Minimum Wage

Liberal Writer Worries Large Minimum Wage Hike Could Hurt Poor People. You Don't Say.

Government intervention is never the panacea some on the left want to believe.

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Minnesotans protesting for a higher minimum wage
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The Daily Beast today brings us a rather comical example of a liberal writer publicly discovering that raising the minimum wage can have negative repercussions for the poor. Writes Monica Potts:

This week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour, from the current $9, by 2020…But there's another potential problem. The finances of those at the bottom are delicately balanced and intertwined with so many safety net programs, like food stamps and rental assistance, that the question of whether workers are better off must be weighed against whether and how they lose the support they receive from those programs. And the truth is it's not clear how much better off people who make the minimum wage will be.

It's encouraging to see the author realize that even the most well-intentioned government interventions can sometimes have disastrous consequences for the people they're trying to help. 

Reason's coverage of this issue over the years has been deep and wide. Minimum wage increases force business owners to cut back on hiring, making it harder for low-skilled workers to find jobs at all. (Potts' evidence-free assertion that "most economic research" doesn't bear that out gets a good pre-buttal from Ron Bailey here.) People in poverty, who may already be struggling to afford food and clothes and diapers, are also least able to absorb it when goods and services become more expensive—a natural consequence of forcing employers to pay workers a lot more for the same labor.

Potts' main fear, though, is that if workers start making more money, they might no longer qualify for public assistance programs. And she's right: A person whose wage suddenly jumps 66 percent to $15 an hour (and who is lucky enough to keep her job at all) could very well lose access to means-tested benefits like food stamps and childcare subsidies, which together provide her with more value than the additional after-tax pay she's now receiving.

Here's the thing: A worker who would be worse off making $15 an hour due to a minimum wage hike would also be worse off making $15 an hour because she went back to school to learn new skills. This is exactly what people on the right mean when we talk about welfare creating a poverty trap—that too-generous government programs can change the calculus for a person at the low end of the income ladder so that it no longer makes financial sense to try to increase your value as a worker, because if you earn too much, you'll lose your benefits. It's not worth the risk.

Potts' article is also an excellent example of what I was talking about in my appearance on HuffPost Live earlier this week, when I said that replacing our 80+ disparate federal welfare programs with a "universal basic income" might sound good in theory—but I'm skeptical the existing programs would ever actually go away. That's because as soon as you try to eliminate a program, some people will get up in arms on behalf of those who currently benefit from it. "You can't actually mean you want to get rid of Medicaid?!" they might cry, where "Medicaid" could be replaced by "housing assistance" or "Pell grants" or any other federal sacred cow.

In fact, I would like to get rid of those programs. They are an inefficient, convoluted, fraud-ridden mess, and when it comes to helping the poor, as a society we ought to be able to do better.

I'd also like to get rid of the minimum wage. If a person wants to hire someone at $4 an hour to do a low-skilled task and a worker is willing to accept the job at that rate, that's a win-win and the government has no business stepping in to forcibly prevent it. The fact is that not everyone has the experience and qualifications to be worth hiring at $15 an hour. We shouldn't criminalize offering someone the chance work for less.

See also this video from Reason TV:

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  1. The finances of those at the bottom are delicately balanced and intertwined with so many safety net programs, like food stamps and rental assistance, that the question of whether workers are better off must be weighed against whether and how they lose the support they receive from those programs. And the truth is it’s not clear how much better off people who make the minimum wage will be.

    Pay no attention to those consequences behind the curtain.

    1. Her argument is amazing. It’s almost the opposite of the general argument against lifting the minimum wage because it assumes that it will work as intended, and this is scary, because if then people will be lifted out of poverty and no longer dependent on the state! Oh no!

      1. The solution is obviously to raise the ceiling for access to public assistance!

        *insert the national anthem of Progtopia here. Complete with millions of people struggling through their hunger and despair to perform the proper salute with the legally required amount of gusto. Happiness troopers clad in gaily colored uniforms standing at the ready to correct the faltering and unpatriotic with their electrified joy-batons*

        1. That is precisely what they would do. They are not out to actually help people. They are only after their votes.

        2. Actually, the solution would be a Maximum Wage – The ultimate Progressive crown jewel.

          1. I advise you all to relax. It’s all mostly theater. There is a sort of natural wage for any kind of work, and if it offends a legal boundary it’ll simply be moved off the books. Meanwhile, investigation of statistics shows that minimum-wage changes don’t affect either employment or inflation in any discernible way. (If they did, they wouldn’t happen.) Workers who desire higher wages need to form unions, not petition governments dominated by the very people they’re trying to get the higher wages from.

            1. Meanwhile, investigation of statistics shows that minimum-wage changes don’t affect either employment or inflation in any discernible way.

              Since minimum wages only affect a small percentage of the population to begin with, any effects on the population in general are small.

              Furthermore, most of the studies that look at the effect of minimum wage hikes don’t look at who is employed. That is, the population of $15/h minimum wage workers may be quite different from the population of $9/h minimum wage workers, even though nominally, the same number of people are employed under the same job titles.

              Workers who desire higher wages need to form unions, not petition governments dominated by the very people they’re trying to get the higher wages from.

              I don’t understand this “not” part; many politicians are in the hands of unions, because unions bring them many votes. And the effect of unions on politics is just as corrupting as the effect of corporate lobbyists.

      2. It really is a double bind. They bitch that Walmart workers don’t make enough money, so they have to use food stamps and the like, which is so fucking evil of Walmart. And then they bitch if Walmart pays them a “living wage” because they’ll lose their food stamp eligabilty.

        Fuck ’em.

        1. rasing the minimum wage won’t increase prices of most cheap consumer goods ( minus fast food ) because none of them are made within the jurisdiction covered by the minimum wage laws.

          The only danger to minimum wage workers is the loss of government benefits which can easily be corrected with rasing the qualification level for benefits.

          Sad but true.

          1. Wait – what?? Are you saying the wages of retail store clerks are somehow magically independent of the price of the items they sell? Where does the money for their wages come from?

            Please tell me you forgot to put in a sarc tag.

            1. But don’t you know that every piece of an economic system is completely independent and can be fiddled with without affecting all the rest?

              Don’t forget that all businesses and government has bottomless vaults full of money.

  2. We shouldn’t criminalize offering someone the chance work for less.

    Somebody posted this a while back, and it’s too good not to repost:

    Walmart critics embrace two moral standards: in the first, morality requires payment of high wages to 1.2 million people. In the second, morality can be achieved without employing anyone at all–that is, by paying zero wages. Most of us have chosen to live by the second standard, and from our lofty moral position we can criticize Walmart for not meeting the first standard. How convenient!

    In other words, according to the system of morality embraced by the Walmart critics, Walmart could “rise” to our level of morality by either (a) raising pay to some arbitrary level preferred by the critics or (b) reducing the wages of their 1.2M employees to $0/hour, thus choosing the standard of morality that the rest of us prefer to apply to ourselves. Of course, option (b) means that those employees would leave Walmart–but that’s the point. Then Walmart would be equivalent to us.

    1. Dude, that’s logic and reason! That has no place in this debate!

      You can’t Reason here! This is the H&R Room!

      1. +1 President Merkin Muffley

    2. Gosh, that’s up there with Robert Heinlein for tersely relevant pithiness. The only problem is the very last word, paleface. But the general argument is as clear as William Graham Sumner’s “The Forgotten Man,” where A and B put their heads together to decide what C (Walmart) will be forced at gunpoint to do for D.

    3. “morality can be achieved without employing anyone at all–that is, by paying zero wages. ”

      Which is in fact the true minimum wage.

      Everyone repeat after me:
      The minimum wage is 0.
      The minimum wage is 0.
      The minimum wage is 0.

      1. “The minimum wage is 0” that’s called community service, which is exactly what Obama wants to force on all of us. For our own good of course.

  3. As far as I can tell, “most economic research” involves looking at very small changes to the minimum wage in markets where the prevailing starting wage is above the statutory minimum.

    1. Not to mention the fact that there is already a minimum wage. Additional, small “impacts” are therefore a result of raising the hourly wage, not looking at the total impact (i.e. unemployment) of having any MW at all.

    2. The overall impact of minimum wage is, in truth, probably quite small; so small that you likely wouldn’t notice a statistically significant disemployment effect, precisely because so few people make close to min wage. Like firing one shot into a crowd of people and on;y hitting one person and saying “see, doing that had no statistically significant effect on the overall life expectancy of the crowd at all!”

      Also “most economic research” doesn’t account for the longer term effects of minimum wage, the ‘lag effect’, that it takes awhile -years perhaps- for firms to implement the technology necessary to replace the overpriced minimum wage employees. “Most research” only looks at very short run, and so doesn’t see all the dis-employment effect.

      Most good economic research, however, does find a significant disemployment effect. But hey, quantity is better than quality right?

      1. The overall impact is indeed quite small because the people affected are generally young people and adults who lack job skills, and that’s a relatively small percentage of the overall workforce.

        But for those people the effect is huge.

        I’ll pull some numbers out of my ass here for the heck of it. Let’s say that 5% of the workforce is paid minimum wage, and raising it will cause 20% of them to become unemployable. That’s only one percent of the workforce, but if you’re one of those people then it sucks to be you.

      2. “The overall impact of minimum wage is, in truth, probably quite small;”

        Its not “small” to the millions of restaurants and small grocery stores its putting out of businesses.

        http://www.pewresearch.org/fac…..imum-wage/

        The number of temporary jobs available to people 16-19 is about *50%* lower than it was in the 1990s

      3. Not true. An increase in the minimum wage erodes purchasing power across the entire wage spectrum, while only momentarily bumping up the purchasing power of minimum wage earners. Like firing a single shotgun blast into a crowd and only counting the dead guy and not all the injured around him. That is to say that measuring for disemployment after a minimum-wage hike is only looking at the dead guy. The injured largely remain employed, but can buy much less with their earnings.

        Also I don’t believe there is a technology lag at all. The technology exists before it is widely adopted. As soon as the conditions exist to make the adoption economically sound, it happens near instantaneously. I think the failing of the research is that the wage hikes have been so incremental that the true impact of the “disemployment effect”, and other effects, gets lost in the statistical noise. If the wage hike were large and national, you’d see the effect almost overnight..

      4. Do not all arguments for taking from others by force rely on the alleged rarity of the need to make an example by shooting a few scofflaws now and then?

    3. Well, yeah. Most arguments that raising the minimum wage has no ill effects look like the equivalent of “You say that dropping things on my foot will hurt, but I dropped a feather on my foot and didn’t feel anything at all, so therefore dropping this cinderblock on my foot won’t hurt either.”

      1. dropping this cinderblock on my foot won’t hurt either.

        Except they will make very sure it is not dropped on their own foot. Tireless advocates for the working class are very careful not to belong to it.

    4. In addition, there are dozens of different ways in which businesses can cope with increasing minimum wage, most of which wouldn’t show up.

      For example, if I have $8/h workers working for me and the minimum wage rises to $15/h, since I have to pay $15/h anyway, I might as well fire the old workers and hire new ones that are better qualified and have more education. Most studies on minimum wage wouldn’t see that, because the number of workers I employ remains the same and the old workers would probably not even show up in the unemployment statistics.

  4. To paraphrase Mencken, sometimes you gotta them what they want good and hard.

    If I were in a robotics and automation company it would be my fiduciary responsibility to lobby for a $25 minimum wage.

    1. Just wait, it’s going to turn out that Big Robot was behind all of this all along.

      1. Mazenkaiser?

  5. Wasn’t one of the arguments for raising the minimum wage in the first place was that it would kick people off of welfare and save the taxpayer money?

    I recall a lot of smug progs bitching about capitalist fatcats pawning their workers off on the taxpayer by not paying them enough.

    1. Arguments to progs are like words to Humpty Dumpty. They mean whatever they want them to mean from moment to moment, and cannot be held to consistency over time.

      1. Good analogy. Also, progs are not interested in actual arguments, that is fact-based give and take and rational analysis. They are interested in justifying the narrative and shouting down and demonizing non-right-thinking people.

      2. Like I pointed out the other day, Alinskyite tactics require constant goal-post shifting. Keeping the minimum wage low and people on bennies is “bad,” but forcing higher wages and getting them off government bennies is also “bad.”

        The ultimate goal is the destruction of the bourgeois society, which relies on a citizenry with a high level of personal responsibility to survive. Treat progressives as destruction-minded marxists, and it becomes much easier to single them out as enemies to the stability of your communities.

      3. Arguments to progs are simply weapons to manipulate.

        Correspondance to reality, or the lack thereof, is entirely irrelevant.

    2. Yes. That’s one argument. Then at the same time they’ll argue that the people who would have had a job with the lower minimum wage but are now priced out of the job market are better off on government assistance than with the less-than-living-wage job.

      So it’s going to save money by getting people off of welfare while at the same time making people better off by forcing them onto welfare.

      Then again it’s not like people on the left give a shit about consistency. Only simple-minded libertarians care about consistency.

      1. They care about an emotional consistency that is far superior to your pathetic logical consistency.

        1. Yeah. They feel like they’re helping people. That’s all that matters.

          1. In particular, they feel like helping people with other people’s money…

    3. I also thought that welfare etc. didn’t cause disincentive to work? That that was just a rightwing myth to slander the poor as lazy and unworthy of desperately needed help. But here we are…

      1. I would love to know the true number–not whatever the government is saying, the real thing–of people living on the dole. With disability fraud through the roof, it’s got to be something incredible.

        1. There are like 12 million people on disability. There are like 60 million people on food stamps. There’s got to be decent overlap between those groups, you’re talking at least 1/5th of the American public even if you just count food stamps.

          1. The calculation is probably complicated by those who are underemployed intentionally to qualify for the welfare supplement, which also likely takes the total number of dolecrats very high.

            1. those who are underemployed intentionally to qualify for the welfare supplement

              And while I totally agree with you, it’s counterproductive to mention those people outside of friendly circles. Progs deny that there are such people and vehemently attack you for saying there are. The debate then gets bogged down in what a mean, poor-people-hating person you are.

              1. I understand that I can’t get a real answer, but the truth is out there, and I bet it’s worse than we could possibly imagine.

                1. What a lot of poor people do (and I know this from experience working in inner cities) is they get jobs that specifically pay under the table because then they get the take home pay from their black market jobs and also get benefits.

                  This is one reason why selling loosies and bootleg DVDs is so fucking popular on the Chicago L Train lines – you get the cash from your sales and you still qualify for all the programs because none of it’s disclosed to the feds.

                  Tons of people in the inner cities also work on a cash only basis at their jobs, and if you go into some of the shady restaurants and businesses that operate in bad parts of Chicago, for example, it’s highly unlikely they’re actually filling out all their paperwork regarding employee disbursements.

                  1. The future, she sure is bright, ain’t she? We’re breeding a completely useless underclass of considerable size.

                    1. Not completely useless, if what Irish is saying is true. Those people can probably make it without the welfare. They know how to hustle, and they are bright enough not to leave money on the table.

                    2. Not completely useless

                      See, I was expecting you to comment on how good Soylent Green tastes!

                  2. Every class, and almost everyone plays the system. And, a lot of people cheat where they can. Big corps hire expensive accountants to pay no tax. And, welfare cheats exaggerate their disability, and don’t declare income, and so on.

                    The middle class has less opportunity to cheat than all the other groups.

                  3. I actually admire the ones who sell bottled water. You know they bought two cases with their SNAP but at least they are going through the trouble of getting it from the store, schlepping it around, and not being in-your-face trying to sell it.

                    1. Edward Bok sold bottled water by the road as a boy to help support his mom–over a century ago. I’m sure he or she or both would be arrested, tased, pepper-sprayed and charged today.

          2. And any true number should include the number of people in professions almost entirely propped up by government policy. Your Solyndras, univeristies, school systems and NGOs et cetera.

            1. I’m willing, for the sake of argument, to limit this, for the moment, to more direct welfare programs. Because I think the number is plenty ridiculous for just that.

              1. We wouldn’t want the number to get too ridiculous, figures like 50%, 60% or 70% might just be too much to bear.

                1. Gosh, I better go out and make more money to help support all of these unproductive people.

            2. You left out “economists”.

            3. Don’t stop there, what about the Mortgage Interest Deduction? My mortgage payment is close to identical to what my rent used to be, but now the Feds are giving me enough back in taxes that it completely covers my state property taxes. In a way that’s a form of dole, I get a tax privilege that the equivalent renter does not get.

              1. Don’t stop there, what about the Mortgage Interest Deduction?

                So, the Feds give you a 20-25% rebate of what you pay to the bankers every year?

                Who’s making the money in this situation?

                1. The difference is, of course, that the bankers lent their money in a voluntary transaction, while the gov doesn’t do shit but is more than happy to give you a “rebate” on money you didn’t pay to them in the first place.

                  If a banker can make money by lending money in private transactions, that’s great–and we all benefit from that, in ways you are obviously not yet able to comprehend.

        2. If you count do-nothing government workers and retirees, I bet it’s well over 50%.

        3. Don’t forget about geezers on Social Security and Medicare and government pensioners.

          Geezers on Social Security and spouses – 42 million
          Medicare beneficiaries not included above – about 7 million
          Survivor beneficiaries of SS participants – 6 million
          “Disabled” SS participants – 11 million

          Add in the 60 million on food stamps, government employees and other deadbeats sucking on the government teat, and their dependents and we’re talking about a pretty large fraction of the entire population. It’s large enough, for example, to vote in a demagogic community organizer as President.

          1. I think the number was 47%.

            It made the news when Romney uttered it.

          2. Speaking of social security…

            I don’t know what exactly this was, what the conditions/requirements were, or what particular law allows this, but… A few months before I finished high school, my dad retired. Social Security told him that since he had a child who had not yet graduated (me) then that child would receive $1000 per month until they graduate for up to 12 months.

            Being the pot-smoking, KMFDM-listening shithead that I was back then, I flunked a few classes and had to take a correspondence course to get my HS diploma, so I graduated a few months late. That whole time, I was getting $1000 per month from Social Security. At age 18. Living with my mom.

            Back then, I had no ethical objections about taking that money. I was more than happy to sit around jobless, blowing the cash on cigarettes and cheap liquor. I did buy my first gun with it, though…

            I’m not really sure how I’d feel about it today. On the one hand, I did not need that money at all, and it was actually a disincentive for me to get my HS diploma (the payments stopped when I graduated). On the other hand, I’ll be stuck paying tons of taxes to the government for the rest of my life, much of which will be wasted on stupid crap, so maybe it’s not so terrible to get a little bit of it back.

            In any case, this just goes to show that not ALL of the money in Social Security goes to seniors. At least some of it goes to incredibly stupid shit like this.

          3. You’re also leaving out farm subsidies and tax breaks. Almost all of America is suckling off the government teat, whether they know it or not.

        4. 15% of the population is on food stamps. Democrats are proud of this number. Human beings are ashamed of this number.

      2. Let’s say you’re on welfare taking in X amount of dollars in benefits. If you go out and get a full-time job, then you’ll make X + 50 dollars a week. That’s just over a buck an hour.

        Where’s the incentive to get a job?

      3. I would love to know the true number–not whatever the government is saying, the real thing–of people living on the dole.

        Don’t forget the people cashing Social Security checks or on Medicare. That’s all welfare, too.

        1. But, but, but they paid in all their lives! The deserve it!

          1. And you really can’t blame them for falling for the lockbox myth since they’ve been told that all their lives.

        2. And that’s another fact that’s a hard sell. SS as not-welfare is one of the most cherished myths. Better to argue around that fact than get bogged down.

          1. Every SS security statement should show a clear accounting of just how much has been paid…and taken (including Medicare).

  6. too-generous government programs can change the calculus for a person at the low end of the income ladder

    Whoa, whoa, whoa, nobody told me there was going to be any maths. /salon writer

  7. And the truth is it’s not clear how much better off people who make the minimum wage will be.

    It doesn’t need to be clear to you, sunshine. It’s clear to the top men.

  8. We all know what the prog solution will be: simply ratchet up the means level for the programs, or even eliminate it altogether. Fund it with a soak-the-rich tax. Done and done!

    1. AND raise the minimum wage to $40/hr to make up for the lost “benefits”.

    2. Those above 200k will get soaked no matter how many poor people feed or starve. All social programs manned by progressives fail when the well-off aren’t crawling in the streets with their fucking clothes shredding on the asphalt while their fingernails turn black from crack.

      The Lord Jesus was incredibly fucking correct when he said the poor you will always have with you. I have considerable empathy for those mired within or slowly-escaping the ooze of poverty. It’s not a festival when you can’t pay your rent. But no goddamn mountains of money seized by well-meaning and caring dictators can ever fix large-scale social issues.

  9. Here’s the thing: A worker who would be worse off making $15 an hour due to a minimum wage hike would also be worse off making $15 an hour because she went back to school to learn new skills. This is exactly what people on the right mean when we talk about welfare creating a poverty trap?that too-generous government programs can change the calculus for a person at the low end of the income ladder so that it no longer makes financial sense to try to increase your value as a worker, because if you earn too much, you’ll lose your benefits. It’s not worth the risk.

    Incentives, man, how do they work?

    An alternative headline for this post might be: Liberals Shocked That People Respond Rationally According to Their Self-Interests

  10. The finances of those at the bottom are delicately balanced and intertwined with so many safety net programs, like food stamps and rental assistance, that the question of whether workers are better off must be weighed against whether and how they lose the support they receive from those programs. And the truth is it’s not clear how much better off people who make the minimum wage will be.

    I haven’t read her whole article yet, but it sounds like she’s making a highly nuanced argument. Let’s not count her in for the big libertarian conversion yet.

    It almost sounds like she’s suggesting that people who make a higher minimum wage might find themselves earning enough to not need government assistance– and is the subtext that the wonderful assistance programs wither on the vine?

    All too often, progressives count the success of poverty programs by the number of people enrolled in them. If no one needs a poverty program, then the program is a failure and needs expanding.

    1. Oh don’t worry, I wanted to see what her “conclusion” was.

      Wait for it….

      The truth is, these workers probably need more pay and more help from government programs, not less.

      1. 10 PRINT “More!”
        20 GOTO 10

        1. 5 ON ERR GOTO 10

          You know, just in case something goes wrong.

          1. nOOBS

            void more(){
            cout

            1. Try again

              void more(){
              printf(“More”);
              more();
              }

  11. This is exactly what people on the right mean when we talk about welfare creating a poverty trap?that too-generous government programs can change the calculus for a person at the low end of the income ladder so that it no longer makes financial sense to try to increase your value as a worker, because if you earn too much, you’ll lose your benefits. It’s not worth the risk.

    It’s not just people on the low end. It’s middle class people as well. I have a family member that won’t go to work because it might jeapordize her social security disability cheque, even though she’s more than capable of working.

    No, she’s not trapped in poverty, it just traps me, the taxpayer in bondage to the state.

    1. Jeopardize*
      EDIT BUTTON NOW!

      1. Jeapordize is at least approximately phonetic. What about “cheque”? That’s the far greater error. It makes you look like either an anglophile or a Francophile. In either event you’re a pretentious twat.

    2. The marginal income tax on 50-64 year-olds should trap them at the 400% of poverty line hurdle unless their income is already quite significantly above that level.

      At age 50, the marginal income tax is 325700%. Earn $1 over the hurdle and pay $3257 in tax.
      At age 60, the marginal income tax is 806700%. Earn $1 over the hurdle and pay $8067 in tax.
      At age 64, the marginal income tax is 954900%. Earn $1 over the hurdle and pay $9549 in tax.
      Source: Kaiser Family ObamaCare Calculator. US Average of married couple’s subsidy at 399% of poverty line, which disappears when income equals 400% of poverty line.

      A married couple who both have incomes above 200% of poverty line can make this happen. So, if husband and wife make $31860/year each (PL for household size of two), they are much worse off than if they had made $31859 each.

      1. In the above, I’ve ignored the marginal federal income tax and FICA rates since they are lost in the round-off.

  12. “The finances of those at the bottom are delicately balanced and intertwined with so many safety net programs, like food stamps and rental assistance, that the question of whether workers are better off must be weighed against whether and how they lose the support they receive from those programs. And the truth is it’s not clear how much better off people who make the minimum wage will be.”

    Is this not exactly what the Liberals have always complained about, that big business’ payrolls are subsidized by the welfare state? Just so we understand correctly, companies need to pay their employees a “living wage” so that they don’t need welfare, but don’t raise their wages, because then they might not be able eligible for welfare…

    1. At some point we go full Europe and simply start subsidizing the wages of employees, government paying n cents on the dollar paid to each full-time employee.

      1. I see. Who buys all of our stuff and provides us with military protection, then?

          1. They’re our only hope.

            1. Please, everyone, STOP FUCKING MOVING TO TEXAS!

          2. Try that and we’ll rescind that 1845 treaty!

            /wishful thinking

      2. You know, I wish we did go “full Europe” because, say, German welfare benefits are a lot tougher than US welfare benefits.

        For a single person, welfare in Germany is about EU 400 (about $450) plus rent (up to a limit). From that, welfare recipients need to pay everything: food, health insurance (albeit at reduced rates), mandatory TV fees, car insurance, public transit, cell phone, etc.

        Any kind of welfare in Germany requires signing a contract with the government under which the unemployed person is required to take any job that is offered to them; the agency that pays out the welfare also gets requests for workers from businesses and makes those offers. If a welfare recipient refuses to take a job offer, benefits are reduced or canceled. Welfare payments decrease gradually with income so that there is no threshold at which there is an incentive not to work.

        1. It’s amusing to me that “progressives” absolutely idolize everything about Europe, yet if a welfare system like you’ve described were proposed here, they’d blow a gasket and call it a racist, right-wing conspiracy to throw poor people into the streets to die.

          1. It’s not really amusing at all. Many progressives are genuinely deluded about what’s happening in Europe, and it’s a source of their political agenda for the US. They are similarly deluded about the role of churches, abortion, surveillance, unions, health care, public transit, etc.

    2. One of the standard leftie arguments I see is that the American taxpayer is subsidizing Walmart et al. by providing benefits to workers, so Walmart can pay them less than a “living wage”. But I haven’t been brave enough to bring up what this makes me think – doesn’t that imply that if we just stopped paying benefits, Walmart would have to take up the slack? Somehow I don’t think that’s the conclusion the lefties wanted me to reach…

      1. Those benefits are available to people in their income bracket whether they work for Walmart or not. It’s not like there’s a gumbint earmark for Walmart worker subsidies. And Walmart didn’t create the benefits mess. If they somehow ‘benefit’ from it, so what?

        Lefties choose not to understand that.

      2. Government isn’t subsidizing corporations with food stamps etc., they are subsidizing the worker, because it’s the worker that’s deficient in skills and needs to be subsidized in order to compete with more expensive workers.

  13. Liberal Writer Worries Large Minimum Wage Hike Could Hurt Poor People.

    , that the question of whether workers are better off must be weighed against whether and how they lose the support they receive from those programs. And the truth is it’s not clear how much better off people who make the minimum wage will be.

    Oh for a minute there I thought he was going to argue that the minimum wage hurts low skilled and entry level workers by eliminating many such jobs altogether. No such luck.
    The problem as it is seen when wearing progressive blinders, is that these people won’t qualify for some other government handouts. Nevermind that he takes it entirely for granted that these people will still have jobs. Maybe he’ll feel better once he finds out the legions of unemployed people created by this law will still eligible for his favorite handouts afterall.

    1. They don’t see the legions of unemployed people created by this because they’re not immediately created. Most employers will try to keep their existing employees, or most of them anyway. But they will be very reluctant to hire more. It’s the people who aren’t hired who are the unemployed people created by this legislation. But that will be blamed on greed, profits, and free markets, not the well-intentioned wage floor.

      1. They don’t see the legions of unemployed people created by this because they’re not immediately created.

        Of course we’d need to do research to get a conclusive answer but I think quite a number jobs will be immediately lost within the first 6 months to a year. Namely any employee whom an employer can calculate does not earn him something more than $15 per hour will be gone. That means layoffs in entry level positions in the recycling or construction industries to name but two that come to mind. Some labor intensive activities that can’t be readily automated will close and leave California altogether.

        1. Namely any employee whom an employer can calculate does not earn him something more than $15 per hour will be gone.

          Those greedy employers only care about profits! These employees are people! They deserve a living wage! Corporate greed! Free markets! Aaauugghhh!

          1. Worse than that – $15/hr is the UNLOADED cost.

            To figure the cost to the employer, multiply that by a figure greater than ‘1’ – typically COST of employment is 1.5x to 2x the wage.

            So, you’re not netting me $22.50 an hour in value?

            Enjoy your new pay rate of zero, Chuckles.

            1. Exactly, plus the cumulative employer costs as this increase ripples through the supply chain, and increases the cost of doing business. I agree with F.S. – there will be immediate job losses in 6-12 months, and significant business closings/lack of start-ups within one year.

          2. It’s a really fascinating mindset. If employers behaved in the way that lefties think they should behave, there’d be no such thing as employers and likely no such thing as humans.

        2. I wonder to what extent we simply won’t have the traditional “employees” and businesses will move gradually to a more contractor/consultant-type relationship. I don’t mean just in IT, but in pretty much everything. There is no reason cashiers, for example, can’t be hired strictly on a contract basis, or piece-work. Of course, there are other factors to consider, but I wonder if there will be a general trend in that direction.

          1. what worries me is that it will make automating more types of work cheaper (relatively). If you had the choice of paying one big lump sum once or consistently paying employees more than you want or can afford, it’s hardly a choice. look up “momentum machines”

        3. It doesn’t necessarily mean layoffs, it may simply mean upgrading the workers. That is, companies may still nominally keep the same entry level positions, they may simply replace the $8/h employees with better skilled and better educated $15/h employees and demand more productivity from them. At nearly 100% turnover per year in the fast food industry, they never have to fire anybody to make that happen.

          The insidious thing for statistical analyses is that the apparent effect of increasing the minimum wage is that nobody got laid off from these entry level positions and productivity actually increased; the fact that the labor force has turned over is usually not noticed.

      2. I would argue that a more important effect may be not the firing of workers or even the non-hiring of workers, but the cutting of hours.

        Progs always talk about min wage in terms of $ per year, “$15,000 per year.” Well, if you have a situation where minimum is $15 an hour, they may still be making 15,000 a year; but only working 1,000 hours a year, far short of full time. And progs, no doubt, look at this and see two things. 1) There’s no unemployment, because the worker still has a job (because underemployment doesn’t exist to them; as long they’re technically employed no disemployment effect acknowledged, even though loss of hours from jobs kept is probably a huge factor), and 2) The worker is still making “too low a wage”, that being, 15000 a year.

        In reality, if course, it isn’t the wage that’s too low, it’s the number of available work hours; and the number of available work hours is so low, in part, because of the minimum wage.

        1. If a person is young and irresponsible, or an inexperienced adult, they’re not going to be hired for more than they can produce for their employer. Full time or part time.

    2. I think we got honey-dicked.

  14. We in North America and Europe don’t have a welfare state anymore.

    It’s an enabling state.

    1. I believe you mean *empowering* state.

    2. Places like Germany are a lot tougher than the US in terms of welfare.

      Germany didn’t use to have a minimum wage law, but got one in January 2015; its effects remain to be seen.

  15. Yeah, this all seems like a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose argument here.

    The argument seems to be, raise the minimum wage and shell out higher taxes, all at the same time. So much for the now-outdated liberal progressive argument that says if we raise the minimum wage we won’t have to spend so much on public assistance.

    1. That argument is “no longer operative”.

  16. But don’t ever let anyone tell you that welfare programs might disincentivize work!

  17. I don’t understand why the progressives are content with these half-measures. What is the argument, in their world, against raising the minimum wage to $100K/year ? And also, if you don’t have a job, the government pays you $100K/year ? I mean, I know what my arguments against that are, but I’m working from a very different set of facts/assumptions than they are. The only response I’ve ever seen is that is “obviously not reasonable”, but I really don’t know why. Because Republicans? Anyone?

    1. I was just walking by a television where someone was shouting that a higher minimum wage means more jobs. Again I ask, why did we stop at $15?

      1. I agree. After all, thousands of peer-reviewed objective studies show it won’t hurt anything and will make everyone rich.

    2. When I’ve heard this discussed in a somewhat rational way, they admit that a large increase in the minimum wage would lead to unemployment. They claim that smaller increases don’t.

      My understanding is that it has been difficult to see the effect of minimum wage increases on employment. Some studies claim to see an effect, some don’t. I’m not aware of anything definitive enough to settle it once and for all. Not that a definitive increase in unemployment would lead most progressives to stop supporting the minimum wage. They’d just find some other excuse.

      1. But this is ridiculous reasoning on their part. The extent to which minimum wage causes unemployment correlates directly with the extent to which it “works.”

        They are correct that small minimum wage increases have little noticeable effect on unemployment. That’s because they do nothing noticeable at all. If you take the drug in a small enough dose, it won’t give you side effects, but that’s only because the dose is so small as to be ineffective; what makes the drug “work” when in sufficient dosage is precisely what causes the side effect observed therewith.

      2. When I’ve heard this discussed in a somewhat rational way, they admit that a large increase in the minimum wage would lead to unemployment. They claim that smaller increases don’t.

        I’ve heard the same thing – they admit that, yes, a $50/hour or $100/hour minimum wage would have bad effects. Unfortunately, they never seem to be able to explain how they came to the conclusion that $15/hour (or whatever the number under discussion at the moment is) is the magic number that will have only good effects

        1. I think it has something to do with numerology.

          1. Well, FDR arbitrarily increased the price of gold by 21 cents because 21 is three times seven, and seven is a lucky number. I kid you not.

      3. Other macroeconomic factors are what determine the level of unemployment. Minimum wage may contribute partially to the overall picture, but it’s not clear whether that contribution is absolutely positive or negative (more money in poor people’s pockets could mean more demand and thus more jobs). But we’ve had a minimum wage with full employment and with relatively high unemployment. The social justification for a minimum wage does not depend on its contribution to employment rates.

        1. Minimum wage may contribute partially to the overall picture, but it’s not clear whether that contribution is absolutely positive or negative

          A lack of clarity never stopped you before.

          (more money in poor people’s pockets could mean more demand and thus more jobs).

          It couldn’t possibly mean that because it’s not creating more wealth, it’s arbitrarily driving up the capital costs of production which indisputably makes production more expensive.

          1. So the only thing that matters is whether price increases eat up all or more of the increase in wages. If they don’t, then the minimum wage earner ends up better off and the saintly wealth creator sells more hamburgers.

            1. the government CANNOT make the job you do more valuable to your employer. mandating a higher minimum wage is just gonna devalue the dollar.

            2. So the only thing that matters is whether price increases eat up all or more of the increase in wages

              The money for wages comes from somewhere. Let’s say it’s the best case scenario and some evil fatcat has a lower standard of living because he must pay his employees more. You didn’t add any new wealth to the economy. You simply shifted it around from one ledger to another. It doesn’t drive up demand, if anything it diminishes aggregate demand by filtering that wealth through non-productive bureaucracies instead of letting it be used as investment capital when it’s parked in the evil fatcat’s financial instruments. Such instruments, unlike bureaucracies, actually do increase the amount of wealth in society.

            3. Is it possible to have one of the Tony handlers to actually have a little knowledge of economics ?

              Is that really asking too much ?

            4. So the only thing that matters is whether price increases eat up all or more of the increase in wages.

              Of course they do. Where else do you imagine the money comes from?

              At best you can argue that this is a redistribution from wealthier consumers to minimum wage workers, but that doesn’t help the economy at all.

            5. There is no social justification for the minimum wage.

              There is no good economic justification for the minimum wage. Advocates, such as yourself, simply use your tool of compassion in place of your tool of cognition.

              Increasing the costs of employing someone, will decrease the someones that are employed. Whether the number is 1,000, or 100,000, why advocate for a policy that does little to improve people’s lives and does harm to some.

              your position boils down to “I don’t care how few people are harmed, as long as I feel good about the policy.”

        2. more money in poor people’s pockets could mean more demand and thus more jobs

          Redistributing money from wealthier people to poor people never creates more jobs; wealthier people would invest the money, which means that it results in the same amount of spending as when poor people spend it, but the investment creates additional value.

          The social justification for a minimum wage does not depend on its contribution to employment rates.

          Inasmuch the social justification for a minimum wage is false either way, that’s true.

    3. Hi Mr. Monocle. Your suggestion isn’t reasonable because it is not the point. What to call the idea you described? Not “minimum” wage. Gentlemen this is not about neighborhood kids raking leaves. It’s a large and necessary segment of the economy and society. This type of legislation may as well be called minimum-effort because its nothing. Its as fundamental as outlawing company scrip.

  18. Behold the glory of a utopian state not afraid to jack up the minimum wage when the people demand it!

    “Venezuela Raises Minimum Wage By 30%

    The move is likely to further stoke inflation and will line Venezuelans’ pockets with more bolivars, the local currency that has lost 75% of its value on the parallel market over the past year.

    The raise brings the minimum wage to 7,421 bolivars a month, $37 a month when calculated at the newest and weakest of the government’s three exchange rates with the dollar. On the black market, where a greenback fetches considerably more bolivars as Venezuelans scramble for scarce hard currency, the new minimum wage equals $27.

    “Prices rise 11% a month,” said a message on opposition leader Henrique Capriles’ Twitter account. “Do the math and do you think a 30% increase covers it? The solution is to end with inflation, but what does this do? Nothing.””

    Hoozah!

    1. Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!

    2. The solution is clearly to abolish currency and let the government ration all the people’s needs.

      1. The Venezuelan minimum wage is hilarious.

        http://smg.photobucket.com/use…..9.jpg.html

        ^ It more than doubled between 2003 and 2009 and that’s not counting the last 6 years when it’s spiked through the roof because they’ve been desperately trying to make the minimum wage keep up with inflation.

        1. In a just world, Venezuela would be THE go-to cautionary tale especially since the lessons of the old Soviet union and the great leap forward have been forgotten. But there seems to be a stony silence about Venezuela.

          1. What’s especially amazing is that Venezuela has cranked up their minimum wage in nominal terms, but the inflation (which is partially driven by the eternally skyrocketing minimum wage) has gotten so bad that the real minimum wage has actually fallen by 9/10ths. In 2009, Venezuela had a minimum wage that was equal to like $320 US dollars per month, now, despite almost doubling in nominal terms, it’s equal to only $20 per month. Which also shows the idiocy of using the minimum wage to try and increase the wellness of the poor, since you can nominally increase the wage, but if that results in price increases the real wage remains unchanged or could actually fall.

            1. And the worst part is that the masses no longer have toilet paper.

              The liberal government elite have clean asses and dirty hands.

              Go figure.

              How can American Progs be so obtuse as to ignore the real time disaster that is their policies on parade in Venezula.

              And why are they allowed by the press and popular culture to get away with the charade ?

              1. Senn Penn did a fact-finding mission. He didn’t see anything wrong.

  19. Stephanie needs to write more H&R posts.

      1. Not really completely horrible. There is something to be said for government actually paying for all the spending (yes, I know it’s not their money). I think that not raising taxes when spending increases probably make a lot of people less worried about spending than they should be.

        1. In a world where money didn’t have to be borrowed @ interest into existence, you’d be right.

  20. as a society we ought to be able to do better.

    Talk about evidence-free assertions.

    Thousands of years of history has shown that society is incapable of solving the problem except by not attempting to solve it at all.

    As a society, we ought to do absolutely nothing. But if we must do something, I’d start by firing every government employee.

  21. Oops! What will they do when all of the people they “help” no longer receive the welfare benefits they all depend on? How will they survive when they have to pay ALL of their bills for every thing like the rest of us? No Medicaid, no TANIF or WIC payments, not Housing Assistance or public housing, what will they do? Most likely demand the rules be changed to allow then to keep getting the help. If that huge block of loyal Democrats were no longer beholden to progressive politicians they might actually vote for the GOP because suddenly the idea of lower taxes and keeping more of the money you make would mean something.

    1. +1 chameleon lying there in the sun.

    2. the original “come on feel the noize” is surprisingly good

  22. I’ll keep saying this until some Reason writer picks it up: far from wanting to “help the poor,” the original Progressives advocated a minimum wage because it was a racist, sexist, eugenics policy. The “white man’s wage” was meant to disemploy white women so that they would stay home and have babies, and to disemploy blacks and the mentally and physically defective so that they could not afford to have children.

    So it’s as if the promoters of a hair-removal remedy have simply rebranded it as something that grows hair.

    1. Same policies, different rationalizations.

  23. How difficult is the process of getting on government benefits? Is it onerous? I’m just wondering because I’ve heard both ways – some people say the government watches everything you purchase, makes you pee in a cup, can come inside your home, etc. while others say that it’s extremely easy and no hassle at all…

    1. According to the best sources I have, the process is racist. That which is difficult to do that onerously affects lower income people who are by extension people of color is by definition, racist.

      1. I’m not sure if I’m following your train of thought here. Can you please elaborate?

        1. I was told that something that’s hard to do and onerous is racist. When I asked why, I was told that people in poverty have a harder time doing those things due to unique obstacles in the path of the poor person: lack of transportation, transient addresses, irregular schedules, lack of resources such as childcare etc. I was then told that because many people of color are poor, those things… those hoops that society puts us through are therefore “racist”.

          What was interesting though, is those hoops that were declared ‘racist’ only seemed to apply to a very narrow set of things– hobby horses, to be more precise– that were important to the people explaining this to me. The carefully explained barriers and obstacles that poor people– poor people of color– faced didn’t seem to be an issue for other areas of society which were, in my opinion, just as onerous or more onerous than the hobby horses listed by the aforementioned. I’ve not received a clear explanation why.

          Back in the 90s, NPR and various other left-of-center sources went on about how hard it was navigate the byzantine world of government benefits and the welfare system. Remembering back to those stories, I was forced to conclude that this world of bureaucratic red tape must surely be racist.

          1. Ah, I follow you now. Seems silly to call something that is supposedly standardized across the board racist. I’m guessing that you agree?

            1. Agree 100%.

              I’m being a dick. Especially because it’s such a useful argument to throw back into the faces of people who preach that shit. All I have to do is find my hobby horse, show that the requirements of paperwork or licensure or regulatory hurdles of engaging in said behavior are “onerous” and *poof* the process is racist and should be eliminated.

              Try it some time! It’s fun at parties!

              1. This comment amused me greatly. Thanks!

    2. Before we met, my wife was on hard times and went to apply for some government benefits. At the time she had like three jobs, a couple were delivering newspapers (not like a kid on a bicycle, but rural areas in a car). She was told that in order to be put in line (I think she was looking into housing) she’d have to quit two of her jobs and sell her car. To be put in line.

      So basically you must prostrate yourself to the government employee and make yourself completely and totally dependent upon them before they will consider helping you. Do anything, and I mean anything, to try to better yourself on your own, and they won’t help you.

      She told them to get bent.

      1. Why did they tell her to quit two of her jobs and sell her car?

      2. See, its stuff like this that makes me think that the idea that people would rather receive government benefits in lieu of higher wages is bogus. I suppose that there are some people that don’t know any better, feel that its hopeless or simply cannot do any better (because of a disability or something), but if getting government benefits is that onerous, difficult and demeaning, wouldn’t there be an intangible qualitative value to making, say, $15/hour from a legit job as opposed to making an effective $18/hour from a combination of a $7.50/hour job plus government benefits?

        It could be that I just have higher standards for my day-to-day or for how people treat me and what I’m willing to do to get something I want. Maybe some people that receive benefits simply don’t give a shit and would rather stick with it since change is difficult. I don’t know…

        I’m not saying that I support an increase in the minimum wage, I’m just saying that I’m not sure if I buy the idea that people would rather get paid a modest amount more through a combination of benefits & low wages compared to getting paid slightly less with solely a higher wage. There’s qualitative value to not being subjected to government red tape.

        1. You work the job you are trained for. Many families on welfare benefits come from families on welfare benefits, live in communities with many welfare recipients, and are taught, trained, schooled in how to navigate the systems to get the money.

          Just like in the legit job market, the better trained you are, the more you can make or the more efficient you are at making it. Why would you go into a line of work you are not trained for (a real job) and make less with more effort, when you already posses the skills and efficiency to be a professional welfare recipient?

      3. That’s pretty much the experience my wife and I have had. We make too much to get assistance and own both our cars free and clear (because they are worth about $1500 together). Never mind that we’re months behind on our Student Loans and barely make rent each month. Maybe we should be like my cousins who have three kids and live with their parents……. Or get credit cards to go into bigger debt by “making ends meet now.”

        1. It is a racist determination of who gets help and how quickly.

          Just look at the staff of any government welfare office.

          If you have grown up in that economy then all your friends and family know the shortcuts and they run the welfare offices.

          1. Somewhere, years back, I saw a video on youtube of a middle aged woman holding an impromptu seminar for a bunch of young and teen unwed mothers, in her community, on how to work the welfare system to maximum effect. She was training them, teaching them the skills they needed to be professional welfare recipients. As i said elsewhere, you work the job you are trained for – the job can maximize your earnings in. In this case welfare.

            My point is this, that for many it is not a safety net, it is a career- a career they are trained for. Incentivizing people to leave that career would take no less than training them effectively enough to make more money with less effort in another line of work. It ain’t happenin’!

            1. This is what sniper rifles are built for.

  24. Potts’ article is also an excellent example of what I was talking about in my appearance on HuffPost Live earlier this week, when I said that replacing our 80+ disparate federal welfare programs with a “universal basic income” might sound good in theory?but I’m skeptical the existing programs would ever actually go away.

    They absolutely wouldn’t. Government programs serve two purposes.

    1. They ostensibly serve the public, be it narrow or broad, with the mission of said agency.
    2. The agency itself is an employment program for those working in the agency.

    If purpose #1 goes away, you’re still left with purpose #2, which kind of never goes away.

    Close your eyes and imagine the howling over the employees of those agencies being laid off or even shuffled if that rat’s-nest of programs went away.

    1. Laid off? That would never happen. The best you could hope for would be the position being eliminated. Which means they’ve still got a job for life (doing nothing), and when they retire the position isn’t refilled.

      1. Can’t we re-purpose them? Like, as food?

  25. A fairly rigorous study from my oh-so-awesome home state of Illinois that basically shows what the author at The Daily Beast is talking about. From the abstract:


    A single mom has the most resources available to her family when she works full time at a wage of $8.25 to $12 an hour. Disturbingly, taking a pay increase to $18 an hour can leave her with about one-third fewer total resources (net income and government benefits). In order to make work “pay” again, she would need an hourly wage of $38 to mitigate the impact of lost benefits and higher taxes.

    Poverty trap indeed! What a fucking travesty. The full PDF of the report is worth a look-see.

    1. Yeah, there was report not long ago that added up each states total welfare benefits and compared them to average salary of workers in the state. There were a number of states where the average workers salary was lower. I think Hawaii was actually one of the worst offenders. It was pretty sad.

      1. It was similar to this study. might have been the same one.

  26. “the author realize that even the most well-intentioned government interventions can sometimes have disastrous consequences for the people they’re trying to help. ”

    All the author realizes is that the government intervention didn’t go far enough. I wonder why we even bother with these stories. Oh, that’s right glut of bloggers with nothing to do but blog about what crazy things other bloggers say.

  27. I’m sure he’s also shocked-SHOCKED- to find gambling in this establishment

  28. If a person wants to hire someone at $4 an hour to do a low-skilled task and a worker is willing to accept the job at that rate, that’s a win-win and the government has no business stepping in to forcibly prevent it.

    Of course, the government has plenty of business stepping in to forcibly tax both parties to it.

  29. I would like to know what the author believes is the appropriate minimum wage at which a person or family would no longer need any assistance form the government. Once that annual amount is established why not simply argue for a raise to that level? If for some reason raising pay to the level at which government assistance is no longer needed is detrimental, not practical, not possible, etc. why argue for a raise at all, particularly if a partial raise would require that a person or family in this situation would need more, not less government assistance?

    1. Subsistence farming doesn’t require government assistance.

      Therefore, the appropriate minimum wage is ZERO.

  30. One would think capitalism would be the freest concept on earth since it is always being fucked up the ass by government just like intelligent users of mind-altering substances and conscientious consumers of dick and pussy.

    Unfortunately, once capitalists receive a smidgen of government clout-sharing under its belt it games the system and this only occurs because wealthy capitalists trap way more fucking cash to buy into the clout-sharing system than your lowly fucking prostitute or introspective lover of philosophy tripping on LSD on a beach somewhere no one gives a fuck about.

    Capitalism is the original individualistic endeavor. But, don’t fucking tell me capitalism in modern America is unadulterated capitalism. It’s not. Nothing close to it. With all due respect to the lovely minds above arguing about Walmart wages and government- your thoughtgasms are like arguing over boiled squid or octopus. Shit only tastes different when you change the sauce. Walmart is capitalism integrated deeply into mass governmental law.

    Walmart was capitalism when the old man ran a couple of creaky downtown hardware stores that sold bananas. Once it moved into multiple billions and slithered like a politician multiplied it became Walmart.gov.

  31. But as libertarians you are contractually obligated not to give a shit about poor people. And you’re not giving a shit right now, you’re using them as an excuse to oppose a policy you don’t like on ideological grounds. More than one liberal has written critically about such a high minimum wage. We can do that–we actually do give a shit about the social consequences of our policies.

    1. Progressives in the various brick houses with cute feminist wives and a couple of kids struggling to pay a mortgage ‘give a shit’ about the legislation they support as cute Democrats because the church of the atheist progressive social justice alley warrior demands that their sensitive natures struggle for causes.

      They stump for the poor like they’ve actually ever been fucking poor. They stump for causes that excite their fucking faces because these are people who live to worship the state. The state is their primary morality.

      1. Progs support these programs because they are scared shitless of the poor and want them to go away.

        I only hate the poor because they create progressives.

      2. The poor vote Democrat, except the white Christians, who do not lack for grievances and hypocrisies. It is no crime to care about the poor while not being poor. By definition they lack political power on their own.

    2. You’re right, we don’t care about the poor. We never argue about how increasing the minimum wage prices out entry level positions. We never argue about the poverty trap the welfare state has created, trapping the poor at the subsistence levels. We never talk about how a free market increases the standard of living for everyone. We never celebrate individuals who have created new and better ways to create products, hereby decreasing the prices. We never talk about how the minimum wage costs more to the employer than the simple wage. We never talk about how increasing regulations and other requirements disproportionately harm smaller businesses who don’t have the economy of scale to absorb such. We never point out how programs ostensibly designed to help the poor, when looked at objectively, have been dismal failures.

      No. We just hate the poor and want them all to wallow in their shit and die.

    3. I dislike the poor, but I don’t hate them so much that I would subject them to unemployment and a lifetime of being beholden to government handouts like a slave is beholden to a master by enacting a minimum wage.

    4. You really are a piece of shit, aren’t you? I usually try to be civil, but fuck you.

    5. And you’re not giving a shit right now, you’re using them as an excuse to oppose a policy you don’t like on ideological grounds.

      It’s actually mathematical grounds, but you can fuck off with your viewpoint regardless.

    6. But as libertarians you are contractually obligated not to give a shit about poor people.

      We care a great deal about poor people, which is why we want to save them from the kinds of policies you favor.

      We can do that–we actually do give a shit about the social consequences of our policies.

      If you gave a shit about the social consequences of policies, you wouldn’t advocate the kind of disastrous policies you advocate.

      See, Tony, you don’t give a shit about poor people, you just want to be able to pretend you do.

      1. My team has empirical reality on its side. Yours has kindergarten economics and unicorns.

        1. My team has empirical reality on its side.

          Dunning-Kruger effect in action.

        2. Detroit is the empirical reality of your side, stupid leftoid loser.

    7. Tony i am poor thus will you give me some money since it is your social obligation? Ill set up a paypal

  32. Ironically, liberals mostly demand the minimum wage so that the supposed beneficiaries won’t need so much government assistance (and claim that businesses with large numbers of low-wage employees are themselves relying on such public assistance to support their employees). It’s always fun to see liberals fighting each other.

  33. Note to foreign readers: when Americans say liberal they mean closet socialists. When Australians use the term, they are referring to neo-libertarians, and when British Subjects say liberal they are referring to a gelded variant that yearns for freedom, but not to the point of being insistent about it. –libertariantranslator.com

  34. Way back in my first year out of high school, I worked a summer packing tomatoes. I hated it. But then the big harvest came and I was working 12+ hours a day in 100 degree heat (but not in the sun, I had a tin roof over my head). The only thing that got me through that week was the thought of overtime.

    Oh yeah! I could by a new car! Of my own! Whooo! Then my paycheck came through. I actually made LESS money due to being bumped into a new tax bracket. Holy crap! Work more and get paid less.

    Not only did flattening the brackets remove the incentive to work less, it actually created more tax revenues because people were working more. It’s a lesson the progs need to learn. The more people are working the more tax revenues there will be for their harebrained schemes.

  35. Once upon a time, socialists at least thought that *production* was a good thing, even if all their policies destroyed production.

    It’s funny how today’s socialists no longer value *production*, and would rather have people idle.

  36. This is promising. If a liberal author realizes that a minimum wage worker will have an incentive to work less to keep his other welfare benefits because working more gives you the same or smaller total pay and/or benefits, how much effort will it take to get him to see how a highly progressive tax system equally encourages high income earners to work less because the extra hour of work brings very little benefit?

  37. Tony what empirical evidence suggests raising min wage is great for getting the poor out of poverty? Consider that min wage had been raised throughout the years and the great society programs you like to take credit for and yet you continue to complain about poverty being around

  38. All of these arguments sound great on paper, however, isn’t it the actual results of lowering/raising minimum wage that counts? If you do a little research, you’ll find that states with the best economies tend to have the highest minimum wage, and vice versa.

    A famous study challenging the prevailing orthodoxy that raises in the minimum wage inevitably lead to declines in hiring, particularly among teenagers was tested at fast food restaurants along the border between New Jersey and Philadelphia. In a result that surprised (and outraged) many of their peers, they found no decline in employment on the New Jersey side of the border. The change in the minimum-wage law appeared to have had practically no effect. Other similar studies have confirmed the same.

    1. KCinWA|5.23.15 @ 3:23PM|#
      “All of these arguments sound great on paper, however, isn’t it the actual results of lowering/raising minimum wage that counts? If you do a little research, you’ll find that states with the best economies tend to have the highest minimum wage, and vice versa.”

      Yes, which shows you are quite capable of confusing cause and effect.
      Now, tell me this: When someone raised the price of a good, do you think more people buy that good?

    2. Correlation, something something, causation.

      “Empirical studies” that 1) have no control and experimental groups 2) are the ass-end opposite of double-blind and 3) can’t even name the millions of variables at work in human action, much less account for them statistically are window dressing. All of these “studies” are notorious for being vulnerable to very slight manipulations in inputs, meaning that if you add another variable, like visiting the restaurant in person rather than phoning them for your mw study, you get different magnitudes and/or directions.

      Most economic history studies support the obvious idea that increasing the price of something leads human beings to buy less. The few that don’t are excellent examples of why studies are a worthless method of attempting to arrive at, rather than illustrating, economic truth.

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  40. Why didn’t anyone tell those poor politicians that imposing a price floor on a good or service will result in a glut of labor and consequently unemployment?

    If only someone like Paul Krugman had written a book of texts explaining these things in language easily understood by teenagers who are presumed to know nothing about economic reasoning, then perhaps this disaster might have been averted.

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  42. Ah! That wonderful road of ruts, paved with good intentions. You better be able to provide for yourself without the government BS. It can disappear in a heartbeat.

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  44. A higher minimum wage means that some jobs are lost and the rest of the jobs pay a higher wage. So, are workers better off? It depends on the details, but we can judge by a simple rule.

    If an increase in minimum wage increases the total wages for workers, a tax-and-redistribute unemployment benefits scheme can spread these benefits to all workers, so they will all be better off.

    Increasing the minimum wage without bound eventually causes the total wages for workers to decrease. That is too far; the minimum wage should not be that high.

    As for the issue that people might hesitate to aim for higher pay lest they lose some welfare benefits, that occurs if the rules for welfare benefits are badly designed. The benefits ought to taper off slowly
    as your wages increase; that way, increasing your wages always increases your total effective income.

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  46. What? Monica, have you had your daily glass of liberal Kool-Aid? If not, they’re going to burn you for the heresy of deviating from the established narrative.

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