I do not believe in the minimum wage, but this wasn’t always the case. When I was young and poor, I thought it sounded like a great idea. I read Milton Friedman and Walter Williams’ reasons why the minimum wage is not good for the economy as a whole, but more money in my pocket sounded good, and my little paycheck couldn’t matter much to the gigantic U.S. economy. Experience has an interesting way of teaching us, though, and much wisdom comes from dealing with consequences.
I grew up in a working class family and started my first official job as a teenager in a grocery store. I was making $3.10 an hour, $.60 more an hour than my previous job babysitting neighborhood kids. Only a couple weeks after I began working, the minimum wage was increased to $3.35 an hour, and I was thrilled. Other cashiers were secretly angry with me and it really didn’t dawn on me as to why I was drawing such ire. That was until I overheard other employees, who had all been there over a year and been through at least two evaluation cycles, complaining that they wouldn’t get a raise at all since they were already making $3.40 an hour. I felt bad about this, but I figured it was just their misfortune.
Unfortunately for me, their bad luck led to my own misfortune. The store had to cut back on the hours slotted for me, because of my pay increase. I ended up working less than the others, but my peers were still upset that I was making the same per hour and they were far more experienced than I.
The cashiers, who had been employed longer than I, were trying to work their way up the ladder. They thought they would be rewarded for their hard work and good evaluations. Suddenly, because of the minimum wage increase, the cashiers’ experience had become worth much less. The experience was as valuable as that of an expendable workforce – teenagers, whose hourly pay was the same as theirs.
My story is exemplified by the left’s rhetoric pertaining to a minimum wage increase. The Progressive Left would like people to believe that a minimum wage increase is warranted. However, this actually hinders the working class.
What Minimum Wage Does
- Hurts minority populations. According to the CATO Institute, “Overall, the empirical literature strongly supports minimum wage law critics: these laws hurt employment, especially for low-skilled, young, and minority male workers.”
- Hiking the minimum wage actually decreases money earned, according to the latest minimum wage study by the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington.
- Hiking the minimum wage kills jobs by increasing the likelihood of people being replaced by technology, exactly what happened when labor costs went up in three states for Wendy’s, the fast-food hamburger place. They installed “self-serve ordering kiosks in 1,000 of its restaurants” in 2017.
- Even a slight rise in the minimum wage can drive small businesses like medium rated restaurants out of business, as cited in the Harvard Business School study, Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit.
If the Left Understands That Minimum Wage Doesn’t Help, Then Why Do they Perpetuate This Lie?
In my view, the left is power hungry and wants to dictate how every American should live. In doing so, the left promotes control over education. They demonize private ownership of property and promote “wealth equality.” They glorify equality of outcome and chastise equality of opportunity. They like to incite class warfare, which ultimately keeps the poor in poverty. A society cannot successfully function when it habitually blames its problems on the rich. Therefore, they want to create a society that is totally dependant on the government. Thus, giving government absolute control. Which, in return, will create a society that sees Government as a provider in which it raises, supports, and buries them. This is exactly what John Dalberg-Acton emphasized in his statement, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The “Liberalism” has enslaved the populace in which they claim to have helped. The Left refuses to promote permanent change for its voters. Instead, they seek surface level change which does not impose lasting solutions. The end goal being a society in which the people are directly controlled by the government. After all, Vladimir Lenin stated that, “The goal of socialism is communism.” In the present, we are seeing a surge in the ideology of Fabian Socialism. This thought is the gradual progression toward communism by slowly taking away the rights of the people. Eventually lumping the citizens into the same dismal living conditions.
Why Do So Many People Think Minimum Wage is a Good Thing?
It sounds good. Most people in the United States want to help others that are in need. The problem lies within the means of solving this issue. The left seeks to forcibly take possessions away from one individual and give it to another. However, this violates our right to life, liberty, and property.
They need an antagonist. The left needs a scapegoat for their shortcomings and unfulfilled promises. They have demonized the right and their strict constructionist views. They seek to undermine the legitimacy of the right. which has been rather successful. This is due in part to the left’s indoctrination in the public schools, as well as, the left’s monopolization of the media. In doing so, they have created a barrier between the two schools of thought. The left has used its control of education to propitiate the idea that the right is full of hate-mongering, racist, out-of-touch, old men.
What If We Just Want to Help People Out of Poverty?
The problem lies within the question, “What if we just want to help people out of poverty?” The Liberals in charge don’t want to help people out of poverty. This would weaken their voting base and weaken the federal government’s control over the population that relies on their federal aid. The left wants to distribute the wealth; in doing so, they create a society in which the population is poverty stricken.
Fortunately, the United States is still the land of the free. We have not fully succumbed to the left’s socialist ideas. We have seen a resurgence in the original constitutional republic beliefs held by our Founding Fathers, instated to us in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This country is a melting pot, full of many different people and ideas. However, we must not fall into the socialist ideology of the left. No other people on earth have had so great an opportunity for wealth and prosperity and no greater opportunity can ever be squandered.
- CATO Institute. CATO Handbook for Policy Makers. https://www.cato.org/cato-handbook-policymakers/cato-handbook-policy-makers-8th-edition-2017/minimum-wage
- MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES, WAGES, AND LOW-WAGE EMPLOYMENT: EVIDENCE FROM SEATTLE. Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance University of Washington. https://evans.uw.edu/sites/default/files/NBER%20Working%20Paper.pdf
- Kessler, Sarah. March 3, 2017. ‘Wendy’s is responding to the rising minimum wage by replacing humans with robots’.https://qz.com/923442/wendys-is-responding-to-the-rising-minimum-wage-by-replacing-humans-with-robots/
- Luca, Dara Lee and Michael. April 2017. Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit. Harvard Business School. http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/MW_Exit_7a89f82f-b2fa-42f2-9a0e-f8a61e95b679.pdf