By Chris Rossini
In a recent essay, former Clinton Administration official Robert Reich pushes for a $15 minimum wage while trying to disguise the blatant use of government force as "moral".
There is nothing moral about using government to bully individuals who are attempting to make an employment contract. Only when both employer and employee voluntarily agree (without outside force) to the terms of a contract, can it be considered moral.
Both parties agree to the terms. Both have the freedom to reject the terms. Both believe that they're better off by accepting them. And most importantly, both keep their hands to themselves! Neither uses the government as a billy club against the other.
The moment that government arrives on the scene, one party looks to benefit at the expense of the other. Government, by instituting a minimum wage, harms the very people that it purports to be helping. The minimum wage does nothing but outlaw employment below a certain wage.
So if the minimum wage is $10/hr, it means that all individuals without the skills to earn $10/hr are forced into unemployment. They cannot get a job (by law) even if they are ready and willing to work.
If government raises the minimum to $15/hr, the squeeze is put on even more. Now, even if you really want to work, but only have the skills to earn $10, or $9, or $8/hr, you're out of luck. Even if employers would have gladly paid you, government had different plans for you....unemployment.
Reich understands that the minimum wage wipes out jobs, but doesn't seem to care:
...maybe some jobs are worth risking if a strong moral case can be made for a $15 minimum.
So all the jobs that would exist right now, were there no minimum wage, are "worth risking" in this professor's view. In his eyes, it's better from a "moral" standpoint that those individuals stay at home and collect their government check.
Here's is Reich's "moral case" by the way:
That moral case is that no one should be working full time and still remain in poverty.
That argument is about as arbitrary as the minimum wage itself. Poverty is subjective despite what government (that wants people to depend upon it) may say. In fact, a great piece at the Mises Institute points out that what is considered "poor" in the U.S. is considered middle class in other parts of the world.
When government creates its definition of "poverty," it's really just creating an excuse for it to meddle in our lives. It must always be remembered that government creates nothing. It cannot, by its very nature, alleviate poverty. It can, however, exacerbate poverty. It's very good at doing that.
The value of hours worked is subjective as well. The words "full-time" are a government-concocted term. They're part of the central planners lexicon. What matters as an employee is the value of your skill set and your productivity, not the amount of hours that you work. You're not paid for "hours".
Taylor Swift is on pace to earn $365 million this year (despite a supposed "gender pay gap"). The amount of hours that she works is insignificant. The demand for her skills and her productivity set her pay scale.
If more individuals are working harder than ever but are not advancing and becoming wealthier, the solution is not to raise an arbitrary minimum wage. It's not to use government force. That would be immoral, and would not solve the problem. The situation would only be made worse.
Instead, everyone would be wise to look closely at the monetary unit. Something must be happening to the money. Someone must be manipulating the purchasing power. In America, as all fans of Ron Paul are well aware, that's exactly what has been going on over the last 100 years. There is an institution that centrally plans the economy by manipulating the money supply and interest rates.
The Federal Reserve is the source of the purchasing power problem. It's destroying the money.
The moral solution would be to abolish the Federal Reserve.