Minimum wages goes up as opportunities dwindle
January 6, 2011 · 2:22 PM
Washington state employers woke up on Jan. 1 with one more reminder of just how unserious their political leadership in Olympia is about the whole concept of reviving the economy and creating jobs.
In this case, the evidence is the state’s minimum wage, which rose from $8.55 an hour to $8.67 — the highest rate in the nation — as of the first of the year.
Advocates of the hike would have you believe their actions are motiviated by compassion for those trying to earn a living — and perhaps even support a family — at the lowest end of the pay scale.
But anyone who’s spent more than 10 minutes in real life — in other words, the private sector — can see through that lie.
For openers, there’s nothing especially noble about dipping into someone else’s pocket to demonstrate your compassion.
But even more fundamentally, there’s the staggering economic illiteracy on display.
Unlike politicians, who generate revenue by confiscating it, employers actually have to earn every dollar they bring in — and limit every one that goes out.
Raising wages with the stroke of a pen does nothing for the income side of that equation, but it has a devastating impact on the expense side.
And for most employers, the answer is pretty simple: When they’re told that every employee they hire must cost more, they hire fewer of them.
In a recession, shouldn’t we be enacting policies that lead to more jobs, not fewer?
Here’s a thought: If you can simply legislate away poverty, why not raise the minimum wage to $100,000 a year so no one will be poor?
Because when you use big numbers, everyone can see how absurd your logic is, that’s why.
In politics, smaller lies are easier to sell.