Minimum Wage

Be Careful What You Wish for on the Minimum Wage

The laws of economics can't be repealed.

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We have a saying in France that goes something like this: With enough "ifs," we could put Paris in a bottle. In other words, if you assume away all the difficulties of the real world, you can achieve miracles. This proverb was all I could think about when reading Ginia Bellafante's recent column in The New York Times about making the case for a $33 minimum wage in the Big Apple.

While in her estimation, the $15 minimum wage that went into effect in NYC on Jan. 1 is a step in the right direction, she argues that it's not enough if the goal is to enable a single parent with two school-age children there to meet his or her expenses. With that objective in mind, $33 an hour is necessary.

It certainly is an expensive city to live in, and some residents do endure difficult lives with little money to spend, though I'd like to point out that the notion of their financial hardships going away if only the government were to set a higher minimum wage is the equivalent of assuming away the laws of economics and the real world.

For example, when government raises the cost of employing workers, more workers will want jobs, but fewer will be employed. As George Mason University economist Donald J. Boudreaux reminds us, in a recent letter to the Times editor: "Wages…do not depend on how much pay workers 'need'; wages depend on how much value workers produce. Government requirements that workers be paid an amount greater than the value of what they produce throw workers who cannot produce that amount of value out of work."

Many economic studies confirm the fact that while some employees will benefit from the mandated wage increase, many won't. Businesses respond predictably to price changes, including changes in the price of labor. They may not all respond with equal speed or magnitude, but over time you could expect a reaction to mandated higher wages. Some employees will lose their jobs to automation, while others will see their full-time job transformed into a part-time or temporary job. In spite of Bellafante's wishful thinking, this economic reality won't be suspended in the real world, especially if the minimum wage were suddenly more than double overnight.

It's important to understand that these distortions are the byproduct of government intervening to raise wages. The fact that mandated minimum wages are bad for some workers who will lose their jobs as a result doesn't mean that all wage increases are bad. In fact, when wages go up naturally as a result of economic growth, improved productivity, and more competition between firms for workers, wage hikes don't come at the expense of other workers. That's why we can expect a sustained rise in wages resulting from a decrease in the corporate income tax rate—a tax cut that increases capital investment and productivity, and then wages. How much they will grow over time is an empirical question.

An important issue often overlooked when talking about how to improve the lives of low-income Americans is the impact on their bottom line that a reduction in their cost of living would have. A straightforward way to achieve this goal is to get rid of misguided regulations and laws at the federal, state, and local levels. In a 2015 report, my colleague Salim Furth (who at the time was a scholar at the Heritage Foundation) listed a few of the culprits, such as medical torts, occupational licensure regulations, and auto dealership monopolies. At the local level, land use regulations, such as zoning laws and environmental review delays, have a serious and negative impact on the cost of housing. The additional cost they create for low-income Americans can be even more pronounced than any federal and state regulations.

The bottom line is that there are other ways to improve the lives of those living in NYC than to mandate a costly and crazy high minimum wage that's very unlikely to even deliver the expected increase in wages.

To be sure, market-driven wage hikes and regulatory reforms are harder to achieve than daydreaming about the government delivering higher wages without any negative consequences. As I said at the beginning, with enough "ifs," we could put Paris in a bottle.

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164 responses to “Be Careful What You Wish for on the Minimum Wage

  1. If other parts of the country keep jacking up the cost of living and destroying jobs, Texas may have to build a wall…

    1. Ironically, if Texas had “built a wall” while it was part of Mexico, it wouldn’t be part of the US today.

      1. Neither would Colorado.

        1. Sure, why not? But CharlesWT wasn’t talking about building a wall around Colorado.

        2. You guys want to be part of Mexico?

      2. Well, Texas got itself out of being part of Mexico all on its own, so I dunno about that.

        If Texas were still part of Mexico today though we could be sure it would be a far poorer, more dysfunctional place.

        People who think we robbed Mexico, or wherever, of prosperity by taking their land don’t get it… It’s not the LAND that makes those areas wealthy in most cases, it’s the CULTURE, the laws, the civilization built by the people there.

        Saudi Arabia is an example of it actually just being the land… But Australia? If no white men had ever showed up there, it would be a poor, backwards, shit show like Africa or whatever still. Same thing with Texas, California, and the rest of the southwest.

        1. Nah, it’s pretty simple.

          If Mexico hadn’t allowed US immigration into Texas to start with, then the US immigrants in Texas wouldn’t have rebelled against Mexico.

          In short, all the hyperbolic fears about Mexicans coming over, corrupting our culture, taking our land, pushing us out of jobs, voting, and so-on? That’s what the US did to Mexico in the lead-up to Texas seceding from Mexico.

          And please note, I said “ironically”. I didn’t start passing moral judgement, that was you.

          1. The migrants into Texas were fine with being Mexican citizens and they even converted to Catholicism (or at least pretended to convert) in order to comply with the Mexican law.

            Then Santa Anna took power and started treating them like peasants and violating the Mexican Constitution.

            So they (to include those of Mexican heritage) took up arms, defeated what had become a tyrannical government and declared the Republic of Texas.

            If a government becomes tyrannical it deserves to be rebelled against and it deserves to lose territory.

          2. It wasn’t just allow. Mexico encouraged Americans to settle in Texas to form a buffer between Mexico and Indians.

          3. Both of the posts after yours are correct! They invited people in, and they were cool and compliant until the government changed.

            You kind of are though too. If those liberty minded Anglo-Americans hadn’t moved there, the Hispanics there may well have just accepted a tyrant. Or not been able to defeat him if they still rebelled.

            As far as things go though, the whole “pour across the border until we overthrow the natives” thing is a tried and true method historically. Which is why I DON’T WANT IT TO HAPPEN HERE. And I’m part Mexican for fucks sake! But if we let in too many foreigners in a short span of time, we’re done for. We really already have, which is one reason this country is going to shit so hard lately. There hasn’t been enough time for assimilation, if assimilation will ever work for some of these groups. So we have a shit show on our hands.

            1. Texas revolted over SLAVERY. Mexico had abolished it, and was ordering Texas to do likewise
              So … right-wingers supporting slavery. Witless tools of the power elites.

              1. Glad to see there is no topic on which you are incapable of making the stupidest comment possible on these pages. Nitwit

            2. Jesus you’re an idiot. So I guess Texas revolting had NOTHING to do with Mexico abandoning a republican form of government for being a military dictatorship then? Give me a fucking break dude.

              I’ll tell you what, Texas REALLY fucked up by not remaining a sovereign nation. It would have been a sweet country if it hadn’t joined the USA.

  2. I sometimes think statists think everything works like a thermostat. Too cold? Turn it up; heat happens. They have no understanding of how it works, other than some vague hand-waving about fuel and probably some kind of computer gizmo. But that’s ok; it’s about all you really need to know.

    But they extend this to everything. They do not distinguish between thermostat and thermometer. I suspect that some of them do not even realize there is a difference. If you were to ask them the current temperature, they could just as easily get it from the thermostat and not even be aware which one they had read, or that there actually was a second temperature gizmo.

    They do differentiate between the gas pedal and the speedometer, but that is an outlier. Everything else, they echo Ramses: “So let it be written, so let it be done.” Write a law, problem solved. Add a book of regulations, so let it be done.

    When the only outcome is confusion and corruption, they call it market failure. Hey folks, markets *depend* on market failure, that is what they deal with. Any bureaucrat could distribute canned food if nothing ever went wrong; it’s the very facts of weather, natural disasters, birth and death and sickness and vacations and retirement, and innovation and curiosity — all those are what markets handle day in and day out.

    1. “I sometimes think statists think everything works like a thermostat. Too cold? Turn it up; heat happens.”

      Bad analogy. This is a slightly better one: Statists think that if it’s too fault the electric company needs to provide “free” heat for the poor. The poor being defined as anyone not rich.

      1. With “rich” being defined as “anyone who makes more money than me”.

    2. This is the whole point of Bastiat’s essay on Unseen Costs, or the Broken Window Theory.

      You can do all sorts of things to increase wages. Conservatives and Liberals both have spent the last decade talking past one another on this subject. Liberals want to increase wages by artificially setting the price of labor. Conservatives want to restrict the labor supply via immigration restriction. Both have the unseen cost which is born by the people who pay for services that are supported by lower wages. And it is born by those wage earners who will see lesser demand for their higher costs.

      In addition to the items mentioned above, I can speak to a recent example. Due to wage costs, my company canceled plans for an expansion in our data centers in middle america. This increase would have employed hundreds of workers, but it won’t happen because construction labor is too expensive, the datacenter workers are too expensive, and to a lesser extent, material costs have gone up too much. It is impossible to quantify how many investment projects will be skipped due to decisions NOT to purchase (i.e. decreased demand), which is why people on either side of the aisle can so easily ignore them.

      1. I totally get where you’re coming from, and agree that is all technically correct. Here’s the thing: In a country with tons of socialized costs, where people can vote for things… How can it be any other way?

        You can’t have people living like kings, and peasants starving to death in the streets. Not when we’ve known something better than that for the working class. They’ll have a revolution before they stand for that.

        Also, at the other extreme, if we go to true open borders we will have TONS of jobs… But at wages drastically lower than today, affording the majority of the country a far lower standard of living than they enjoy now.

        Other than the fact that the peasants would revolt because they don’t want their standard of living destroyed, who the fuck wants to live in a country like that?

        If you want to see what that is like, look at Mexico, or Brazil, or China. Places with a small, wealthy elite, and hordes of poor are simply not nice places to live, EVEN IF YOU’RE WEALTHY. I don’t want to have to have a bodyguard to go to the super market.

        That plus socialized costs I have to pay is why I am against low skilled immigration. Maybe YOU want to have body guards to go outside your house, which is fine… But most people don’t. Nothing can ever make everybody happy, including 100% unrestricted freedom. There are many areas where total freedom is doable and righteous, but I personally have a few spots where I’m okay with minor restrictions.

    3. Stop with the thermostat-splaining!

  3. Landlords love them some minwage increases. Because they can immediately increase rent to reap the benefit. So do mega stores like gap and target. Because they can use automation and efficiency of scale to wipe out smaller competition that can’t afford the high wage.

    1. Landlords love them some minwage increases. Because they can immediately increase rent to reap the benefit.
      Price controls to the rescue!

    2. My company is doing engineering work for a very large restaurant chain to automate their frier. The machine is almost certainly cheaper than a $15 per hour employee.

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  5. “The laws of economics can’t be repealed.”

    Except for labor markets and immigrants.

    Immigrants have absolutely *no* effect on wages in the domestic labor market. None.

    Because Open Borders Uber Alles!

    1. Yep. Higher supply of low skilled labor means a lower wage for low skilled labor. Low skilled immigration puts downward pressure on low skilled wages.

      This is basic economics. Reason does a dis-service to its name when it ignores and/or denies the basic economics.

      Note:

      Downward pressure doesn’t mean that wages don’t go up, just that if they do go up, they go up slower. And real 5th quartile wages are actually down over the last 30 years.

      Also, immigration is only part of the story. Automation is clearly a factor.

      1. Reason doesn’t ignore this. Authors point out that those propped up wages come at a cost- just as when you use any law to restrict the free contract between peoples. Tariffs and restrictions on labor are functionally equivalent to price controls on goods and labor. Which is why it is so ironic to see conservatives making essentially the same economically unsound arguments as Minimum Wage proponents when they argue for restricting immigration. “Wages are too low! We need to keep wages higher by [setting a minimum wage || restricting the labor supply].”

        Whether we have a minimum wage, or we have a restricted labor pool the costs are the same for the resulting higher cost of labor. Companies will skip investment, find alternatives (automation), or go out of business.

        1. Can you give us an example of a country that has no limits on immigration so we can contrast that with America’s most liberal in the world immigration policy?

          1. I’d also like a cite on a conservative specifically saying “We need to restrict immigration to keep wages high.” as opposed to “We need to restrict immigration so we don’t undercut native workers who’s wages have been artificially inflated.” Lots and lots of economists and conservatives (and none too few libertarians) for decades (pretty much since the Progressive Era and The New Deal) fall well into the latter category.

            The difference isn’t all that subtle but Overt is one of those people who operate with a, as ‘a ab abc..’ characterized it upthread; “Thermometer, thermostat, furnace… as long as the heat rises, what’s the difference?” mentality.

            1. Can you give us an example of a country that has no limits on immigration so we can contrast that with America’s most liberal in the world immigration policy?

              This has nothing to do with my argument. JWatts argued that increased immigration puts downward pressure on wages. The flip side of that coin is that restricting immigration forces (yes forces) those wages to remain higher than if people were free to move and contract as they please. Regardless of what other countries do, this is a basic economic reality of supply and demand. If you are for using law to keep wages higher, your economic argument is no different than a min-wage proponent.

              I’d also like a cite on a conservative specifically saying “We need to restrict immigration to keep wages high.”

              JWatts just made that argument. The argument I was responding to. The Center for Immigration Studies has regularly argued that immigration lowers wages natives can earn, saying it is a bad thing.

              1. as opposed to “We need to restrict immigration so we don’t undercut native workers who’s wages have been artificially inflated.”

                This in and of itself is a self defeating argument. The argument is the same- that native consumers for some reason should be forced to subsidize artificially inflated wages for a select few. Simply put, whether you are arguing for artificially higher minimum wages or artificially smaller labor pools to keep those wages higher, you are making the same argument- that the law should force consumers of labor to pay more.

                There are a lot of CONSERVATIVE arguments against immigration, including its effects on the welfare state, our voting population and cultural values. But the argument that government has a responsibility to keep wages high for some class of workers is a LIBERAL argument. It always has been, and conservatives engaging in such arguments are shooting themselves in the foot. Once they have accepted the government’s role in propping up wages, they have ceded any sort of principled stand against other wage controls such as the minimum wage.

                1. It is unfortunate that conservatives have moved to this position where they ignore Unseen Costs. This argument that the government ought to prop up favored workers (at the cost of other Americans who are somehow less deserving of their money) is the root of conservative support for Tariffs, farm subsidies, immigration restriction, stadium subsidies, and minimum wage. By abandoning conservative principles that we should let individuals trade freely, Conservatives have abandoned a key principle used to fight against the out of control growth of government.

                  And surprise, the ascendant populism in conservative governing has now become as economically unfeasible as liberal governing. Conservatives are no longer arguing for limited market intervention, they are just arguing over which constituency ought to get the transfer of wealth from whom. They have at best abandoned their support of economic reality, if not outright undermined it.

                  1. Here’s the thing dude, as I said above, I think most people have the common sense to realize we DO NOT want to become a place like China or Mexico.

                    That is EXACTLY what open borders would do. The more unskilled immigration we have, the more it moves the needle that direction. You can argue all day long that it is the moral position, and I tend to agree in terms of NAP… But I say fuck morality in that instance. It is not a horrible sin to make somebody live in their own country of birth.

                    The whole beauty of 1st world countries is that our working class has a relatively high standard of living, which is what makes them nice places to live. There is a cost for that, but between having to see millions in slums on the outside of every major city, starving children in the street, more crime, etc I’ll choose paying working class people decent-ish wages.

                    Keep in mind, if we don’t, we might have a peasant revolt on our hands… That is half of what got Trump elected actually. If you don’t like it fine, but you must accept the political reality that people will not PEACEFULLY allow their own standard of living be annihilated so people like you can say “Yay, we have open borders, which is super moral!”

                    1. Also, I would argue there is a difference between decreeing that wages go up by the government, and limiting immigration. Historically importing endless illiterates to suppress local wages was not really a thing that could be readily done by most governments. Wages depended on the productivity from within the nation based on REAL productivity gains, not just wage suppression. This is why I don’t rail against automation and its effect on wages.

                      The fact that it is possible in the modern world I guess makes it fair game… But it still has A LOT more implications than JUST wages. If it was JUST wages I would be more okay with higher levels of immigration.

                      The socialized costs, the destruction of civilizations, social cohesion, bad voting habits, etc all play into the immigration debate.

                  2. Conservatives have abandoned a key principle used to fight against the out of control growth of government.

                    You’re looking at it too narrowly and/or painting with an overly broad brush. Conservatives and economists have and still do stand against minimum wages. The official party platform in 2016 was that minimum wage should be an explicitly state and local-level issue.

                    They’re frequently saying, effectively “Assuming liberals have their cake on wages, then they shouldn’t have their cake on immigration.” and you’re chastizing them for favoring higher wages and being just as bad as the “Have their cake and eat it too.” crowd.

                    There are certainly some protectionists in the pro-nativists tent, but both sides of the aisle pretty generally recognize Trump =/= GOP =/= conservatives or conservatism and the idea that higher wages for their own ends are explicitly part of the platform is disingenuous.

                    I admit that it may be hard to disentangle the distinctions between working to keep wages high and not yanking the rug out from under native workers, but there is a distinction and it’s not like conservatives by-and-large worked to put wages where they are.

              2. What JWatts is ‘arguing’ is a fact that a glut of supply results in a lowering of price.

                It doesn’t matter what that glut is.

                Apples cost less if there’s a glut of it–and labor costs less if there’s a glut of it.

                And what’s forcing wages higher has nothing to do with immigration. And everything to do with minimum wages, the laws that make employers pay for health insurance, workman’s comp, leave, the mountains of regulations that surround employing anyone–I can keep going without ever mentioning illegal immigration.

                When I finally do get to illegal immigrants it is only to point out that none of any of that applies to them.

                Or don’t you get that? THEY are ‘free to move and contract as they please’. Native workers ARE NOT.

          2. Having read all the “replies”, apparently nobody knows of any. I didn’t think so.

      2. Why do you and so many others see only the increased labor pool and ignore the concomitant demand from those same immigrants?

        Probably the same reason you see only the few bad apples and ignore the many good apples doing their best to stay under the radar.

        The same reason you ignore all the property tax and sales tax they can’t avoid paying, and the payroll and other taxes some of them pay and will never collect from.

        1. Look dude, it’s simple.

          It America if you don’t make $50-60K a year, you are a net negative taxpayer. So there ya go.

          And yes, they do increase demand… But so what? The average illegal, or low skilled legal immigrant for that matter, makes far less in average income than a native born person… Which means they DRAG DOWN the average income in the country via their lack of productivity.

          Total GDP is the most useless number in the world. GDP PER CAPITA is what a nice society is all about. Low skilled people don’t help us there. If you merely want a higher GDP, why don’t we just let 500 million Africans and Indians live in grass huts in the country? They’d surely produce SOME value right? Of course they would! But it’d be far less than the current average, and would drag the country down per capita.

          THAT is why low skilled immigration is BS.

          1. Total GDP is the most useless number in the world. GDP PER CAPITA is what a nice society is all about. Low skilled people don’t help us there.

            The industrial revolution disagrees. It was all about using low-skilled folks to produce great wealth.

            1. Was. We need fewer low skilled people, not more.

            2. LOL Seriously dude?

              Yeah, if we still had a manufacturing economy maybe! It’s working for China. And we could in fact be JUST LIKE China if we obliterated our standard of living here for the bottom 95% of workers, and had hundreds of millions of manufacturing workers with standards of living below what Americans had in 1900 again… But who in their right minds wants that? Bottoming out wages is the only way certain types of manufacturing are coming back here, other than via automation (which doesn’t create many jobs), or tariffs. You can’t have a high value service economy without productive high value jobs, which illiterate peasant immigrants DO NOT create.

              And GDP Per Capita INCREASES were what the industrial revolution was all about. Machines made peoples productivity go up by 5, 10, 100 fold per man hour worked. THAT is what made us wealthy. Importing LOWER productivity people would drag down the average.

              This is simple stuff here man…

          2. Keep in mind when talking with the “open boarders” folks that they honestly believe illegals don’t get welfare and food stamps when time and again its proven that they do and in many states are encouraged to do so. I don’t care where you come from, if you make less than 50K a year, you use ER visits for healthcare, and use government programs, you are a net negative.

  6. “The laws of economics can’t be repealed.”

    Reason would have more credibility when they say this if they hadn’t spent the last 3 years denying that immigrants lowered wage rates for American workers.

    The law of supply and demand for labor was repealed, because Open Borders Uber Alles!

    1. You’d have more credibility if you’d stop highjacking the topic to insert random memorized soundbites..
      The Law of Supply and Demand is universal, not just where it’s convenient to your own preferred statism.
      Their spending affects Law or Supply and Demand for good and services. Think it through.

      was repealed,

      If you refused to see reality, that does not repeal it.

    2. You’d have more credibility if you’d stop highjacking the topic to insert random memorized soundbites..
      The Law of Supply and Demand is universal, not just where it’s convenient to your own preferred statism.
      Their spending affects Law or Supply and Demand for good and services. Think it through.

      was repealed,

      If you refused to see reality, that does not repeal it.

      1. Fuck off and die, Hihn.

  7. What’s with the squirrels in this place?
    I don’t see tweets projected forward through the space time continuum at any other site.

    1. The squirrels are on strike or furloughed or something.

      1. Damn, so the squirrels are Federal workers. We’ve been set up!

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  9. Good fucking riddance to shithole businesses that keep people in poverty.

    Our society should demand that most jobs are full time with a living wage. That means people need only one job to live and define the nations standard of living.

    Then maybe we can put into perspective the elite who take 500 times that, and ask why we allow it.

    1. A living wage to whom?

      Increase wages at McDonalds.
      Increases their prices.
      Consumers buy less (somewhere, not necessarily McDonalds)
      Destroy someone else’s job, so “you” can have more.

      Wages are the price of labor.
      Can ANY price be increased, without selling less?
      Does full employment = maximum consumption.
      Well?

      ? the elite who take 500 times that, and ask why we allow it.

      You would “disallow” them from subsidizing half or more of YOUR income tax?

      IRS data

      Far right. Average tax RATES
      Obama’s s $50,000 secretary @ 8.3%
      Core middle class ($40-100K) @ 8.8%
      Millionaires/billionaires @ 28%
      Ooops.

      SHARE of taxes, core middle class
      ALL INCOME = $8,426B
      $40,000 to $49,999…..$422
      $50,000 to $74,999…..1,111
      $75,000 to $99,999…..1,067
      TOTAL………………2,601….30.9% of income)

      ALL TAX PAID $1,218
      $40,000 to $49,999….31 B
      $50,000 to $74,999….95
      $75,000 to $99,999….102
      TOTAL…………….294….(18.8% of tax)

      18.8%/30.9% = 60.8%. the ENTIRE core middle pays only 61% of their own share of taxes. Who subsidizes the rest, Venezuelans? (Deductions also tilt heavily toward … VOTERS!)

      In fairness, the right has been conned as badly as you have.
      Left-Right = Zero.

      We need more narratives, Veronique, about people and their lives, and less preaching to our own choir.
      So we can stop losing.

    2. Our society should demand that most jobs are full time with a living wage.

      Why? There are plenty of people who don’t need full time employment that can support a family of 4.

      1. Two weeks out of the year, my wife, the kids, and I get by on

      2. …less than $1200 that is. We call it a “vacation”.

    3. Ha! One standard of living for the whole nation? So someone in Monticello, KY has the same standard of living as someone in Silicon Valley?

      How much should we allow the elites to make? What’s the cutoff?

      Shit. Have I just been fooled into responding to an OBL clone?

      1. No, I think this guy is not bad parody. Hard to tell, though.

        1. Pretty sure it’s no parody, but a real idjit who shows up to prove how stupid lefties are.

    4. Even if you were to support the idea that the poor are in dire straits and needed help, raising the minimum wage is the absolute worst way to go about it, and will ultimately cause more harm, denying the poor opportunities and relegating them to a servile class, with ALL investment coming from the 1%.

      It is pernicious and evil.

    5. Rob Misek|1.24.19 @ 7:12AM|#
      “Good fucking riddance to shithole businesses that keep people in poverty.”

      You *ARE* a lefty ignoramus.
      Fuck off, slaver.

    6. “Our society should demand that most jobs are full time with a living wage”.

      Perhaps society should demand that Rob Misek start an adequate number of sufficiently large companies, all of which provide only full time jobs with a living wage.

    7. What’s an economy, but a set of rules to achieve the objectives of a society?

      Progress, peace, health and sustainability.

      You want to be rich so you and your tribe will never have to work, contribute? Fuck you leech.

      Manipulating a corrupt set of rules to maximize benefit to yourself, fucking people over in the process, is not the objective of society.

      1. Rob Misek|1.24.19 @ 3:21PM|#
        “What’s an economy, but a set of rules to achieve the objectives of a society?”
        Wrong, you fucking ignoramus. An economy is the interaction of people trading; the only objective is to get the best trade.
        A cave man can understand that, so try REAL hard to see if you can.

        “Progress, peace, health and sustainability.
        Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, slaver.

        “You want to be rich so you and your tribe will never have to work, contribute? Fuck you leech.”
        Scumbag, everybody wants to be rich. Fuck you with a running and rusty chainsaw.

        “Manipulating a corrupt set of rules to maximize benefit to yourself, fucking people over in the process, is not the objective of society.”
        Exactly what you are proposing you lefty scumbag.
        Fuck off and die, slaver. A slow and painful death; what you deserve.

        1. Oh, so that’s why our economy is working against the best interests of our society.

          Karma’s a bitch.

          1. Rob Misek|1.25.19 @ 7:00AM|#
            “Oh, so that’s why our economy is working against the best interests of our society.
            Karma’s a bitch.”

            U/E at record lows, growth in high numbers, poverty at historic lows.
            You, you fucking lefty ignoramus, that economy sure is working against something; scumbag lefties like you.
            Stupidity is a bitch and you have a load of it.
            Fuck off, slaver.

            1. Trump born on 3rd base. thinks he hit a triple.
              Trump inherits the longest recovery EVER for an incoming President, thinks he hit a homer.

              Trump campaigns on the promise to pay off the entire federal debt in 8 years.
              Instead, has already added more 8-year debt than Obama did AFTER 8 years.
              Trump the first President EVER to increase the deficit more than 40% in ONE year (47%) … with a booming economy.

              Trump elected to build a “big, gorgeous wall” paid for by Mexico. FAILS. Shuts down the government, punishing 800,000 federal workers for HIS failure.

              1. Fuck off and die, Hihn; make the world a better place.

                1. Cowardly pussy.

                  1. Fuck off and die, Hihn. The world will thank your offspring and they will too.
                    Seriously, die. Now.

      2. Wow. We might have a new contender for the most brainless series of posts on this site.

        1. Not new

          1. Fuck off and die, Hihn. The world will thank your offspring and they will too.
            Seriously, die. Now.

          2. TheFOURTHReich|1.25.19 @ 5:25PM|#
            “Not new”
            To be clear, some eco-systems actually benefit from dog shit. No threads here do so, scumbag, so there is nothing, as a pile of dog shit, that you add to any thread at all. Is that clear, you fucking ignoramus? You add nothing anywhere; you are a drain on humanity everywhere and always.
            Fuck off and die, Hihn, Really. You are but a pox on humanity,
            Fuck you with a running and rusty chainsaw and, no, you don’t get free medical care as a result.
            Have I made it clear how much I despise you, you fucking imbecile?

    8. Yes, some things live quite happily in dog shit. You’re living proof.

      Tell the 40,000,000 Americans living in poverty that the economy is benefiting society.

  10. Socialists: “that it’s not enough if the goal is to enable a single parent with two school-age children there to meet his or her expenses.”

    Reality: Minimum wage jobs are not intended to be the sole income of a family of any size. They are intended to be supplemental income of workers with no job skills as they learn the skills necessary to obtain higher paying jobs that WILL support a family.

    Side note: Observe that to a socialists, it is always a single parent, never an actual family with a mother and father. Something about hating men.

    1. THANK YOU! Finally, someone else says what I have been saying for years, with all of this talk about increased minimum wages. Why aren’t people talking about the real problem, which is why are so many adult Americans woking such jobs while trying to support a family? What additional job training/education is needed in order for them to get better paying jobs? That is the problem to solve, artificially jacking up wages isn’t the answer.

    2. Yup.

      The only minimum wage job I ever held was when I was in HS. Actually my first job paid ABOVE minimum wage, but my 2nd didn’t. When I was younger and working on starting up my business I did a few “day jobs” to get by, and made a good chunk above minimum wage by doing hard work type jobs that paid better than flipping burgers.

      If somebody pops out 2 kids, GUESS WHAT IDIOT: Learn how to do a better job that pays more! There are TONS of jobs you don’t need college educations for that pay well above minimum wage. Do one of those. It’s not hard.

  11. Very true… Don’t put a band aid on a gaping wound that needs better treatment. Masking the symptom does not get rid of the disease…

  12. Socialists: “that it’s not enough if the goal is to enable a single parent with two school-age children there to meet his or her expenses.”

    Reality: Minimum wage jobs are not intended to be the sole income of a family of any size. They are intended to be supplemental income of workers with no job skills as they learn the skills necessary to obtain higher paying jobs that WILL support a family.

    Side note: Observe that to a socialists, it is always a single parent, never an actual family with a mother and father. Something about hating men.

    1. In a FREE market, wages have neither intent.

  13. $33 per hour = ~$66k per annum. Median household income in the US = ~$62k per annum. Laws of economics are hard enough to repeal, you ain’t repealing laws of mathematics in order to make everybody above average.

    1. This is why we lose. What’s the median household income in the Big Apple?

      1. 80 something grand IIRC.

        But still preposterous.

        1. My point exactly.

  14. Gina Belafonte is the daughter of Harry Belafonte. His net worth is 28 million. It is very easy to play the “ifs” game when you are so enshrouded in wealth, status, and elitism that you believe will never have to deal with the consequences of your social activism.

    1. Why are you socialists so hateful of anyone with money than you?

      What is the maximum level of income you would permit, above which people may no longer have preferences and opinions you disagree with?

      the consequences of your social activism.

      Pot. Kettle. Black.

        1. Why?

          1. Who?

            1. You forgot: Where?

        2. When?

        3. It’s a Hihnfection, beware.

          1. On it

            1. WUT???

              Thank god you’ve arrived doc! The Hihn is at it again!

          2. Oh, yeah, should have guessed.

      1. Black Kettle was a great man of the Cheyenne.

        He was murdered in an 1868 massacre. The fool thought placing an American flag outside of his tee-pee would save him.

  15. The thing the economist left out of the discussion is that raising the cost of doing business (by raising employee wages) has one assured result: Prices for goods and services will rise as well, usually ending up at about the same percentage as the cost has raised, minus some of the factors (automation, lay-offs) that the economist does mention. The result is that the cost of living rises and the folks that had a “living wage” don’t any more. Artificially changing the economy always has consequences. The statists simply refuse to acknowledge that.

    1. Well naturally that will be taken care with price caps on and goods and services, along with rent control.

      If you need any more “ifs” just ask, as there seems to be an endless supply.

    2. An economist should know better that these are not completely independent variables and are in a feedback loop. You cannot artificially raise one variable and hold the others constant. A politician is ignorant enough to not see that, an economist has no excuse.

    3. Obviously if we dramatically raised the national minimum wage it would absolutely end up EXACTLY where we started…

      But I think in the cases of regions doing it you tend to end up with this:

      Rents, food, stuff bought locally, etc will skyrocket.

      You will drive out TONS of jobs that cannot pay such rates from the area to other areas with lower costs.

      IF the high value jobs there are enough to keep all the service worker serfs employed where it doesn’t completely implode the job market locally, you will still probably see small gains for whatever people still have jobs. This is because they WILL still be able to buy a TV, laptop, widget, etc for the same prices as somebody elsewhere making far less.

      That last IF is a big one though. In Seattle with our $15 wage, market rates were already getting close to that anyway here from market forces acting… So we’ve lost jobs that can be relocated, but overall employment hasn’t completely cratered… But if we were $30, I’d bet my ass it would.

  16. Who forces a women to be a single mother? ( exceptions made for widows ). Who forces them to live in NYC? Terrible decisions made on their own volition and the rest of society has to pay? Single mothers by choice are a cancer on society yet they are endlessly celebrated in our culture. When are we ever going to stop subsidizing this idiotic behavior?

    1. That would require societal pressure toward sexual responsibility, and that is just too limiting to tolerate.

      1. That would require societal pressure toward sexual responsibility

        Proving, yet again, that libertarians nailed it 50 years ago. Left – Right = Zero

        The left wants government out of our bedrooms and into our wallets.
        The right wants government out of our wallets and into our bedrooms.

        Two sides of the same statist coin. Both authoritarian.
        That’s why God invented libertarians.

        1. “Left – Right = 0”

          Michael, we know it’s you. And we’ve talked about this. Your multiple impersonations are not going to make it any easier for you to outcome your challenges.

        2. You can do whatever you want in your bedroom as long as you take responsibility for the results.

          1. The right-wing con game! Here’s how they do it.

            Fact promoted by libertarians for 50 years.

            The right wants government out of our wallets and into our bedrooms.

            ONE way of exercising bedroom fascism

            You can do whatever you want in your bedroom as long as you take responsibility for the results.

            As THEY define it!!

            Which reminds another half-century libertarian observation

            Historically, there are only two main purposes for government:
            1) To defend individual liberty.
            2) Use government force, to mandate and impose “preferred” values, on everyone,

            1. Responsiblity is the reverse side of freedom. To want to be absolved of responsibility for the consequences of your choices is to want to be relieved of your liberty.

              1. So you agree with him that YOU will define those terms, or someone acceptable to you.
                Your repeated evasions and diversions are fairly obvious to most sentient beings.

                1. Fuck off and die, Hihn. Make the world a better place.

        3. Because self responsibility is a bad thing Hihn? If people slut around, and end up with kids they can’t support, without fathers around… That is their own fault. It shouldn’t be illegal to be a stupid slut! But I shouldn’t have to pay for it!

          1. Diversion.
            Different topic.

            1. How is it a diversion when it is directly relevant to the topic being discussed in this thread???

              Social shaming for bad behavior exists for a reason. I don’t believe in laws, but I’m down for social shaming of idiots.

              1. And, boy howdy, did you find one.

              2. The topic is single mothers, not how some of you twisted it into something else — yours the worst.

                “NYC” ties it to the story topic — a proposed $33 minimum wage there.
                And see the page title.

                YOUR comment MAY have been about a government safety net, but who knows where your assault was aimed.

                And shame on you, for TWISTING my words into a snotty lie that I had attacked self responsibility

                The right wants government out of our wallets and into our bedrooms.

          2. If people slut around, and end up with kids they can’t support, without fathers around… That is their own fault.

            Isn’t is also the fault of the fathers? Why you only forcing responsibility on one parent?

            1. Well, the practical matter is, if fathers and mothers are not required by society to accept responsibility, the mother is the one more often left holding the diaper bag. The mother cannot take a flyer on the kid until it is born.

            2. It’s called misogyny, Escher.
              But I suspect your question was rhetorical, you diabolical bastard.
              /sarc

            3. It is totally the fault of the father too! I am very much against dead beat dads. Funny thing is, a lot of the time mothers use the legal system to bar interested fathers from participating in their kids lives, because they don’t like them anymore for whatever reasons, even if they’re not bad guys. I’ve seen it first hand a ton of times.

              As somebody who doesn’t have a problem with abortion though, the having kids thing is ultimately on the mother. Getting banged certainly involves the dad, but having a child is on the mom.

              Isn’t that what feminists are all about anyway? Women’s choices, women having control over reproduction? That was the WHOLE POINT of birth control too, or have you forgot?

              So if we’re playing that feminist game, then it’s ultimately on the woman if they have a kid. Until a father can demand an abortion, it’s the woman’s call.

              And people choosing to have kids I have to support with my hard earned money… They can fuck right off. And if it is a truly deadbeat dad who doesn’t even want to help (but is denied by the mom), then they can fuck right off too.

    2. I think it’s a good thing to remove the stigma of single motherhood. But that doesn’t mean subsidizing it is a good idea. And it definitely shouldn’t mean that people shy away from mentioning that, all else being equal, two parents are much better than one.

      1. The truth is, there is stigma around single motherhood FOR A REASON.

        It is literally the WORST way to raise children. Single moms are basically criminal factories, and a shit ton of other negative outcomes too.

        I have a cousin who is a single mom because her husband died. Shit happens. But people didn’t scold people like that in the past. Slutting around and popping out babies with people anybody with a brain would realize were NOT good men to get knocked up by… That is being an idiot. And idiots deserve to be chastised for their idiocy.

        The whole single mothers are okay thing is a straight up lie. Both parents around is far and away the best, anything else is a shit show, although there is actually some evidence that single dads are better at it than single moms! FYI I was raised by my dad, but with a mom I still saw frequently when growing up.

        1. Sometimes the truth ain’t nice. Being nice all the time as a good unto itself is a bullshit premise. Single motherhood should not be encouraged for the same reason smoking crack shouldn’t be… They should both be LEGAL, but both should also be looked down on in most instances.

        2. Well, there isn’t so much stigma these days.

          I’m not going to pass judgement on people I don’t know. That’s pretty much my point. And stop subsidizing and celebrating questionable choices. I think that would fix most of it. If someone wants to have a child on their own AND can afford it, then it’s not for me to worry about.

          1. I’m not saying be a dick to any chick with a kid when you don’t see the dad around at the park… But when you KNOW the situation, and it was their fuck up, that shouldn’t be praised.

            Social shaming is a delicate, but powerful tool, in directing human actions in preferable directions. I am not in favor of laws against such things, but calling people out on their stupid prevents others from making the same mistakes.

            So does removing government subsidies on these bad behaviors. If somebody can afford it, that’s good! But it still doesn’t mean people should celebrate bringing a child into the world into a known sub optimal situation. Poor kids with both parents do better in life that rich kids from single parent households.

    3. Who forces a women to be a single mother? ( exceptions made for widows ).

      Umm, you forgot an exception for abandoned by their husbands. Other than that, there’s no force at all. It’s a free choice.

      Single mothers by choice are a cancer on society

      I can get you a good price in as ovens.
      In very good shape. Have not been used since the 1940s.

      1. In some quarters, you would be able to market them as never having been used.

        1. You win this exchange.
          But I cheer.

      2. “Abandoned by husbands” is fairly common. But still reflects poor choices in having kids with some dirtbag who runs off, or even divorces, but takes no responsibility for child support. And a great number of single women could still be helped, without making judgments, by churches and other charities. I’m familiar with one large church’s budget where their good work in hosting and sponsoring single mothers is still only a tiny fraction of the pastor’s annual compensation, not to mention the entire budget of the church. Pastor lives in a McMansion, has a pool, and drives an new Audi but still preaches the good Samaritan line to his congregation.

  17. So what if ridiculously high minimum wages encourage job cuts? We can just mandate employment, both staff numbers and hours. And if increased staff costs put upward pressure on retail prices? Price controls! And even if some prices discourage buyers, we can mandate consumer spending on the right products. Throw in some housing cost controls and prescribed living standards, and of course public transportation for all, and we will really have something.

    Who said we can’t micromanage the economy?

    1. Now you’ve got it; centralized planning! In five year increments!

  18. Jesus, this is insane. Until like 5 years ago, $33/hr was more than I’ve made in my life. Of course, I don’t live in New York. But I’ve been to New York and somehow people manage to survive under the current minimum wage regime.

    How do they imagine this is going to work? Do they think it’s just going to mean a $20 raise for everyone? Do they not see the problem with paying entry level workers the same as what a lot of actual skilled professionals make?

    1. From each according to his [her/xir] ability, to each according to his [her/xir] need. All of this is really just a play on/rephrasing of classic Marxism.

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  20. Someone should slyly ask Bellafante if she thinks Sweden has better public policies than the US. I bet she says yes!

    1. Given that Harry Belafonte is a hardcore communist who supports Cuba, Venzuela, and every other hellhole on earth, I think ‘yes’ is a foregone conclusion.

  21. It would put NYC off limits for workers who couldn’t make that much, businesses that couldn’t pay that much?which is at least a large fraction, maybe most of them! Low-to-moderate wage earners would have to reverse-commute to out of town, or become independent contractors; many services would become unavailable over the counter in town. You’d have businesses where the employees would have to travel outside NYC limits to clock in, then go back into NYC to do the actual work, so their official place of biz would be outside the city’s jurisdiction, & they’d waste those add’t, paid travel hrs. because it’d be less than paying the increase.

    In effect, it would price out everyone who was not a single ma of 2.

    1. Yup, this is exactly it.

      When we passed higher wages in Seattle and Washington state, it basically said “XYZ jobs can never be done here again!”

      Think call centers, low value manufacturing, millions of other moderate wage jobs. Basically it makes it so only jobs high enough in value where they would ALREADY be paying that (or very close) can exist here… AND service jobs that are captive to the local market. Like baristas.

      Those jobs might go down too, but since they’re captive and can’t leave the area, some may continue to exist if the other high wage earners decide to pay the increased costs for their coffee etc.

      It’s a ridiculous thing to do.

    2. Robert, how exactly would you “deport” all those employers and individuals from NYC, in your gulag?

  22. I don’t know when or why it happened, but moving has become a non-starter. There are so many idiots living in expensive cities complaining they don’t make enough when they could move to the midwest for better opportunities, but when you tell them this they become furious and entitled.

    1. Move and live with the fly-over deplorables? Are you nuts? Do they even sell artisanal mayonaisse in Topeka?

    2. I don’t know when or why it happened, but moving has become a non-starter.

      This isn’t entirely true. It’s only a problem moving away from statist regimes and only for people who’s skin is a certain color.

      Otherwise, Reason’s fairly clearly stated and oh-so-libertarian position is: If Rural Americans Are Being ‘Left Behind,’ Why Don’t They Just Move?”

    3. I finally decided to throw in the towel on Seattle a bit ago. I make 6 figures, and I don’t feel like I get anywhere close to what I should out of it here. So I’m out!

      If I was some guy who ONLY made $30-60K a year or something, I would have been out of here YEARS ago.

      People who have the attitude you describe are fucking insane. I know a lot of people like that. I’ve also noticed a trend with a lot of people I know finally coming to the same conclusion I have though. I have friends who have bailed for these reasons, and a lot more considering it. I think these recent run ups in trendy cities are about to lead to a mass exodus of both medium skilled workers AND high skilled people. There will probably be fresh idiots to replace them as we leave, but if it turns to a true net negative flow… It will be fun to watch these places real estate prices crash, etc.

      1. I left the DC area because it’s ridiculously expensive to live there and the traffic sucks. Yeah, there’s cool things to do, but who wants to sit in more traffic on the weekends to do them? Move to flyover country and live twice as well on half as much. I have a family so my free time would be spent on kid’s activities anyway, so I don’t miss anything there.

        1. Yup. And the ultimate thing too is that all the extra disposable income you end up with can actually be used to do MORE exotic stuff if you so choose.

          Living somewhere cheap you could potentially take an extra foreign vacation every year in exchange for not having access to 30 different ramen restaurants every day of the week. Is visiting Italy cooler than having your choice of 30 ramen places instead of only 3 or 5 in a smaller/less hip city? I think so.

          The place I’m planning on moving to has 3 ramen places, instead of the lord only knows how many Seattle has. But I still get ramen, AND I get a house for about 1/4 the cost. When Seattle was only about twice the cost of the average US home to live here, it was perhaps worth it… Now that it’s 3-4 times… Not so much.

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  24. How will this not lead to rampant inflation?

    1. If it was national it would! We’d end up EXACTLY where we started in terms of true purchasing power in no time.

      But being in a single area, or only a couple areas, it won’t cause national inflation… But rents and costs of many goods will skyrocket in NYC itself.

  25. Well, we should have known it was only a matter of time before some prog-derp morons suggested something this preposterous. When will it be $100K a year minimum wage I wonder? 2020 campaign season perhaps? LOL

    As I said above, this would push lower value jobs out of the city forever, leaving only jobs that already pay well above this, and service jobs that cannot be moved. It would be a total shit show.

  26. the goal is to enable a single parent with two school-age children there to meet his or her expenses.

    1. Why are you a single parent with two kids?

    2. Why are you still living in New York?

    1. Why are you a single parent with two kids?

      Another thing these people ignore is that a lot of the reason there are so many single parent families is that you get welfare when you have a kid you can’t afford. Almost looks like a trick to put the welfare burden on private employers. A poorly conceived trick.

  27. Facts, schmacts. Who cares?

  28. Huh. I used to think it was funny and effective when opponents of minimum wage laws used the reductio ad absurdum argument of, “Why not just make minimum wage $50 per hour?” I guess someone didn’t get the joke…

  29. Minimum wage hurts minorities more than anyone else here in this country.
    Maybe that’s why so many advocates of raising the minimum wage are for it because they’re closet racists.

    1. I like to think the best of people and believe they’re just stupid. Although at some point, being stupid is as bad or worse than being racist.

  30. if the goal is to enable a single parent with two school-age children there to meet his or her expenses

    How did we get the idea that this should be the goal of minimum wage? The goal of minimum wage should be to cover the minimum household, that is a single individual with zero dependents. If you want to earn more you have do exactly that: EARN it

    Raising the wage that high will encourage businesses to cut hours and hire more people. Why have one person work 40 hours a week, when I can hire 5 high school age teens for 8 hours each a week? I get the same amount of work, the teens are making good money by their standards, and are happy to only have to come in one or two days a week, I have options when one or more get sick or otherwise can’t come in. Its win-win-win for business owners and employment numbers, but the poor single parent has to deal with severely cut hours, or worse loses their job

  31. “…it’s not enough if the goal is to enable a single parent with two school-age children there to meet his or her expenses.”

    Don’t have kids out of wedlock when you have no skills and a minimum wage job?

    1. “Don’t have kids out of wedlock when you have no skills and a minimum wage job?”

      Whenever the SEIU’s paid demonstrators show up to help raise the SEIU wages (they are tied to M/W), they always provide a mother of 5 who hasn’t been promoted in 15 years as a tear-jerker interview.
      Mom, you shoulda’ got your tubes tied years ago.

  32. My wife came home from her weekly shopping to inform me that our local Walmart had just eliminated all staffed cashier stands and replaced them with self check-out, meaning that the customers scan and bag their own items, thus eliminating cashier and bagger positions. Note that Walmart has taken pride in announcing how it complies with and even exceeds our state’s (Californication) minimum wage standards. They do it so well that now they are putting people out of work.

    And BTW, lower levels of unemployment and lower poverty levels are both manipulated government statistics. If you don’t know that, spend some time outside of your gated communities and see for yourselves.

    And further BTW, while I have no problem in principle with lowering the top corporate tax rate, it is wishful thinking to say that this means “we can expect a sustained rise in wages resulting from a decrease in the corporate income tax rate?a tax cut that increases capital investment and productivity, and then wages”. That’s one of the “Big Ifs” the author started out talking about; corporations are ruled by boards of directors who are ruled by shareholders, who are interested by and large in only one thing: profits and dividends. So if this particular track suits the shareholders, that’s what the corporation will do with its tax cut; if not, it will do something else to please the shareholders. QED

  33. Common sense minimum wage compromise

    Recognize that, considering the alternate which is unemployment, the default minimum wage is, always has been, and always will be zero.

    Some want to raise the minimum wage to enough to support a family (currently asserted to be $15/hour).

    Others want a low minimum wage to allow young people with no experience or marketable skill to enter the work force.

    Perhaps a compromise is to provide a minimum wage, adjusted regularly according to inflation, but applicable only to people 26 years old and older.

    1. “Perhaps a compromise is to provide a minimum wage, adjusted regularly according to inflation, but applicable only to people 26 years old and older.”

      Great. So only people 26 or older lose their jobs. I’m sure they’ll be happy with your compromise (see immediately above).

      1. 1. Perhaps you now recognize that ANY minimum wage is a hinderence to employment.

        2. It gives people 8 more years to acquire a marketable skill that they should have acquired in high school.

  34. I have an idea — no waiting, could be done instantly: people in New York should refuse work that pays less than $33. No need to involve politics. Might result in an increase in demand for unemployment benefits, but at least it will raise the use of automation at fast food and other jobs, which eventually will lower the cost of products and services for consumers.
    I wish I knew why anyone thinks it’s a good idea to use politics to manage an economy. Why is it good to make it illegal to work for $3/hour, even if you live in your car and need gas money.

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