by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If you could add thousands of new jobs to a struggling economy at $8.25 per hour, or zero jobs paying $12.50 per hour, which would you choose? Perhaps math is not your strong suit. Then it might make sense to consult John Hayward‘s latest article for Human Events.
What’s better than the minimum wage? How about a super-minimum-wage, tailored to hit one company that liberals particularly hate?
You see, Wal-Mart wants to open at least three stores in the poverty-stricken areas of Washington, D.C., bringing a large number of jobs, and affordable products, to areas desperately in need of them. But the normal minimum wage of $8.25 per hour isn’t good enough for the evil Wal-Mart, so the geniuses who turned our nation’s capital into a hellhole decided to create a special new $12.50 “living wage” that would only apply to huge retailers. Then they carved out special exemptions for every huge retailer except Wal-Mart. Take your jobs and shove ‘em, Wal-Mart! …
… Maybe the “living wage” folks will win that national fight they want, and we can have a full-blown depression, in which Barack Obama’s dreary years of recessionary unemployment are fondly recalled as the “good old days,” when folks actually had jobs, and you could buy something other than Soylent Green with your food-stamp card. Meanwhile, the poor of Washington can take comfort in knowing that instead of 1,800 jobs at $8.25 an hour, they’ve got zero jobs at $12.50. Be sure to thank your politicians for the love they’re smothering you with, folks!
This really is more than just a local struggle. The mirage of government-mandated prosperity is forever pursued, at the expense of real economic growth. Why not just pass a law that says everyone is rich? Because no such law can override the far deeper laws of supply and demand, no matter how many charlatans promise otherwise. Of course everyone wants to make more than the minimum wage. That’s a very healthy ambition… right up until people start demanding it from the government, instead of earning it. But of course, not everyone will do what’s necessary to earn it, and that’s not fair, so instead of prosperity we get “fairness,” which is misery spread thin.