Dazzling Knowledge

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Uncommon Sense on minimum wage laws

The Senate is debating an increase in the federal minimum wage, and I want to weigh in. This can be a somewhat complex topic, and I do not wish to give a comprehensive account of the issue or my opinions on it right now. For some background, I’d recommend starting here and here. For now, I just want to address the silly contemporary idea that the minimum wage rate should somehow be linked to the wages of legislators.
I’ll say off the bat that I have no love of pay raises for our representatives in D. C., but there are good reasons that minimum wage laws should have nothing to do with the salaries of legislators. Here are just three.

1) When legislators vote on their pay, they are not voting to take away the rights of business owners. Minimum wage laws do restrict the freedoms of business owners to freely enter into contracts with prospective employees.

2) When legislators vote on their pay, they are not interfering with market forces. Without getting into creative ideas, there is no way to subject the salaries of legislators to the market. They are only accountable to the President, who can veto a pay raise, and to their constituents, who can hold them accountable if they feel that the pay raise is unjust. Raising the federal minimum wage can interfere with the market, possibly resulting in all manner of unintended consequences, including increased unemployment, and poorer working conditions for minimum wage earners.

3) Since the number of legislators is set, raising the salary of legislators cannot adversely affect the employment rate of legislators. To be fair, if an increase in the salary of legislators did have the potential to result in some of them losing their jobs, I’d be compelled to consider the idea.

So, if you want to argue for raising the federal minimum wage, please give me something more than this stupid rhetorical device. Plus, here’s a compromise solution: Raise the minimum wage on the condition that all legislators in D. C. have that become their new salary.


Blogger just like gene and roy said...

My reflex reaction to talk of raising the national minimum wage is-go a head give it to them, its been ten years. Having said that, I am endlessly annoyed at most folks reasoning for raising it.
Minimum wage work is not supposed to really provide a "living wage." It is not the wage of bread winners.
I always hear the argument that one cannot sustain or feed a family on our current minimum wage. That is the problem! No one was ever supposed to thrive or raise children on the American "minimum wage."

The minimum wage laws were never constructed to place a price tag on what the minimum individual needs to thrive. Rather, it was designed to put a price tag on what is JUST above insulting as determined by market forces.

This is the pre-set wage of the unskilled worker. As we know, there are numerous social programs to help people acquire skills and education. I think minimum wage jobs should be a temporary means to an end.

3:04 AM  
Blogger Chamomiles Davis said...

Minimum wage is an outrage. Personally I think we should reinstate slavery for anyone who does not hold a college degree. Am I kidding? Am I?

Vote Republican. Kisses!

9:05 AM  

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