Thursday, June 22, 2006

PennLiberty: Minimum Wage Folly

The Patriot News posted the following article on the minimum wage.

Call me a cold-hearted Republican. Maybe I am, but frankly, I find all this talk about the minimum wage to be ridiculous.

I do not support an increase in the minimum wage. I don't support the existance of a minimum wage at all.

Wages are supposed to be determined by an agreement between the employer and the employee.

As a business owner, if I don't work my butt off, get clients, and earn money, guess what happens - I don't get any money - none. There is no minimum wage for employers. I know of many employers who scrape by and hold off on paying themselves, just to ensure that their employees get paid. These small business owners really do care about their employees, so they voluntarily go without paying themselves sometimes, in order to keep their employees on board. No government agency or rule forced them to do that. They know that their employees are invaluable to the survival of their businesses. Many would love to pay their employees more, but can't afford to. Many would love to pay for their employees' health care, but they can't afford to.

The minimum wage is one of the worst ideas that I can think of (ranks right up there with Social Security). Wages are not a government mandate, they are determined by the market - which always gives a fair wage.

Let's examine if the minimum wage was eliminated. Would some wages go down, sure in some cases. I suspect that in most cases, it wouldn't have any effect. I'll tell you what, having the minimum wage in place artifically holds down other wages. Why? Because if you have multiple employees you may not be able to pay all of the employees what they are worth for the job that they do. Simple jobs should be paid less, if people are willing to do them for less. But if you are forced to pay a higher wage for a lower value job, how can you pay a higher wage for a higher valued job?

Back to the whole idea of the minimum wage as a bad idea. Where does it say that government can determine how much a person should be paid? Why the arbitrary number that is chosen. If $5.15 an hour is too low, why is $7.15 the ideal amount - why not more? Why not ensure that everyone gets paid $50,000 a year? The fact remains that the minimum wage is an arbitrary number. The whole system is ridiculous. It's another example of government sticking its nose in an area it doesn't belong. Government has no business determining wages, just as it has no business determining what kind of health care people should have, how they save for retirement, and a whole host of other areas.

My hope is that the legislators who supposedly support small businesses get some backbone and tell the truth about this issue, instead of trying to look good and feel like they care.