The Futility in Minimum Wage Hikes

 

                                       Warriors for Mediocrity

 


 

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Over the past few years, what at started out as an unlikely campaign to push minimum wage to a truly astonishing number seemed highly improbable; that is, until our thoughtlessly well-intentioned leftwing proponents were lent credence by mainstream media and political figures alike.  The media’s liberal bias can no longer be written off as conservative paranoia  – I believe Candy Crowley drove the final nail into that casket back in October 2012… To name one example from the countless many.

As many journalists, pundits, and writers continue their focus on TPA; GOP hypocrisy; Capitol Hill’s secret chambers; Marco Rubio’s Real Estate, driving record, and financial history – one liberal cause cé·lè·bre has achieved some major milestones with little or no fanfare. The $15 minimum wage hike is still a hot topic among our truly hopelessly uninformed, apparently lacking in even the most basic education in economic principles. $15 an hour?! I don’t require vast research to realize that demand is simply untenable, most of us don’t, yet we have elected officials in this country guilty of either abject ignorance, or accidental ignorance – for public officials, the type of ignorance is irrelevant.

Los Angeles has this month implemented plans to nearly double minimum wage from $9 per/hour to $15! I know many college students who’ve invested tens of thousands into their education only to get lucky for entry-level work above $15. Many aren’t that lucky. Besides the principle of the thing – that minimum wage has historically and always will be assigned to ENTRY-LEVEL jobs – these aren’t jobs for individuals commit to for life! There was a time that obvious fact was inherently known by everyone, now not only is a large amount of our citizenry seemingly unaware, but it’s actually necessary for rational Americans to explain this simple nature of things.

But I suspect it’s not truly necessary. I suspect the collective minimum wage demographic does know this, but in an age of such a shameless entitlement culture, this argument for the few who at least do SOMETHING has appeal. After all, everyone’s a sucker for that “hard luck story” – The single mother of 6 working full-time at McDonalds is stuck in a rut – she nets more annual income taking welfare, thus perpetuating mediocrity and welfare inheritance; or, she can continue to work herself to the bone for meager wages distributed by “shamefully rich” corporations who can surely afford to share some of that profit margin only made possible by the unmotivated, yet content with a lifetime of flipping burgers.

Economists and politicians alike have historically understood the fact minimum wage hikes actually hurt the very citizens the proposals “intend” to assist. The logic seems so simple it’s a wonder individuals of purported intellect might find themselves championing such a futile cause. Indeed, we know why they do it – they say all acts of kindness are inherently grounded in self-interest; and, no truer statement ever applied to the politician.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors at least hired an economist think-tank group – The Los Angeles Economic Development Corp – to study a report issued by the County’s Supervisory Board and to issue its findings – of course, after the City already enacted the wage increase.

What they found should be of no surprise to those with a degree of logic and common sense – The economists concluded that as a result of the already legislated wage-increase due to take effect gradually throughout this calendar year, “many prices will increase, including those that lower-income households commonly face; wages will rise for those in minimum wage jobs that remain employed; employment opportunities for those at the bottom of the skills ladder will be diminished” and “employment growth will slow.” Wow. What a shocker. I’m sure many of us are truly thrown aback.

These events have transpired as “leadership” across the country spoke out for what can only be understood as for the sake of appearances. Last month, President Obama seized upon fresh data from the Labor Department to argue for a higher minimum wage. According to the president and a subsequent Associated Press report, the 13 states that raised their minimum wages in January of this year are now enjoying, on average, faster job growth than the other 37 states.

First, people should acknowledge that this rather heated policy discussion is over a very small group of people. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are about 3.6 million workers at or below the minimum wage (you can be below legally under certain conditions). That is 2.5 percent of all workers and 1.5 percent of the population of potential workers. Within that small group, 31 percent are teenagers and 55 percent are 25 years old or younger. That leaves only about 1.1 percent of all workers over 25 and 0.8 percent of all Americans over 25 earning the minimum wage.

4.7 % of workers earn minimum wage – 43% of that number consisting of teenagers. A very small fraction of that number represents single heads of households; so, I’ve concluded, like so many other non-issues that make up the campaign platform of virtually all liberal politicians in this country. The “battle” for a minimum wage increase is not only economically irrational, it’s potential success would actually do more harm than good for the very same demographic this rhetoric aims to win over by manipulating and misleading it. Basic economic principle dictates higher wages for menial jobs means higher costs and less employment. The liberal politician either refuses to acknowledge reality or promotes this scheme solely for the political expediency; having utter disregard for the factual reality that, while the idea may seem as a genuine desire to benefit our poor, the result of such policy would do nothing but cause widespread negative economic impacts.

“Give America a raise”, says the the administration, most democrats, and the incurably unintelligible. We see Hillary Clinton jumping on board, echoing that popular fallback sentiment among the liberal crowds who, in their free time, frequent public parks en masse, often wearing Guy Fawkes masks, holding picket signs, and wearing T-shirts emblazoned with witty one-liners disparaging American values. Here, they lure eager media coverage into covering whichever trend or cause is all the rage at present, no matter how truly irrelevant or how small the minority of Americans might be affected by any successes associated with these causes. Has ‘Occupy Wall Street’ managed to define a mission yet? Or do they still just hate rich people? I digress.

“I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” ~ Ben Franklin on raising up our poor and destitute rather than enable an inescapable lifetime of mediocrity

 

Obama’s”Give America a Raise” is a fantastic applause line, more than likely conceived and written by some young speechwriter who not only knows how to deliver the coveted applause line, but is necessarily familiar with the demographics of the masses at each rally. Using this information, subtle tweaks are made intended to evoke a semblance of familiarity among the audience. Meanwhile President Obama also takes note of the demographic makeup where he soaks admiration and divine worship, carefully rehearsing the placement of syllable accents, chin/sky awareness, pronunciation; and, finally, which accent would apply to the impending audience.

The masses who are the products of an environment rich with utopian ideals; and, where “philanthropy”, by definition, is now too often more about the “philanthropist” (who also receives all the social benefits), than about the righteous act of philanthropy itself. This isn’t a new problem. Abraham Lincoln once famously argued “selfishness prompts all good deeds”. This theory has even been put to the test using scientific method, intent on proving a genetic disposition in humans to perform good deeds, even subconsciously, with selfish desires as the prime motivation.

It’s painful to observe such a vast majority of citizens who applaud a politician’s “empathy” for low-income, or minimum wage worker while failing to consider the ulterior motives perpetuating these agendas – most often “their votes” are all the motive our lost stewards are after. Those fighting for a $15 dollar minimum wage win populist support among a wide-range of demographics, many of whom support these bids either themselves stand to benefit; or, can be identified as your typical spoiled middle-class-upper-middle-class product of “white privilege” who considers their support in the same category as adopting several African and Micronesian children. Best of all, they get to feel better for themselves – they care.

This is the culture where an ever increasing number of citizens blindly admire and celebrate applause lines without considering the motives of the politician on the podium. As long as your opinion is aligned with Utopianism, you can do no wrong in the eyes of most in 21st century America. The logic, reason, rationale – not even the tenability of certain legislation matters in the slightest to some of the fiercest supporters of it. I know they lack shame and look ridiculous, but I can’t help but feel like minds are in disconcerting decline.

Let’s “give America a raise”. What kind of good and decent human being wouldn’t want to “give America a raise”? I disagree, not simply on account of potential economic factors, but because of the overall message that sends to the people. It tells our able-bodied, able-brained (benefit of the doubt), minimum wage work force that mediocrity is okay. It tells them that “entry level” positions should be paid a wage worth more than the value of the duties involved.

This promotes mediocrity and further sets the atmospheric tone of entitlement. The suggestion itself is unquestionably one made to benefit the speaker rather than the Americans who might actually benefit from such legislation. We are governed by individuals who care not for long-term outcomes; but, only for generating those applause lines and feigning enough “fairness” to lure voters to the booth.

Where are the leaders who are willing to stand up on national television and say the hard truths? Reminding people, of what should be the obvious fact, that entry level jobs are exactly that. Of course, there are exceptions; however, shouldn’t more leaders be stepping up and stating the obvious alternatives- always strive for better, never remain static, do not expect to be rewarded for failing to move forward. Anything less should be considered unacceptable. Minimum wage workers raising families should be inspired to do more, not expect higher pay with the brush of a pen.

We need a leader that will say the things that are hard to hear. Saying “let’s give America a raise”, or, “if you like your plan you can keep your plan” resonates well with the citizenry currently inhabiting the United States. It’s much easier to talk about helping poor people become less poor through generous legislation than by changing the public discourse and arousing some motivation for those with everything to gain.

It’s hard for someone with some common sense to get up on national television and say “those are ENTRY level jobs, you aren’t supposed to make a career washing dishes, obviously, the high paying jobs go to those who actually care about themselves, their families, and their communities”. Let’s instill patriotism and respect for our country and its foundation, built on the brutal labor of millions who came before you. Tell the nation that if you don’t want to make $7.10 an hour, then get up and do something about it! Go to school, join the military, read often, better yourselves.

It would be ideal if all mankind had proper health coverage and high wages; however, the stark reality is that most of the time the people working entry level are either “entering the workforce”, or they have accepted mediocrity as their life choice. That behavior is rewarded in this country; and, saying anything dissimilar to what sounds like righteous regard for our those who fundamentally lack ambition or accountability required to care for oneself is blasphemy. The fact the mainstream media has failed to inform Americans that only a meager 2% of minimum wage employees in this country speaks volumes on where their motivations lies.

Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers move above the minimum wage within one year, and the median raise for those workers is over 10 percent. With full-time minimum wage workers, the median first-year raise is almost 14 percent. Entry-level jobs are not lifelong dead-end jobs. These jobs allow Americans to establish a track record of work that creates opportunities for better paying jobs.

The scary part – it’s people with that mindset, that all labor should be regarded as equal… These are the people spawning at incredible rates, while people who actually make a decent living, or those too careful to start families prematurely, have reached historically low birth rates. So a cycle begins. A downward cycle.

Soon, every election will be judged only by the utopian minded individuals who believe the funding of a growing number of government “takers” comes solely from the pockets of the rich and the rich alone. Many refuse to accept the fact that these legislative and economic decisions affect everyone – including themselves. This country and our people are our own worst enemies, sadly. The truth and facts hurt sometimes, but give me truth that hurts so that I may recover over a lie to placate me. The truth always reveals itself; it’s up to us if we want to be blindsided or take our medicine now.

 


 

Hans Comprix is a marine veteran of the Global War on Terror (GWOT), having served on two combat deployments to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom I & II; and, a third overseas assignment in Central America. Hans is a freelance writer & writer-at-large at Intellectual Conservative, having previously contributed to ‘American Thinker’ and ‘Now it’s Dark’ magazine. He can be reached at hans.comprix@gmail.com
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