Saturday, January 18, 2014

This is why we need a minimum wage hike

Matt Walsh Writes:

The Argument for Obama’s $10.10 Minimum Wage Hike, Explained in Dialogue Form: With translation, into reality, in red.

Worker: “Hi, I’d like to work for you.”  Hi. I don't want to work for you and I am overqualified for this position, but I'm really desperate for a job.

Employer: “Sorry, the government says we have to pay everyone at least 10.10 an hour. We don’t have any money in our budget to hire more workers at that rate.” Sorry, the government says we have to pay everyone at least 10.10 an hour. We are huge dicks and don't want to lose even a fraction of our massive massive profits*, so we are going to punish you and your government by refusing to hire anyone else. (You should have been content to work for $6 an hour, even though you would have compromised your health and safety and required government assistance to survive.) Suck it.

Worker: “Well, I still need a job. I’ll gladly work for 6 dollars an hour. Deal?” Well, I may have been tempted by a $6 an hour job for the short term, but I guess that would have trapped me in a never-ending cycle of poverty.

Government: “Hold on! You can’t do that. You’re not allowed to sell your services for less than 10.10 an hour!” It is our job to ensure that employers are not taking advantage of economic circumstances to destroy the physical, emotional, and mental vitality of its workers, for personal profit. Like back in the day when workers were forced to work 18 hour days without breaks and inhale toxic substances, ultimately dying around age 20. The workers were willing to do it because they were desperate, but it was not good for society.

Worker: “But… I’d rather make under 10.10 than be unemployed. Why can’t I enter into a private employment contract with this establishment if we both feel that the arrangement benefits us? We are both consenting parties, aren’t we?” Boy, that's right government. The relationship between me and my employer is more than just a private contract. It is conditioned and defined by broader societal circumstances and it directly impacts those societal circumstances as well. Plus, I am not on an equal footing with the employer, as the concept of the contract entails; the employer has much more leverage and agency than I do.

Government: “Because that isn’t fair.”  Right. This is not about individuals. It is about ensuring that the general upward redistribution of wealth does not completely destroy society.

Employer: ”Excuse me, but I’d like to have a say in this conversa-” Excuse me, but I'd like to have a say in this conversation. It's true that certain general societal conditions have to be preserved in order for my business to function... but sometimes, when I really think about all the gobs and gobs of money I could have, I just don't care.

Government: “Enough out of you, business owner! This is between me and the worker.”  In fact, I am you, Employer. I am, for the most part, the contentiously arranged compromises between you and your peers, in an effort to ensure that society is left somewhat intact so you can continue to plunder everything.

Employer: ”Actually, I really think you have nothing to do with-” I KNOW. I am part of you. But sometimes I just hate compromise.

Government: “FAIRNESS! We are decreeing a minimum amount that all people must be paid, regardless of the financial realities of an individual business, and regardless of the actual measurable worth a particular worker represents. If a worker wants to work for less rather than not work at all, we won’t allow it. We are doing this because of fairness and freedom. WHAT DON’T YOU PEOPLE UNDERSTAND ABOUT THIS?”  To be honest, Employer, the objective value of labor is presently greater than 10.10 an hour, so we're still allowing you to get more than you're paying for. We just want to make sure your actions don't completely destroy society.

Worker: ”Well, if I can’t work than I guess I’ll have to start selling my stuff. Anybody want to buy my TV for 100 dollars?”

Buyer: “Awesome! I’ll take it!”

Government: “WAIT! You aren’t selling that thing for less than 200 dollars. This is for your sake. You deserve 200 dollars for that TV.”
[NOTE: I am honestly confused about this part. Is this supposed to be an allegory for minimum wage, holding a human being equivalent to an inanimate object? There are so many reasons why this doesn't work.]

Worker: “But nobody will buy it for that much and I really don’t think it’s worth 200 dollars…”

Government: ”Look, just take some of this welfare until a high paying job falls out of the sky and lands on you like an Asteroid of Fairness from the Kumbaya Galaxy.”  Well, since Employer is being such a turd, I can give you a piddly amount of welfare. It's not much, so hopefully you'll be able to find a job soon.

Taxpayers: “Hang on, we can’t afford to finance any more entitlements! We’re barely making ends meet as it is!” Hang on, i dont want my money goin to one a them bum mexican illegal welfare queens. this upsets me soooo much more then the money spent on useless wars and corporate subsidies and all a that lost in the caymans. im also real upset that obama is a secret socialst muslim and hes taking my guns away. squirrelL!!!

Government: ”Well, you’ll have to get a second job to compensate for the financial burden of a trillion dollar Nanny State.”  Well, if Worker was being paid $6 an hour, Worker would still be on welfare, and welfare probably still wouldn't be enough for basic survival. But just allowing everyone like Worker to starve to death would not be good for society (even from a purely economic standpoint). If Worker's only options are to be unemployed, or to not make enough money to live on... maybe there is something fundamentally wrong with our society, which we should be giving more thought to, instead of repeating the same vacuous arguments and cliches over and over.

Taxpayers: “Fine. Hi, employer, I’d like to work for you.”  Fine. Hi, employer, I'd like you to contribute more of your share to social welfare.

Employer: “Sorry, can’t afford to hire more workers at 10.10 an hour.”  Sorry, if I only took home 1 million a year rather than 2 million a year, well then... why work at all? What advantage would there be to working hard and making a million dollars rather than sitting on the couch and getting food stamps? I see none.

Taxpayers: “Alright, this is a supplemental income anyway. I’ll work for less. How ’bout 7 dollars an hour? Deal?”  Well that is pretty stupid. A million dollars is still more money than most people would know what to do with - probably even you. You will probably leave behind a shit ton of money when you die. Having an extra million is really worth seeing people rot on the streets and starve to death? And aren't you able to make your 2 million in the first place precisely because you are not paying your workers enough to take care of themselves? Aren't you creating the problem, and then letting us all spend our tax money to address it?

Government: “WAIT.” Upward wealth redistribution is really reaching unsustainable levels. It's threatening to destroy society. But, I am the ragged compromises of the self-interested employers, and survey says... the wealthiest will NOT contribute more to society.
*Here's an example. In 2013, Walmart threatened to move out of DC if the minimum wage was raised to a living wage. However, if Walmart were to pay, in the form of increased wages, for everything that its workers receive by way of government assistance (i.e. actually pay its workers enough to live, rather than have the government do it), that would be about $6.8 billion per year in total ($1.7 million per store). That would only leave them with about $27 billion per year in profits. Which would only be 5 times as much as its most successful competitor.  And therefore they would no longer have any incentive to stay in business. And society would fall apart.

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