by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
… you think it is moral to hoodwink employees in low-wage food service to leave their jobs for a political protest that would benefit the organization behind the protest but would, if heeded, lead to fewer jobs for those workers.
Apparently everyone who thinks fast-food outfits are deliberately mistreating their employees by not raising food prices and paying them higher wages are forgetting that potential customers will react to higher prices by buying less and finding lower-priced alternatives, and that those businesses have tight margins. Demand curves still slope downward.
It is, however, much easier to “run” someone else’s business behind a bullhorn when you face no greater risk than not getting enough coverage in sycophantic press.
As I wrote before on the elegant solution of “compassion for the poor” by imposing a higher price floor on their wages and thereby pricing more of them out of work,
Tossing people out of work with higher minimum-wage laws doesn’t make you compassionate for the poor any more than smothering a baby with the softest blanket you could find makes you a good parent.
There is widespread agreement among economists that raising the minimum wage has the unintended negative effect of harming the poor and hardest to employ. Harvard economist Greg Mankiw found that four out of five economists supported the proposition that “A minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers.”
But if your interest in the poor and unskilled workers extends only so far as their usefulness as political props for fundraising and media hits, then tricking them into walking off their jobs to demand wages that would put most of them out of work is probably a workable idea, however immoral.