It seems the majority in the US House of Representatives slept through elementary-school economics. The House on Friday passed a bill that would gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, passing almost entirely along party lines. If the bill were taken up and passed by The Senate, it would fall into the hands of President Trump, who has already made it clear that he would veto the bill; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already made it clear, as well, that he will not take the bill up in The Senate. This likely means the bill has no chance of becoming law any time soon. If Trump is not bluffing, however – and who knows if he is? – this would present at least one line of imperative to vote for the incumbent in 2020. Let’s not kid ourselves on what this is: governmental control over the means of production; telling employers and employees they may not engage in an otherwise entirely mutually consensual transaction. I’ve done a series of videos on the potentially disastrous effects of interference with mutually consensual transactions – excuse the poor production quality), but, apparently, we need to dumb this down even further, because the bill begs a number of questions the left never seems to have an answer to: 1. What is the number $15 based on, and why has that specific number remained unchanged for years despite the ever-declining value of the dollar? 2. If this really is appropriate today, why not make it $15 today, rather than instituting the policy in gradation?
3. Do you promise to never, ever again suggest raising the minimum wage once it reaches $15 an hour? 4. If minimum wage raises are a universal good – thus having value intrinsic – why stop at $15 an hour? Why not make the minimum wage $15 million an hour?
The honest answers are obvious, but I insist that anyone who is in support of the bill and reads this respond with straight-forward answers to these four questions. As a sign of good faith – and an indicator that if I can do it, so can you! – I’ll answer them myself in as straight-forward a manner as possible.
1. What is the $15 based on, and why has that specific number remained unchanged for years despite the ever-declining value of the dollar?
It’s not based on anything other than convenience of sloganeering (because $12.39 is harder to chant than “fifteen”), and it’s remained unchanged because of its entirely arbitrary nature; things that are arbitrary are – by definition – not subject to principle, which means as the conditions surrounding the principle change, you can change the “underlying principle” to meet the conditions rather than the other way around to continue to draw the same conclusion (in this case, a $15 an hour minimum wage). The claim that it represents a “liveable wage” is – in many cases – plainly not true by any standard we might associate with “comfort” or “surety”, and the counter-claim that it’s not supposed to represent a “liveable wage” is a self-defeating argument (then why not just leave it where it was in the first place?). And, no, it’s not “a step in the right direction” or “a little help at least” as it will lower everyone’s wages that are below $15 an hour to $0 an hour unless they can prove their productivity is equal to at least that amount (which they haven’t, or else they’d already be making that amount). It’s too bad, too, because the employer would rather have the cheap labor and employ human beings than fire everyone and replace them with robots, and this is self-evident, as he would have done so already if this were not the case.
2. If this really is appropriate today, why not make it $15 today, rather than a progressive increase over the next 6 years?
Because they know that businesses will collapse and that millions of people will see their wages plummet to $0 an hour, so you need the market to “get used to” each graduated step…until the final step has been watered down to a point where it is worth less than the previous minimum wage and effectively supplants it. The funny thing is, the biggest proponents of “15 Now” actually agree on this matter and – and I wish I could explain why – can’t then come to the self-evident conclusion that it will, in the long run, be meaningless. 3. Do you promise to never, ever again suggest raising the minimum wage once it reaches $15 an hour? They will make that promise, and then, in a few years, they will come back for more. See my answer to the previous question. If you raise the barrier to entry (I know, ECON101 term, folks) to a point where huge swaths of otherwise willing workers can no longer enter the market, then the only people who can enter the market at $15 an hour are the ones producing at the lowest possible level. Remember, folks, if you create a price floor, then prices for corresponding goods will necessarily respond in kind, so, eventually, you will not even be able to feed yourself on $15 an hour, and we will be right back where we started. Mark. My. Word.
4. If minimum wage raises are a universal good – thus having value intrinsic – why stop at $15 an hour? Why not make the minimum wage $15 million an hour? Because that’s a preposterous idea which would instantly bankrupt the entire US economy and put all but a handful of people and businesses out of work entirely. Again, there is agreement on both sides of the aisle on this matter. But the principled argument is that arbitrary price floors on labor create barriers to entry for huge swaths of otherwise willing workers, and precludes businesses – who would be happy to employ them – from hiring them. The thing is, until the idea is taken to its logical end in asking question 4, you won’t be able to force the hand of the economically illiterate, and reveal them to either be entirely disingenuous or embarrassingly economically illiterate. And the issue plainly won’t die until they are forced to answer to the public for this specific question. And there is exactly one, sure-fire way to get that to happen: Mitch McConnell should propose a $15 million an hour minimum wage on the Senate floor, and he should argue for it in as honest a tone as he can using the arguments of the left. The effects of the proposal would be multi-faceted: 1. Most importantly, the bill would be killed regardless of which way the left wants to handle this, because zero Republicans would vote for something so facially preposterous (though I’m already drooling over the thought of Mike Lee’s comments on bill on the Senate Floor). 2. Any Senator that votes for the bill would instantly be out-ed – even by the insane left – as lacking the mental faculties to perform their duty, and their vote would be a campaign-killer in their next run for office. Say what you will, but there’s no way even Democratic voters won’t see through this idiocy. 3. Any Senator that votes against the bill – or even abstains in any way from voting on the bill – will reveal in a painfully obvious manner just how disingenuous they are on this matter to even their own voters. 4. The conversation in the public will be had, and the left will be forced to reveal their hand and actually establish a principled politic on the matter.
The final thing it would do – and this is probably not something to be proud of – is create a laughable comedy of farce that I, personally, would eat up all day, everyday. This is not the purpose of even what I’m proposing necessarily, and that is why I have not itemized it, though it ought to be admitted to for the sake of total honesty on the matter.
And that is what we need; honesty on the matter, which will not reveal itself until the left’s argument is taken seriously and to its logical end. So let’s do just that for them, and for the sake of the financial solvency of our society at large. Lead the way, Mitch. The ball is now in your court.