We hear from many that we need a minimum wage since people can’t support a family on the minimum wage. But, is that what it’s for? Politicians pushing for the minimum wage don’t realize that their good intentions lead to bad results. This video with Brooke Medina explains why.
Check out the full episode of What Would John Locke Say About Our Country? Or, you can listen below:
What is the Minimum Wage?
The minimum wage right now is $7.25, but many politicians want to raise that. That, however, is just the federal minimum wage. The Department of Labor breaks down the different laws in different states. Basically, the minimum wage is the lowest amount an employer can pay an employee legally. And, while it might sound nice to raise people’s wages, it isn’t always good for those involved.
The Fight For 15
Biden has discussed raising the federal minimum wage. And, in the wake of calls across the country for a $15 federal minimum wage, there’s a chance he does. What the Fight for 15 crowd ignores or fails to realize is that raising the minimum wage prices people out of a job. If someone is qualified to earn $15 per hour, they will fetch that wage. But, if we mandate you pay everyone $15 per hour, it will likely hurt less qualified workers’ ability to get a job.
Politics Surrounding the Minimum Wage
Now, the discourse about whether we should raise the minimum wage or lower the minimum wage is tainted. This is largely due to nationalizing this debate. Wages will be higher and lower depending on the state and locality. What is a good wage in Indiana might be poverty-level wages in California. So, there isn’t an easy solution to the questions around minimum wage policy. While there are states without a minimum wage policy, that just means they default to the federal minimum wage. States that have a higher minimum wage passed a law to bring that about and raise it above the federal requirement. And, states have the right to do that.
Transcript of The Minimum Wage Shouldn’t Support A Family:
Yeah, and I think that we also have this idea that Every job has to be able to support a family of four, and it's like, But if every job is supposed to be like that, you're all you're gonna do is get rid of the jobs that lead to be having the skills to actually support the family of four. Like if I needed to get paid $15 an hour to be a sales associate at a retail store when I started off, guess what? I would have gotten hired, but because I was working for, you know, $5 an hour plus commission.
My Experience Earning Low Wages
So if I didn't make the commission, it would be, you know, the 7 25 minimum wage. You know, I was an affordable person, and that's what gave me the skills. I mean, I ended up staying there for six years, worked my way through college because I was able to get that job as a junior in high school. But that wouldn't be the case, I don't think, if they just automated my job away.
Minimum Wage Costs Jobs
You had a robot going to grab the shoes for people. Yeah, no, I mean, this is just one of those perverse incentives that the government has set up in. I would say many of them probably have good intentions. I don't want to describe evil motives to them, but they just have a faulty understanding of incentives and how the economy actually works. Well, if you mandate a $15 living wage because you believe that's a just wage all across the United States at one time or irrespective of cost of living on you are, yeah, you're effectively killing off those jobs of the lowest wage earners. And it's creating just even more barriers for people to be able to do what you said, which is work their way up the ladder.
Lawmakers Probably Never Worked for Minimum Wage
Yeah, I wonder how many of our senators and Congress people actually had to, like, work a minimum wage job to get their start in life. I just It seems to me that there's quite a few who, and probably overwhelming majority whose first job was like, you know, got for them by, I mean, just like if you look at the bushes or the Clinton, I feel like everyone kind of had a pretty easy path to many of them.
Did I know one of my senator, Senator Tillis? He um he talks about how he didn't even get his college degree till I think he was, like, 38. Something like that. 36. And, yeah, he did work a lower wage job, but a lot of them, I mean, yeah, a lot of them are Ivy League. They came with a silver spoon in a lot of ways. And so there is this idea that Oh, I'm doing this to help the poor. But have they spent much time around the poorer their constituents?
Helping the Poor?
Even that would actually suffer from these policies that just in their mind, it just gives them all the fields, makes you feel real good about it. But in reality, it's anything but good for those people. I remember one of my history teachers one time, uh, noticing the fact that, you know, I think it was Roosevelt. She's like, you know, FDR just did so much stuff for the poor because, you know, he was rich, and you want to help the poor.
But Andrew Jackson was, you know, trying to close down the bank and do all these things that were anti poor. And I'm like, I don't know if Andrew Jackson was actually anti poor, you know, it's like it's funny because he was grew up an orphan and poor and didn't regard them. I'm like, I just think you don't understand how to help the poor Really like.
Minimum Wage Sounds Good, But Is It?
And so that's the difference between having a heart for the poor and the mind for the poor. Yeah, my mom always says, if you don't have a if you don't, um, what is it? You're not liberal When you're a kid, your you don't have a heart. If you're not conservative, when you're an adult, you don't have in mind. And so I guess I didn't have a heart as a kid. Because have you always been a conservative?
Probably. Yeah, probably always a conservative libertarian. But that's because I remember like being eight and sitting on my dad's lap, like looking at his Scott trade in him, explaining to me stocks as best that you can find. So it's pretty cool. Yeah, so but yeah, I I do think, though, that as far as the distributors like capitalist idea goes, I would like to see a more distributed economy, and I think that that is a good in like to have to allow people to have that opportunity.
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