Saturday, January 19, 2008

On Minimum wage

Congress is always looking for a feel-good issue to gather votes. It should be something that costs them nothing, sounds like they care, and fools the people into thinking some benefit will come of it. If some does, all the better; if it doesn't, so what. Minimum wage is such an issue.

Minimum wage is the only wage with a name rather than a number. It represents what you get if you bring NO experience, no work history, no work ethic, no education to an employer. If you earn minimum wage, the odds are that you are overpaid. If you earn it, it means that your employer would if he could, pay you less. He pays others more, why not you?
Raising the minimum wage only changes the numbers. For a while it pulls everyone else's wages down until they can get the spread back up to where it belongs. And that pulls the prices of everything else up to a new number where the ratio is the same as it was before we began, just a number we are unfamiliar with. The person who was earning the minimum wage? Oh, he is still earning the only payroll grade with a name. The bottom will always be the bottom.
Oh, by the way, even illegal aliens make more than the minimum wage - far more. If you earn the minimum wage you might think about why you aren't worth anything, rather than expect the government to make you more valuable to an employer. The Government can make you more expensive to an employer. It cannot make you more valuable.

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