MY WORD: Why the raising minimum wage won’t work

-A A +A

Recently someone left a clipped out episode of Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury cartoon in our mailbox.

I don’t know why.

I admit to looking at a few cartoons like Blondie, Dennis, Beatle Bailey hoping to find something amusing, and sometimes I do. I even occasionally look at Doonesbury to see if I can understand it. Never do. This episode is primarily a phone conversation between someone from the GOP and what I presume to be a PR firm.

The GOP guy says: “We need to prove that raising the minimum wage would hurt the economy.”


What’s to prove: It’s one of the simplest axioms in Economics: wage and benefit raises without offsetting increases in productivity equals inflation – that is price increase with no increase in value.

There is a more human side to this, too.

Everyone is looking for ways to reduce payroll because it’s the biggest expense for most businesses. Some food service companies are experimenting with an electronic device that allows customers to communicate their order to the kitchen.

You might be able to pay for it with that same device. Your name is called, you pick it up, clean up your own mess and you don’t have to talk to anyone, but I’d look at it as I didn’t get to talk with anyone.

Another human illustration is a family wanting to live the American dream. They rent space in an antique mall. They find that in order to survive, someone must be there seven days a week about 12 hours a day. Then they think they can probably afford to pay about $4 an hour for maybe 10 to 15 hours a week so they can get a little down time. Of course, they realize they must pay 50% of the social security tax, all of the workman’s compensation, unemployment tax and etc. And do all the paper work for the various agencies that monitor all this stuff – so it’s not $4.00 an hour. It’s more like $5 or $6.

There are probably millions of grandparents trying to live on social security who would love to get out of the house for a few hours and sit a chair, read a book and chat with a customer or passerby. But we won’t let them have that little extra to spoil the grandkids. How sad.

Incidentally, this minimum wage increase for someone who has to be trained at least a few months to do what you want – an absolute dead expense – is going to disgruntle those who are making the same and are being productive. I wouldn’t blame them. That’s why I want to abolish the Department of Labor.

Along this line, how about the National Labor Relations Board take over college athletics?

Maybe there would be some good to come from this. The most fun I ever had was playing intramural sports. No one other than the players cared who won – and some of them only looked forward to the keg party afterward. Problem is no one would pay to see it either.

I don’t know what we would do with all those empty stadiums and arenas or the huge debt on them. And then, of course the thousands of kids who would be denied a chance to a college degree. What in God’s name is happening to our world?

Stay tuned.

Bob Pearce is a retired business owner who lives in Shelbyville.