By Chris Rossini
Chris Christie, the Governor of the perennial blue state of NJ, is not someone who normally comes to mind when one thinks of free markets and liberty, but credit must be given when it's due.
This week, Christie vetoed a bill pushed by the NJ legislature for a $15 minimum wage. This was a heroic act that should please every poor, low-skilled individual in the Garden State. Their chances of gaining employment have been greatly increased.
Now if only the total elimination of the minimum wage were on the table...But alas, that day still lies in the future. For now, the cause of liberty and voluntary contracts can celebrate this token victory.
The government has no right to stick its nose in other people's business. Contracts should always be voluntarily made without a third-party bullying its way in and messing everything up.
When two people make a contract, it's between them. They're both making decisions that they believe will be to their benefit. Unfortunately, because of very sloppy economic thinking (or non- thinking) many people believe that government can "help" them by tilting the tables in their favor. Of course, government only ends up hurting those it purports to help.
With a $15 minimum wage law, a laborer without the skill set or ability to earn $15/hr would not be hired. In other words, the minimum wage is a law that creates forced unemployment. If you can't earn $15/hr, you've been outlawed from getting a job.
But what if you were willing to work for $10/hr and an employer was happy to pay you that amount? Tough luck. The NJ Legislature had different plans for you....unemployment.
How callous and cruel. The worst part about it is that (thanks to government schooling) the Legislature can count on getting high praise for their destructive act.
The truth is that the NJ Legislature can forcefully unemploy as many people as it wants with the arbitrary minimum wage law. What if they mandated a minimum wage of $50/hr? The result would be that an even larger group of people would be outlawed from finding work. Not only would the poor and low-skilled take the heat, but people who are more productive, better educated and have more skills.
Only have the skills to earn $25/hr? Tough luck. The minimum wage is $50/hr.
This doesn't happen because politicians care about their jobs. They don't want to ruffle too many feathers. They'll raise the minimum wage as long as it's just the poorest of the poor, the uneducated, teenagers, and the elderly who are the only victims. They're an easy target. Plus, once they can't find a job, they're most likely to go on the government dole and act as loyal voters to keep their "benefits" coming.
So politicians will "raise the wage," but only if the most vulnerable are the only victims.
Chris Christie gave the most vulnerable an ability to get a job. Some still won't get a job because the current minimum wage will continue to prohibit them. But Christie prevented a bad situation from getting worse.
For that single act, he deserves some praise.