Why not a $100 minimum wage?

Unemployment Line - DepressionMarch 7, 2013

By John Seiler

The Daily Kos liberal Web site is running a $10.10 national minimum wage campaign:

“To the 113th Congress: 

“The minimum wage needs to keep up with the times, but today, it’s fallen behind, leaving too many working Americans in poverty. Please raise the minimum wage to $10.10 and index it to inflation so that minimum-wage workers won’t have to wait years for a raise.”

And you can sign your name to a petition for it. That amount is above the $9.00 minimum wage President Obama is seeking.

Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour; California’s state minimum wage is $8.00, although there are moves to increase that. And San Francisco imposes $10.55, the highest in the nation.

From the federal $7.25 minimum wage to $10.10 would be a 39 percent pay increase. Who wouldn’t want a 39 percent pay boost?

Well, if we have “too many working Americans in poverty” who have “to wait years for a raise,” why don’t we just increase the minimum wage to $100 an hour? People really could do well on that. It works out to $208,000 a year, about what you need to join the middle-class in high-priced California. People on welfare rolls would be attracted back to the work force. Welfare payments would drop almost to zero. Federal, state and local budgets, no longer having to pay for welfare, would run up surpluses that could be used to fund other great new government programs.

Of course, today only about 5 percent of workers make $208,000 a year. Mandating a $100-an-hour minimum wage would mean 95 percent unemployment.

But raising the minimum wage to $10.10 also would cause unemployment. Businesses would just kill millions of jobs, replacing the fired workers with foreign labor and machines — or just go out of business.

A $10.10 federal minimum wage would put the whole country on the level of San Francisco’s $10.15.  But the whole country is not like SF. In the incredibly expensive City by the Bay, if you can make only $10.15 an hour, you should leave.

To expect low-wage, low-cost Mississippi and Alabama to pay the same minimum wage as S.F. is absurd. I checked Zillow.com. In San Francisco today, the median house price is $763,000.

San Francisco median house price March 7, 2013

But in Tuscaloosa, Ala., a nice college town with the University of Alabama, the median price is just $139,000. That’s less than one-fifth as much.

Tuscaloosa, Ala, median home price, March 7, 2013

Imposing a San Francisco-level minimum wage on Alabama would devastate the state, boosting unemployment to painful levels.

Hurting youth

Especially hurt would be black teenagers across the country. According to economist Walter Williams:

“With each increase in the minimum wage, black teen unemployment rose relative to whites and teen unemployment rose relative to adult. Why? Put yourself in the place of an employer and ask: If I must pay to whomever I hire $7.25 an hour, plus mandated fringes such as Social Security, vacation, health insurance, unemployment insurance, does it pay me to hire a worker who is so unfortunate so as to have a skill level that allows him to contribute only $5 worth of value an hour? Most employers would view hiring such a person a losing economic proposition.

“Therefore, the primary effect of a minimum wage law is that of discrimination against the employment of low-skilled workers.

 “Teenagers tend to be low skilled. They lack the experience, knowledge and maturity of adults. That means they will be the primary victims of a minimum wage law. But why are black teens more heavily impacted than white teens? Black teens are far more likely to come from broken homes and attend some of the worst schools in the nation. Therefore, a law that discriminates against the employment of low-skilled workers will have a greater impact on black workers. Moreover, the minimum wage subsidizes racial discrimination. After all, if you must pay $7.25 an hour to whomever you hire, you might as well hire people you like the most, even if they are of identical skill.

“The little bit of money a kid could earn after school and on the weekends is not nearly as important as the other benefits from early work experiences. Any kind of job, paying any wage, teaches a youngster that he must be on time, respect supervisors, develop good work habits, plus there’s the self-esteem and pride that comes from being at least financially semi-independent. Early work experiences benefit any kid but are far more important for kids from broken homes, who reside in crime-ridden neighborhoods and attend rotten schools. If they are to learn anything that will make them a more valuable employee in the future, it will have to come from work; they won’t learn it at home or in the schools. For Congress to enact higher and higher minimum wages, to benefit their union supporters, is shameful and cruel.”

Unions like the minimum wage because it destroys lower-cost competition.

Far from “helping” the poor, as the Daily Kos, Obama and many others maintain, increasing the minimum wage would destroy their jobs. More of the poor, instead of enjoying the dignity of a job, would go on the welfare rolls, increasing the cost to taxpayers.

The minimum wage is a perfect leftist program: It destroys jobs and lives while increasing government.


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  1. Hondo
    Hondo 7 March, 2013, 10:10

    Why is Obama importing millions of legal and illegal dirt poor 3rd world refugees to take the jobs of young black men. Fast food jobs were a starting point for many in my generation. McDonalds, Burger King, ect, were a starting, short time job for so many young people in Amerika. Now at Burger King you see middle aged Mexicans Ladies who rarely speak english,( bless their hearts for at least working) working there for decades. They refuse to learn english and are perfectly happy to stay at their position for years. I know, I’ve worked with them.
    At Home Depot I pushed shopping carts as my first job there with several Mexicans who were hard working family men. Great guys. I went to cashier collage and moved up the ladder and into an inside cashier job where my high school spanish was greatly needed. I have since moved on to another career but, 10 years later, when I go to the same Home Depot, I see the same guys pushing shopping carts outside in the 100 degree summer weather. God knows, they are hard workers, but if they tried just a little to master english, they could get inside, better paying jobs. I don’t know why they won’t learn english. They aren’t lazy.
    But they are taking good paying jobs from young black men who need a first job. Jobs that were meant to be short term, entry level jobs for young people, are being held down for a decade or more by aliens. That is where Chicago comes in. I think that is part of the crime problem. There are no jobs for young americans anymore. We are importing people to take our youth’s jobs.

    Reply this comment
  2. us citizen
    us citizen 7 March, 2013, 11:40

    If you raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to whatever……..then you have to raise the $10 an hr person, the $20 hr per person all the way up the line…..otherwise this knocks everyone else down to a lower level pay scale. Which is not right because they have earned their way up the ladder. This then adds to the cost of the service or product for everyone……so exactly how does this benefit anyone! There are meant to be jobs that are for entrance level and for part timers. If you havent moved on after a while, then it is your problem, not the employers.

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  3. doug
    doug 7 March, 2013, 13:14

    personal drive to move up comes from within a person.
    you cannot give it someone expecting them to thrive and be successful.
    you cannot buy it. granted you may get inspired and motivated, but you still have to follow through with your goal.
    just like how some homeless people choose to be homeless, yet San Fran is now going to be offering them free cell phones.

    the road to hell is paved with the best intentions.

    Reply this comment
  4. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 7 March, 2013, 17:39

    In the United States, the federal minimum wage was specifically targeted at ensuring the working poor a wage level above minimum poverty assistance programs then available in the 1930’s. It was also designed to drive low tech, sweatshop factories out of business, particularly in the South where such operations made the modern factory conditions of China, Cambodia, and Indonesia look like a NASA laboratory.

    Opponents of the minimum wage are always going to cite the low wages paid in other countries as economic competition we should somehow participate in here. The problem with that approach is that third-world scale wages won’t feed or house a person, much less a family, in this country. If you really believe the best social program is a job, that approach only works if the jobs available pay wages that will feed and house their workers. The minimum wage moves us in that direction, even if it is an imperfect tool.

    Reply this comment
  5. Aubrey
    Aubrey 28 March, 2013, 23:40

    ^^^^^^ That. Just like the original inventor of monopoly explained to his children. Rent is too high and wages too low. There doesn’t seem to be a sensible middle ground between plain rent and full equity anywhere I can find. The principals of basic human decency which were in practice and the legitimate opposition to most unions and a minimum wage efforts are eroded today. Whatever you can convince someone to do for you, irregardless of whether their family will be okay, irregardless of whether you’ve got a marriageable proposal is considered morally justified by the majority of the powers that be. It’s a part of the professional lexicon and it isn’t earnestly working out for too many. In some cases, it’s that wages are too low. Non-productive “tasking” is abound without real growth. On the other hand, some professions have become slushy and lush where they ought not so be. Real estate agents are a prime example of adding perceived value and extracting maximum currency from contracts for things that haven’t actually been increased or have conversely, in some clearly sensible cases, actually depreciated. Labor in America does not starve because the various taxes are too high. They starve a. because there is no food. (Great depression, WWII rationing) b. because there aren’t jobs (great depression/recent financial debacle). Capitalists may say the same of capital. Businesses don’t starve because there aren’t services to provide and things to produce. They “starve” because they can’t find new markets for working models (saturation), or because innovators on a cashflow (rent) basis, are unable to build capital to grow new ideas into free markets.

    Reply this comment
  6. Eric S. Harris
    Eric S. Harris 30 June, 2013, 06:54

    Hondo: Importing people into the United States became illegal in 1808, as soon as such a ban was permitted by the U.S. Constitution. Either you don’t know what “importing” means, or your thinking is very sloppy, or your ability to express what you have thought is very very bad.

    Regardless of the reason for your misstatement, it puts the rest of what you wrote in doubt. How badly you screwed up the rest of your post I don’t know, as I quit reading once it became clear you had nothing worth reading in it. That took one sentence.

    Yes, I am being harsh. It appears you need to be told in no uncertain terms you’ve got a lot of work to do.

    I hope you find someone who can help you with that work, someone with more patience than me. Good luck.

    Reply this comment

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