job or not.

      “The first option is the only way that doesn’t require the government to meddle in the economy, …”

      How is reducing the supply of low skill workers not meddling in the economy?

      1. Last I checked, the evidence for low-skilled immigrants suppressing the wages of American workers was pretty thin, excepting those without a high school diploma.

        It isn’t obvious to me that an American without a high school diploma (or the educational equivalent) deserves much sympathy from me, unless they are mentally retarded. If we had no safety net or educational aid whatsoever, that might be a different story, but there are simply too many ways for a determined individual to move up from that level of educational attainment…

        I also can’t imagine anyone arguing that if the entire workforce attained at least that level of education, then low-skilled immigrants would start significantly affecting the compensation of the high-school educated cohort.

        1. Last I checked, the evidence for low-skilled immigrants suppressing the wages of American workers was pretty thin, excepting those without a high school diploma.

          Those tend to be the people flipping burgers at fast food chains, so to the extent its relevant, this is one of the few discussions where it is.

          1. But is it relevant to the comments I addressed? The comment threads tend to take on lives of their own…

            Moreover, a significant portion of burger flippers do have a high school diploma or the educational equivalent.

    2. Will you also have the government regulate birthrates and who can have children? Also, you probably need the government to determine which skill-class of jobs every individual was allowed to apply for. Otherwise I don’t see your prescriptions doing anything to significant to decrease the supply of low skilled workers.
      But let’s say your suggestion goes through and it works as you say. Then I guess you won’t mind the increased cost of everything and pricing the poor out of food and such. You are correct that if the supply of low skilled workers shrinks then employers will have to pay more to attract people to do the jobs they need. Other employers will also have to raise their wages to attract people in to the higher skilled jobs they have. Why pay to go to school for a bunch of years and get a difficult job if you can make just as much or more doing an easy job, ceteris paribus? Then all prices must go up to compensate for the increase in wages and you’re right back to where you started.
      The truth is a free moving populace is necessary in a functioning capitalist system. This includes immigration/emigration.

      1. It always amazes me how often people ignore the positive aspects of the “low compensation” scenario: If that translates into lower prices, there is an increase in the living standards of consumers, more demand for other goods and services, etc.

        Low pay for low skills is such a crucial market signal. If “we” want to help low-skilled people, why can’t we do that by just helping them attain some skills that are valued in the market?

        So, basically, what you said…

  38. Definitely, raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour so that $20 will be the new $7.25. Fuck, make it $100.

    1. Capt McKay: That’s it, Callahan! You just got yourself a 60-day suspension!

      Harry Callahan: Make it 90!

      Capt McKay: 180! Give me your star.

      Harry Callahan: Here’s a 7-point suppository, Captain!

      Capt McKay: WHAT did you say?

      Harry Callahan: I said STICK IT IN YOUR ASS!

  39. Re: Tony,

    It would cost a few extra cents for a Big Mac to raise the minimum wage to [$15]/hr. Which is OK[….]

    Wow! Thank you, Mr. Cavalier!

    because now the same people who eat Big Macs can afford it now that they have more money

    Your thinking is so simplistic, that I have to believe I’m talking to a 5 year old… or a Democrat.

    The business owners are not going to raise their prices; they will simply fire one or two workers to afford the cost increase.

    Raising the minimum wage is stimulative

    That would mean that raising any price is stimulative.

    What labor is worth is not determined by the magical hand,

    No, it is entirely on the employer’s subjective mind. That translates to “whatever the buyer is willing to pay.”

    If you let workers unionize and require a wage floor, then workers get paid more, and thus that is what their labor is worth.

    That’s not true, Tony. What the labor is worth is still in the mind of the employer, and if the price floor is above what the labor is really worth, the employer will NOT hire.

    My take on the minimum wage.

    1. Thanks for the link to your blog, good read.

    2. they will simply fire one or two workers to afford the cost increase.

      What is it with you guys and this notion that employers dole out jobs as charity? If a McDonald’s has two too many employees, one assumes it would know that regardless of where the wages are set.

      OM you believe in an almost comically simplistic picture of how the economy works. It’s almost as if you need it to be simple to understand it. We’re talking about two different things: microeconomic incentives and macroeconomic policy. The latter changes the former, and it can do so for the better. Because one thing’s absolutely sure: laissez-faire leaves most people miserable in order to make a handful of people extremely wealthy.

  40. A friend of mine sent me this. I haven’t had a chance to confirm it elsewhere. Anyone know anything?

    The founder of Freedom Hosting has been arrested in Ireland and is awaiting extradition to USA.

    In a crackdown that FBI claims to be about hunting down pedophiles, half of the onion sites in the TOR network has been compromised, including the e-mail counterpart of TOR deep web, TORmail.

    Apparently there’s a zero day exploit involved. The friend who sent it to me usually has reliable information, but I don’t know anything about the site he sent me to so I wouldn’t want it to become a thing if someone’s just being paranoid.

  41. my buddy’s step-sister makes $72 an hour on the computer. She has been laid off for 8 months but last month her payment was $12918 just working on the computer for a few hours. Here’s the site to read more,,,,
    http://www.Rush60.com

  42. Incidentally, 15 USD per hour is pretty close to the Australian minimum wage for non-disabled adults working full time. (14.68 USD re: Google’s exchange rate calculator) Although they stagger it so teenagers and the disabled are cheaper (I assume to offset lower skills/productivity), and these groups surely represent a sizable portion of people with low wage service jobs a la McDonald’s and Wal Mart, anyone looking for empirical comparisons to a country with an overall minimum wage twice ours might start by looking at Australia.

    I’m not interested in jumping into this argument, but someone was complaining about a lack of meaningful international comparisons, so at least as far as higher vs lower minimum wages and their macroeconomic effects, here’s one example of a place to look.

    http://www.wageindicator.org/m…../australia

  43. The correct solutions is what they do in Sweden–no minimum wage but strong unions.

    http://www.libertarianinternational.org has a great article on unions. Sheldon should read it!

  44. my buddy’s sister makes $72/hour on the laptop. She has been unemployed for eight months but last month her payment was $12389 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site http://max47.com

  45. my buddy’s sister makes $72/hour on the laptop. She has been unemployed for eight months but last month her payment was $12389 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site http://max47.com

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