In a Pig’s Eye

The president’s Twitter account recently sent out this small dribbly contribution to the oceans of illiteracy that already exist out there. What’s another half pint?

Here’s how to improve our economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs: #RaiseTheWage. http://OFA.BO/tXMYUq  pic.twitter.com/UDTcTSaqZJ

So here’s the comeback, and I must say that it is hard to type and snort at the same time.

So why don’t we just raise the minimum wage to a hundred dollars an hour and make everybody well off? Or, while we are in this compassion groove, why don’t we make it a hundred dollars a minute and make everybody fabulously wealthy? To reply that employers don’t have that kind of money to spare is to betray a churlish spirit, and is frankly unworthy of you. Why should we allow a detail like “not having the money” stand between us and the right thing to do?

But be a man. Run the thought experiment anyway. Do this in order to throw in high relief what is actually happening every time we raise the minimum wage. If minimum wage levels “create jobs,” as the president’s infographic would have it, why in the world is he stopping at ten bucks an hour?

I will tell you what happens every time you raise the minimum wage. If you raised it to one hundred dollars a minute, virtually everyone in the world would see that you were doing it, and what a disaster you were being. But if you raise it to ten dollars an hour, you would be doing it in that passive aggressive way of yours with plenty of deniability if the consequences of your lunacy ever become too apparent.

Have I told you what happens every time you raise the minimum wage? You are raising the costs of legal labor. That is what you are doing. Whenever you raise the price of something, you are pricing somebody, in this case employers, out of the market. When you raise the minimum wage to one hundred dollars a minute, you throw absolutely everybody out of a job, pricing all employers out of the market, and everybody sees that it was you. But if you raise it to ten dollars an hour, the only people you price out of a job are black teenagers, who have no lobbyists representing them, and so the progressive stealth campaign against blacks proceeds on, unimpeded.

So somebody raised the price of legal labor. But if you are an employer who needs labor in order to function, you have three options before you. You can hire illegal labor at the true market rates, you can reduce your labor force via layoffs, or you can refuse to grow your force through refusing new hires.

Create new jobs? In a pig’s eye.

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Rob Howard
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Rob Howard

I sort of feel like “infographic” should have been in quotes too.

Robert
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Robert

And of course, hiring illegal labor is a sin which adds more problems to the equation

Eric Stampher
Guest
Eric Stampher

It’s a sin because the the mafia politicians say so?

Robert
Guest
Robert

You do have a biblical obligation to pay your taxes even if you think they are too high. One of the chief reasons that people hire illegals is to avoid employer taxes. Legalizing them won’t change anything. You legalize this batch, employers will just fire them and hire the next illegal, whether they are from Mexico, Dominican Republic, Bangladesh, China, wherever., just like they did after ’87. Those employers have NO INTENTION of paying their taxes. Even if there were no minimum wage, this would still be a major issue. There are other sin related things about this, but this… Read more »

Jeff
Guest

Robert, does not the same argument apply to taxes as has been against the ‘living wage’ above? Is 15% too high?How about 25%? 50%? 90% Why not just have our incomes taxed at 100% and the government can then dole out what they think is your due? The question to be asked is what is Caesar’s?

Andrew Ryan
Guest
Andrew Ryan

“So why don’t we just raise the minimum wage to a hundred dollars an hour and make everybody well off? ” That’s a specious argument. Presumably if someone proposed that reducing the speed limit on a road by 5mph would reduce accident deaths, you’d reply “Why not reduce it by 45mph, or ban all cars?”. Or if someone suggested that cutting 100 calories a day from your diet would help combat obesity, you’d reply: “Why not reduce it by 2000 calories? Why not just eat a carrot a day?”.   “But if you are an employer who needs labor in… Read more »

Camp Director
Guest

So, Robert. What exactly is “illegal” labor?

Andrew Ryan
Guest
Andrew Ryan

Jeff, the argument can swing in the other direction too – is 12% too high? How about 4%? 3% 1%? Why not abolish all taxes and have all infrastructure, armed forces, schools, etc paid for by private means? There’s no police now and if you can’t hire your own private protection then bad luck. You can extend any argument to an extreme, far beyond what anyone was actually suggesting. Whether their actual suggestion is stupid may remain in question, but pointing out the absurdity of doubling, tripling or multiplying by a hundred their suggestion doesn’t in itself make what they… Read more »

Matt Robison
Guest

If you want to make sure fast food workers are paid $15/hr, you’re more than welcome to start your own fast food restaurant and pay your employees $15/hr. If you’re not prepared to do that…then please shut up.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Are you hiring someone with the intent of avoiding paying taxes? Keep it simple.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Living  wage argument is about increased taxation by stealth. By raising the wage, you raise how much of that money is taken in taxes.

Camp Director
Guest

Robert- And I would say back “keep it clear.” Your statement wasn’t. And isn’t. What do you mean by “avoiding paying taxes?” I am a business owner. How is this to be accomplished? Cash payments? How would cash disbursements on a large scale be accounted for? This is not as simple as you seem to think.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Did anyone else have a problem understanding me? What is your intent? Do you hire people with the intent of avoiding paying taxes? If you think this is not that simple, please explain. I am willing to listen.

soylentg
Member

Andrew, in your first reply you did a nice job of taking Pastor Wilson’s little thought exercise and trying to refute it by comparing apples to oranges and then apples to pomegranates. If you want to argue an apples to apples comparison you would probably have to go to the opposite extreme using the original subject; that is “what if the minimum wage was lowered to zero.  Now if, in your mind, that scenario would lead to people working for $0.00 per hour then I would have resort to a verse from Proverbs.  But to all who are in favor of a minimum wage increase,… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Camp Director, it is common for employers to hire illegal aliens to work full time.  The employer pays in cash, does not list those illegals on his accounts and avoids paying social security, health care and other state and local taxes.  To be clear these are not day laborers in front of Home Depot or the local job office; they are full time or part time employees that show up at the  same job all the time.  There is nothing wrong or difficult in paying employees with cash.  Bookeeping is bookeeping no matter if the payment is electronic, check or… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

St Lee, the minimum wage is modern slavery.  Those  who advocate the minimum wage advocate slavery for the workers.  For example, if there were no minimum wage, businesses would offer a wage for workers.  If no one shows up for the  listed price, the employer would bump the wage to what people would accept to work for him.  A real life example occurred in Washington state when the feds ran all the illegal workers off.  The apple growers needed pickers and advertised at the illegal wage rate — no one showed up to pick apples.  The wage was advertised at… Read more »

Jane
Member

Robert, maybe the question itself isn’t unclear as worded but it’s hard not to suspect that you’re aiming at something other than the obvious answer of “No,” because as a simple question it seems absurd. No one ever does or would hire people to avoid paying taxes. It doesn’t make any sense to do so in any respect. So what’s “unclear” is what you’re getting at by asking the question, not the very simple question itself.

Andrew Ryan
Guest
Andrew Ryan

StLee: “In your first reply you did a nice job of taking Pastor Wilson’s little thought exercise and trying to refute it by comparing apples to oranges and then apples to pomegranates” No, I was simply pointing out that it’s a strawman to paint the other person’s view as “If an extra three bucks on the minimum wage is good for the economy then an extra thousand bucks would be REALLY good for the economy”. You may reply that he wasn’t saying that, he was actually offering an argument ad absurdem, but it doesn’t work as that either, as it ignores… Read more »

Andrew Ryan
Guest
Andrew Ryan

Jane: ” No one ever does or would hire people to avoid paying taxes. It doesn’t make any sense to do so in any respect.”
What, no-one ever hires people cash in hand, off the books, in order to avoid paying tax? How do you know? Are you sure?

Rick Davis
Guest

When I was 14, I got my first job washing dishes at a local restaurant. The restaurant owner paid all his employees in cash as “contract workers” so he wouldn’t have to pay minimum wage. I got $2.50 an hour. It was my first job. I saved enough to buy my letter jacket and my class ring. I was happy to work for what I was being paid; he was happy to pay me that mutually-agreed-upon amount. Everyone got what they wanted; it’s just that the government didn’t get as big of a cut.          If the… Read more »

soylentg
Member

Dave, while I agree with your assessment that the minimum wage should be abolished, I have trouble making sense of your statement that the minimum wage  is modern slavery.  In fact I would have to put it in the same category as a statement from Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson, who during the lockout of a couple years back made the astounding claim that the NFL was modern day slavery.  ….no, I take that back.  I only find your comment illogical.  Peterson’s was just plain stupid. As for the claim that it is common for employers to hire… Read more »

soylentg
Member

Andrew, so you are saying you don’t know what the minimum wage should be, or even that there should be one, just that you are sure that it should not be high enough to expose how foolish such a law is.  OK, I get it.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Lee, people do this. Atlanta Constitution has an article in today’s paper about it. Rick. if you had slipped on the floor and had hurt yourself at 14, what would have happened to your boss?

Philip Comer
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Philip Comer

To the desk of Andrew Ryan:
You don’t like the argument eh? What about this one? http://www.thebigquestions.com/2013/12/06/blast-from-the-past/ ?
The minimum wage is a tax on the people who would employ low skilled workers. To avoid paying it the employers have to hire people worth the new minimum wage, so unemployment goes up, or they go out of business. To argue it’s good to do this, necessarily means its good to do it a lot. So the argument Doug put forward stands.

Gary
Guest
Gary

I’ve edited this illustration into a useful infographic. Feel free to ‘shop it up and make it even better!
http://imgur.com/FHbq0Qs
-Gary

Jane
Member

No one ever hires people in order to avoid paying tax, they hire people to do the job. How does hiring people reduce your net tax bill?

dchammers
Member

Andrew, You’re getting beat up by the libertarians here, but your argument is the only clear one that has been presented in this thread. Doug’as original argument was specious and there certainly may be a “sweet spot” in the argument for a minimum wage. The “invisible hand” of the market sometimes works well, some times not so much. It is laws like the minimum wage that keep the ever concentrating power and wealth that the market produces from getting out of hand. 

David Douglas
Guest
David Douglas

Andrew Ryan, when you posit a sweet spot, you are inevitably positing 2 or more competing effects operating on different scales so that there can indeed be an optimum.  The Laffer curve is an example of this.  As tax rates go you get a lower percentage of the people’s income, but with more incentive for people to put their money at risk, you get more income.  As taxes go way up you get more percentage of (declared income) but de-incentivize people from either making more money or telling you about it.  The two effects ought to have an optimum as… Read more »

David Douglas
Guest
David Douglas

I’m sorry, my last comment has a sentence that should read:  As tax rates go down…….

Rick Davis
Guest

@Robert. You said “Rick. if you had slipped on the floor and had hurt yourself at 14, what would have happened to your boss? ” I’m not really sure what you’re asking. If you’re asking would my parents have sued him, the answer is no. I grew up hearing my parents talk often about how ridiculous it was that people sue over ordinary accidents. If you’re asking if he would have gotten in trouble for hiring a 14-year-old, the answer is no again. It’s legal for 14 year olds to work in the state of VA. If you’re asking would… Read more »

David R
Guest
David R

Minimum wage laws have shown time and again to actually hurt the economy, job growth, and worst of all, the people it was designed to help. Instead of talking about hypotheticals, we actually have real life examples of the effects of minimum wage laws on the economy and jobs.   http://www.heritage.org/research/testimony/2013/06/what-is-minimum-wage-its-history-and-effects-on-the-economy   “The Democratic Governor of American Samoa, Togiola Tulafona, harshly criticized this GAO report for understating the damage done by the minimum wage hike. Testifying before Congress Gov. Tulafona objected that “this GAO report does not adequately, succinctly or clearly convey the magnitude of the worsening economic disaster in… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

St Lee, there is a restaurant right here in Moscow that had an illegal alien cook.  The boss knew he was illegal but kept him around so that the restaurant meals were cooked at an extremely low cost for the boss.  One of my kids worked there and several times overheard the boss threatening to turn the cook over to ICE if he complained.  When the boss felt like it, he would refuse to pay this cook even though the cook had his two children with him here in the states.  This is just one example.  In Colorado, the illegals… Read more »

soylentg
Member

So, DC, since you deem Andrew’s argument the only clear one here, surely you can answer the question I posed:  What EXACT figure should the minimum wage be, and why?

Dave
Guest
Dave

I am sorry that you think the minimum wage is not slavery.  The minimum wage sounds good but poor black teenagers have few work skills.  Managers don’t want to hire those teenagers because they are not worth as much as the minimum wage forces the establishment to pay them.  The minimum wage is known as a job killer for black teens.  When they can’t get a job, they are forced to stay on the welfare plantation.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Rick, Richmond would still be within its rights to go after your boss for tax evasion.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Jane, people who hire illegal aliens do so for both reasons, to do a job and for as little as they can get away with. If they can dodge state and federal taxes, some will do that in a heartbeat if it means hiring an illegal. There are supposedly 11 million people in this country who work for such people. Look at the three links I posted. I didn’t have to look hard to find them. One of them is even from today. These are forty hour a week jobs.

Rick Davis
Guest

Robert: Richmond COULD have gone after my boss. But thankfully Isengard/Richmond was far enough away from the little Shire of Craig County, and the people there had a healthy suspicion of bringing in outsiders. My grandad used the word “foreigners” to refer to anyone from outside the county. Of course that has been nearly 30 years ago, and I imagine that older generation has passed and sadly left behind a new generation full of Sharkey’s men who love Isengard and Mordor.

bethyada
Member

I think Doug’s argument is reasonable. No one has shown how raising the minimum wage actually helps the economy, and short of that pushing the amount further to illustrate a downside is permissible. Andrew claimed this specious but I fail to see how? // ‘ Presumably if someone proposed that reducing the speed limit on a road by 5mph would reduce accident deaths, you’d reply “Why not reduce it by 45mph, or ban all cars?”. Or if someone suggested that cutting 100 calories a day from your diet would help combat obesity, you’d reply: “Why not reduce it by 2000… Read more »

AndrewRyan
Guest
AndrewRyan

StLee: “Andrew, so you are saying …” My post was quite clear, and was nothing like your attempted summary. Try reading it again. Bethyada: “The second argument is even more obvious: decreasing calories by 2000 a day will definitely work” Not if you’re only eating 2000 calories to start with! That would kill you. But that doesn’t mean a 100 or 200 calorie reduction wouldn’t be healthy. The fact that an extreme addition/reductio in something is incredibly harmful in no way negates the benefit of any addition/reduction at all. It’s a simple point, one that no poster here was addressed/rebutted. Nice… Read more »

David Douglas
Guest
David Douglas

The speed limit argument is not analogous to the minimum wage argument because, unlike the minimum wage argument, you can define competing issues:  Marginal benefit in safety (and fuel) vs marginal cost of time (and an (in)appropriate degree of state interference).  We are not perfectly safe if we all stay home and do nothing.  On the other hand, it is acknowledged by all that the benefit of a minimum wage increase is an increase in wage by some workers you see, and acknowledged only by some that the cost is the invisible but real cost of workers not making any… Read more »

Jane
Member

Robert — oh, you’re talking about hiring illegal aliens as opposed to hiring people legally. You were talking about “hiring people” in your original question, that’s why I responded as I did.
One might hire illegals for a variety of reasons, but yes, not wishing to pay the employer’s share of payroll taxes is no doubt one reason why people do it.

dchammers
Member

St. Lee, That is the million dollar question. Where is the sweet spot? There is no clear answer to that. In medical training the attending physicians ask, “How much fluid do you give a dehydrated patient?” The right answer is, “Enough.” That’s the answer, because there is no known correct answer. You make the changes, try not to overshoot and stop when you see the effect you want. That would mean that huge jumps in the minimum wage would not be wise, as you would likely overshoot and see unwanted “side effects.”

bethyada
Member

Andrew, I used your example to illustrate that it reinforces Doug’s position. Your response is to insult me by saying I advocate Darwinism of the poor and am a defender of godless principles. The point is not—counter your assertions otherwise—the minimum wage is obviously biblical and there is no discussion; rather it is does the minimum wage truly serve the poor? Many of us are aware of minimum age advocates who wished to keep the poor from “their” jobs, or are using faux-compassion for the poor to advance their socialist agenda. Many who truly care for the poor also advocate… Read more »

bethyada
Member

One thing I never see is advocates for minimum wages for small business owners. Many starting out work long hours for minimum income. On an hourly rate get less than their workers. And some of those businesses fail so the person has essentially worked for negative income. And yet we still hear demands for that same person to pay his workers more despite them already making more than the owner with no risk to their own livelihood.

Jeff
Guest

bethyada: Agree 100%. Let those who advocate for a ‘living wage’ or increased minimum wage try to start their own business. I’m trying to build one now. It’s a first effort. The regulations, taxes, red tape, et. al. are absolutely ridiculous. It is a wonder that any small business survives. As it is we’ve been pumping all the money back into the business to grow it. Not to paint with too broad a brush, but I believe many of those advocating these redistributive positions are in bed with the biblical sluggard.

Andrew Ryan
Guest
Andrew Ryan

Bethyada: “Your analogy was comparing a 100 calorie decrease to 2000 calorie to combat obesity. But if an obese person cuts back 2000 calories per day they will lose weight. No obese person eats only 2000 calories and if they did, then yes eating nothing will make them lose weight I could equally have said cuts back 20,000 calories, or indeed talked about increasing an anorexic patient’s diet by 30,000 calories. And you said that once the obese patient is better then they don’t have to restrict their diet any more. But the original blog above wasn’t talking temporary, was… Read more »

Andrew Ryan
Guest
Andrew Ryan

David Douglas: “On the other hand, it is acknowledged by all that the benefit of a minimum wage increase is an increase in wage by some workers you see …and then there’s a knock-on benefit as that person’s spending power increases and they can spend more in local businesses, most of which will similarly be hiring low-income workers. The Walmart workers can now spend more in McDonalds and vice versa. But what about those shops then putting their prices up – aren’t we all then back at square one? Not really, because the percentage of a Big Mac’s cost that… Read more »

Rob Howard
Guest
Rob Howard

Andrew, Maybe it would help to remember that the work an employee does is an economic resource, and subject to the same economic laws as the BigMac. Charted on a supply-demand curve, raising the price of any good or service reduces the number of buyers willing to purchase that good or service. ____________________________________________________________________________ When the minimum wage is artificially increased beyond the natural break-even point established by market forces, this raises the cost of doing business, and employers are forced to cut costs somewhere in order to maintain their current profit margins. One simple and popular way to do this… Read more »

dchammers
Member

Bethayda: In regards to small business owner vs. employee, the shop owner may make less per hour than the employee, but she also has unlimited profit upside. The employee enjoys no such potential benefit.