Monday, December 05, 2011
If you enjoy this economic essay on minimum wage and its perils to society and the wealthy, you may enjoy "Hobo-ing America" by Richard Edward Noble.
Click on cover to the right of this page for more information on "Hobo-ing America" and living on minimum wage ... for real.
What’s Wrong with Minimum Wages?
Why Don’t We Just Leave the Well-off Alone?
By Richard E. Noble
I have worked for minimum wage or below for the majority of my employment career - which started when I was about ten years old. I have always known that it is because of me that the world, at large, and the U.S. in particular, has been going to hell in a handbag. My bosses have explained this to me over and over.
You see, it is because of my demanding this exorbitant minimum wage that we have inflation, constantly escalating prices, unemployment, teenagers idling on street corners and a vanishing industrial and manufacturing base.
Strangely enough, people who make exorbitant paychecks and profits as owners of businesses and CEOs and CFOs, and Doctors, Lawyers, Dentists, Stock brokers, people receiving dividends from their stock portfolios and Indian chiefs who own gambling casinos in Miami have just the opposite effect on the economy. Their pay increases do not cause inflation or increase prices; instead their extra money acts as a stimulus to the economy, promotes investment at home and abroad, creates jobs everywhere and, in general, makes the world a better place for everybody to live.
It goes like this: if you give Michael Jordan or some such wealthy person another billion dollars a week, as opposed to giving another dollar a week to each employee at the Nike factory in Slumbovia, or Bumslavia, or Weallstarvingistan - nothing negative, economically, occurs. Prices do not go up because Michael Jordan or another among the minority of the rich has more money. They already have everything they ever wanted. They don’t need to buy anything. How many Hummers, BMWs, yachts, and diamond rings can one person have? Besides if the price of a quarter mile long yacht goes from 147 million to 150 million who would notice. This increase wouldn’t even make it into the pages of Money Magazine.
You can give all the money you want to rich people and nothing in the economic world will change. This is an economic fact that was proven in the laboratory of real life economic science in 1929 by that great American monetary savant, Herbert Hoover. And in recent times this miracle was duplicated by G.W. Bush – another economic genius.
On the other hand, an extra dollar in the pockets of a bunch of poor people automatically throws any economy into a tailspin. Right off, the price of M-D 20-20 skyrockets along with bread, peanut butter, and Chevrolet automobiles. This hits the commodity and retail markets immediately. The price of grain and legumes all over the world goes nuts. Farmers instantly begin double cropping, planting in-between the rows, and doubling up on fertilizers and polluting pesticides; government subsidies go through the roof, while profits to the farmers go down and the price of a tomato at the IGA in Wisconsin goes to a buck-fifty apiece. General Motors has to increase production, but the cost of labor in the U.S. is bankrupting them; so their new plant in China gets the contract while the DuPont family sells off all of their shares in Aunt Jemima Pancakes. It’s chaos.
If I, and those of my ilk, were willing to work for half or one third of minimum wage, my boss then could hire two or three more morons like me and, of course, the unemployment problem would vanish. This would also, more than likely, solve the illegal immigrant problem besides.
You see, if I were willing to pick tomatoes and sleep in an abandon building or old slave cottage or a farmer’s barn or root cellar while defecating in the woods or orchards or behind the hedges of better-off people in the San Bernardino mountains like illegal immigrants do, then the farmers would not have to encourage Coyotes to smuggle poor Mexicans and Central Americans across the Rio Grande and into Miami, Seattle, New York, New Jersey and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Nor would they have to continue to falsify their labor and Social Security reports.
But because I, and others like me, are unwilling to do this, these poor farmers and packing house owners, and cottage-garment industry sweat-shop owners, and restaurant and construction company owners and landscapers, and concrete company and gas station owners, and grocery stores, and chicken and beef processing houses, and home cleaning and domestic services, and large chain department stores etc., all have to do all of these illegal, immoral things.
We minimum wage earners are like the pornographic video and bookstores in Holyoake, Missouri – we are the evil temptresses that lure the Jimmy Swaggarts and Tammy Faye Bakers into the snake pit of moral depravity; we are the Chunky Cheeses to the video game addict; we are the irresistible impulse luring the unsuspecting all over the world – we are the ones who are ruining the economic world. It is us, with our benign satisfaction with mediocrity, or unwillingness to achieve, and our ignorant and obstinate choice to remain unsuccessful.
Why is it that we continually choose to work at JR stores, and wash dishes in greasy-spoon type restaurants who provide no health insurance? Why do we continually take up residence in crime ridden ghettos? Why the heck don’t we just move? Why don’t we make application to better universities? Why do we accept advice and principles from parents who are even dumber than we are?
All of our kind hearted, generous employers are, of course, very good people; they are not criminals. They are as responsible and as civic minded as any banker, for god’s sake! It’s us; it’s me. And, you know, I don’t know what is wrong with me. I don’t know why I act like this. I have tried to get help for this problem but I have been unable to find any psychiatrists who are willing to work for minimum wage. They feel that if they work for any less than one hundred dollars a minute, research in mental health will be abandoned and more nutty folks, like myself, will be put out onto the sidewalks and alleyways of the American inner cities. This, of course, will increase the perv quotient, promote crime, juvenile delinquency and the threat of terrorism everywhere.
It was because of people like me, way back when, demanding their pays to be raised to a minimum that forced the textile mills to leave New England. It was the same type of ugly Americans in the Midwest and eventually in the South that forced these poor, patriotic hard working mill owners to go to South America, India and Asia where now, unfortunately, they are forced to deal with the same type ungrateful breed over there. We minimum wage earners keep breeding like flies – there seems to be no end to our kind.
What is the matter with us minimum wage workers? When will we ever learn?
If we continually ask for more money, this just makes the prices of things rise; and after the prices go up, we still don’t have any more money than we used to have. So what is the sense to it? What will it take for us to learn that we must figure out how to live on whatever it is that the boss is willing to pay us?
We certainly can’t ask the bosses to take less money. Why just look around, they are barely getting by on what they have now. And besides, there are so few of them and so many of us. I mean, if we took all the money from the 10% who own and control everything – all the rich people in the world – and divided it up among all the poor in the world, the price of peanut butter and jelly in the U.S. would be a thousand dollars a jar. M-D 20-20 would only be served at fine restaurants. Golf courses would disappear and America would become one huge bowling alley. Yes, every other cardboard house that the poor have built in the garbage dumps of the world might get a new tin roof – big deal.
Poor people just don’t seem to understand, if God wanted poor people to be better off, He wouldn’t have created Conservatives.