Minimum Wage: Again

Yeah, I know I post about this all the time, but to me, this is an important issue. I think that socially minded Christians are on the wrong side of this issue, not because they are bad people, but because its one of those policies that sounds good if you have a menial knowledge of economics.

This blog is a simple way to understand the minimum wage debate from a Harvard Economics Professor. Enjoy. (Phil Wilson, this is for you bro)

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21 responses to “Minimum Wage: Again

  1. I find it funny that you use this article to stare your nose down at your brothers in Christ…

    And this article doesn’t even say what you imply it does… the guy simply says economists are divided on the issue… he says he has his own opinion.

    Seriously… your attitude sucks… you stare down your nose at people like you have the answers to everything

  2. Justin, modern political debate (which has bled into modern debate period) has been undeniably shaped by the cable news talking head I’m right-you’re wrong structure. The concept that one’s own ideas (because one believes in those ideas) are the best of all possible ideas and everyone else is wrong tends to be unattractive.

    At the same time, ideas put into action have consequences. If someone advocated rounding up everyone in a particular ethnic group and killing them, well, then I would risk the unattractiveness of advocating for the exclusive “rightness” of my contrary idea.

    The minimum wage is one of those ideas that has some negative and some positive consequences, and I agree with you that the negative outweigh the bad, but even the negative consequences aren’t that bad. I believe the intensity of your argument against it is commensurate with the magnitude of the possible negative consequences. I’m not sure who Bob the Tomato is or why he thinks your attitude sucks. I think you are respectful of others on this topic and others. Perhaps Bob is a minimum wage worker? 🙂

  3. Ummm.. Mr Tomato, maybe you didn’t read the entire post. Did you miss the part that said

    ” I think that socially minded Christians are on the wrong side of this issue, not because they are bad people, but because its one of those policies that sounds good if you have a menial knowledge of economics.”

    How is that looking down my nose at people? I believe that they are wrong on this issue because they don’t understand it completely, not because they are bad people or because they are communists or anything like that. Its a lack of understanding. I used to be on the wrong side of Jesus when I believed in “just war” theory, but I’ve since learned that Jesus would never advocate Just war… he’s a creative non violence guy.

    BTW, when I write something I sign my name to it.

  4. Your quote proves my point about your sucky attitude. You just insulted people in favor of the minimum wage by saying they know nothing about economics… I don’t know how your snot-nosed attitude could be any more obvious.

    I’m happy you have a website… Just don’t assume it means you know everything — and you’re name means NOTHING to me. But if you really think that means something. My name is, uh… Steve Meyer. Yeah!

    I also believe I remember Jesus turning over tables in the temple — seems pretty warlike, but then again, he was only fighting capitalist pigs…

    -Cheerio-

  5. Economics seems to be one of those wannebe sciences unwilling to face either facts or faith.

    I read what your economist had to say, hoping that this one might bolster his contentions with something other than economic theory (which BTW is not yet theory even if they say it is).

    Where I live the various academic econ folks have been amazed that the theory does not hold up when evaluated against what happens after the minimum wage increases. As wages go up (and with min wage being the rising floor) so goes buying power and the need for more employees. Then when prices increase because of the demand the real effect of the min wage increase decreases not only in value but also in the loss of jobs.

    The other indicator of your economist’s lack of reality is his comments about the beneficiaries of the min wage floor. Wal-Mart’s min wage jobholders are the largest drain upon Medicaid (the poor person’s healthcare safety net) in most of the states in this country. One Wal-Mart pharmacist I know cannot afford the drugs she sells unless she uses Medicaid!

    The issue from the Christian perspective is not what works in the economist’s mind but how we are going to feed, clothe, house, and otherwise take loving care of those less fortunate than we.

  6. I like what Walter Williams says about Min. Wage. Why stop at $7.50 or $8.00 or $10.00/hour. Why not $15.00 or $20.00 an hour?

  7. C’mon, even justin uses that same dumb argument, even though he knows that wouldn’t work.

    When people save money, it gets wasted (economically). That’s why giving rich people taxed cuts has mixed results. When you give a poor person money – they spend it (food, shelter, etc.), thereby having a positive effect on the economy. But when they get enough money to start saving it, it hampers the economy.

  8. Justin, you’ll remember from our chat that I agreed that raising the minimum wage might not make economic sense. However, paying people more to help take care of themselves and their families is a Christlike thing to do, in my estimation.

  9. But Justin HATES government… so he’d be opposed to paying working people enough to maintain their own human dignity.

    See the problem is no one really KNOWS what the economy will do… We’ve seen it with a crappy minimum wage… Now let’s try it with a living wage — we might be surprised…

    If we find out the minimum wage DOESN’T work, we can just let it’s value die out over time — kind of like it’s done over the last 50 years… them it will mean nothing — like now…

  10. You’re getting a little post modern there Bob… are you saying we can’t “know” what will happen unless we try it. We don’t “know” that cutting off all government entitlements will affect people adversely. Why don’t we try it?

    If you wanna troll, you should go somewhere else. I won’t put up with it much longer, and I’m not going to be baited into an argument with someone who hides behind a psuedonym and attacks the character of someone he doesn’t know.

  11. You all talk about the idea of increasing the minimum wage like 12 year olds talk about discovering masturbation. Just within our own country, we have had eight or ten distinct economic policies. I don’t want to introduce the issue of whether increasing income really increases happiness, but for the sake of this argument, let’s assume that more money equals more happiness (which is mostly true for the poorest in society).

    The countries which have had the greatest increases, in absolute and relative terms, in per capita income are those countries that possessed two qualities: low government influence, and strong protection of personal property rights. These are the two things which are needed for laissez faire capitalism-style innovation and economic growth.

    The more a country moves away from these things, the slower the economic growth and the lower the per capita income.

    Case studies:

    High Growth or High per capita income:
    US in late 1800s, late 1900s
    India in 1970-today
    China 1990-today
    Vietnam 1990-today
    Hong Kong 1900-today
    UK 1980s
    South Korea 1970-today

    Low economic growth or low per capita income
    US 1930s
    Russia 1920-1990
    North Korea
    China pre 1980
    Vietnam Pre-1980
    India Pre 1980

    I would like someone to actually present an example where heavy government control over the minimum wage of an area has benefited the area over the long term rather than talking in theory and “we’ve gotta try to know what will happen”s

    And WalMart doesn’t pay minimum wage. Its average wage is $10 an hour in the store. If those workers want health insurance, go work somewhere else that gives health insurance. No one put a gun to their head and told them to work there.

  12. While the comments are not directly about the minimum wage, S. M. Hutchens (in the December issue of Touchstone) says –
    “The Christian, I believe, should be working critically on these [economic] matters, but keep his feet fixed firmly on pre-theoretical ground, on the conceptual background of ‘mere economic activity’ and the goods and evils that arise from it, never becoming a partisan of any theory or school, but always remaining at arm’s length from them. …
    “The historian Phillip Schaff said of Calvinism and Arminianism that the Bible was more human than the first, more devine than the second, and more Christian than either. Of capitalism and socialism as economic theory and practice it might be similarly said that holy economy is more selfless than the first, more interested in the individual than the second, and kinder than either.”

  13. So, why don’t we do away with the minimum wage and create a price ceiling for low-skill jobs. Make sure they CAN’T earn as much as “normal” people. That would REALLY help the economy, wouldn’t it now, “y” and “justin”…

    Maybe we shouldn’t be giving a shit about the economy and we should start caring about human dignity.

    Say whatever makes you feel good about “trolling” but don’t ignore arguments simply because you don’t know someone. That says something about your attitude if you’re only willing to discuss things with people you know… kind of a “group think” concern…

  14. I’m not for a price ceiling Bob and you should be aware of that.

    Wages rise on their own as the economy grows. How else does one explain that hardly anyone in the Nashville metro area makes minimum wage? Kroger starts at 8.15 an hour to 11.15 depending on experience… with benefits! Fast food jobs start at 6.50 an hour. Wages increase as workers are employed elsewhere. When workers are scarce, supply and demand brings up wages.

    If businesses are just trying to screw workers, why does anyone make over 5.15 an hour?

    Wages will be set by what people are willing to work for, and how much their work is worth to the company. If there were no federally mandated minimum wage, a minimum would still be set at what people are willing to work for. If the economy is doing well, and businesses are competing for workers, wages will rise because businesses want to attract the best workers. If it is doing poorly, people are willing to work for less, but a business may not be able to afford more employees with a high minimum wage… so instead of people working for small wages, you have people unable to find jobs and completely dependent on the government to help them.

    I care about human dignity Bob. That’s why I care about economics. It directly affects everyone on the planet. Because of Capitalism, we are able to feed more people better food than at any other time in history. Capitalism isn’t God… but its the best way for us to help those who are in need. And its logical.

  15. Bob, you said, “Maybe we shouldn’t be giving a shit about the economy and we should start caring about human dignity.”

    I believe something like this was probably said by Lenin right before half his country starved to death.

    It’s hard for anyone to have dignity when there is no economy.

  16. We should care about human dignity. WE is the key word. Not Govco.

  17. I agree with what Phil said–I think I am to make a difference one person at a time–if I can pay someone more–I should–if I see someone in need–I should help them. You can argue about which economic theory is best–while people around us are in need–and I see what Jesus would have me do is minister to them.

    Blessings!

  18. I agree with Phil and Jettybetty. If one is in a position to pay someone more, one should. You don’t need a higher minimum wage to pay someone more.

  19. Theory DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL reality… So don’t give me a bunch of logical argument crap, because logic does not always pan out. If you want a cold hard argument, show me data where minimum wage has failed. So far, I’ve seen data presented where it has no negative effect (and even some positive)… but I haven’t seen anyone citing “REALITY”, maybe because we’re so afraid of the logic of it, we haven’t tried it enough to cite it.

    “I believe something like this was probably said by Lenin right before half his country starved to death.”

    y, that is the dumbest ad hominem I’ve ever heard. Lenin sucked… Lenin said “x”, therefore, x sucked… If you’re gonna use logic like that… then you’re an IDIOT…

    What I see is a bunch of Christians who want to help the poor, so they tell the government to back off of protectiing its people. But they aren’t really gonna do it anyway… so poor people end up getting the royal screw.

  20. If my memory serves me correctly, y listed many areas where heavy government regulation was put into place to help the poor, and it did exactly the opposite. Its not an issue of Lenin sucking, therefore anything he says sucked. Its the issue of Lenin introduced a theory that marx and others said would help the poor, and instead of helping the poor have a better standard of living, it just made everyone have a crappy standard of living. People starved, while Communist Party members lived the good life. The same thing happens anywhere there is communism. North Korea, Cuba, China (pre capitalist reforms), and the USSR. The more government intervention into the free market, the worse the standard of living for the people.

    Bob… my attitude sucks, supposedly, but I have yet to call any commentors an idiot, and believe me, I’ve been tempted.

    This is my blog, so the burden of proof rests on you. Like the Harvards Econ professor said, nearly all economists know that raising the minimum wage has adverse effects on the job market, the just disagree on whether the benefits outweigh the negatives. Most of them believe there are more negatives and positives.

  21. y law is shit i am only on 7 euro a hour its not right really

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