Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Another Willis Hart Minimum Wage Strawman (One That Serves The Evil Idea Of Keeping Workers Impoverished)

Willis Hart, a Libertarian blogger who hates low wage workers and loves strawmen, recently posted the following on his blog.

Willis Hart: Some Minimum-Wage Perspective... One of my friends at work posted this [see picture below] on her Facebook page and I really think that it hits the mark. The fact of the matter here is that if people want to earn more money, they have to get better skills first. And, yes, the jobs are there, hundreds of thousands of good jobs. (7/11/2015 AT 8:20pm).

Willis thinks this strawman "hits the mark" because he LOVES strawmen. The strawman here being that those who think the minimum wage should be $15 also think nobody else's wage should rise. That the EMT in the image should continue to work long hours at an extremely difficult job... while making the same amount as someone "flipping burgers".

The first individual pictured, which I am guessing is an EMT (due to the image giving a job description but no job title) has a harder job and deserves higher pay. However... the minimum wage sets a floor, and if "burger flippers" got a raise, so would the EMT (or he absolutely should, in any case).

What this Libertarian/Conservative strawman overlooks (on purpose) is the fact that the minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation.

Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968 at $8.54 (in 2014 dollars). Since it was last raised in 2009, to the current $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum has lost about 8.1% of its purchasing power to inflation. The Economist recently estimated that, given how rich the U.S. is and the pattern among other advanced economies in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, "one would expect America... to pay a minimum wage around $12 an hour". (5 facts about the minimum wage by Drew Desilver. Pew Research Center 5/20/2015).

The reason people like Willis ignore this reality is because they are wealth-worshiping stooges who are using ugly rhetoric like this (demonizing service industry workers) to distract from the fact that CEO pay and profits continue to rise (much faster than the rate of inflation) while wages for these workers are falling behind where they would be if adjusted for inflation.

These workers are greedy and lazy, so say these stooges/dupes. They are even "immoral".

Dennis Marks: One gets money by working for it. The other hopes to get money not by working for it, but by begging for the government to force a company to give it to them. Immoral. (7/12/2015 AT 2:44am).

What is EVIL here is that these stooges think they can get away with demonizing lower wage workers by implying that a desire for a wage that (at least) keeps pace with inflation is "immoral".

Evil, in my opinion, because, instead of a raise - when the minimum wage does not keep pace with inflation - every year low wage workers are actually getting a pay cut! And that money is going straight into the pockets of the plutocrats that people like Dennis and Willis worship (or "celebrate", as Willis sez).

Evil also is the desire of these people to do away with the minimum wage completely. Because without a minimum wage, low wage workers will be subject to the iron law of wages, which says that "that real wages always tend, in the long run, toward the minimum wage necessary to sustain the life of the worker". Note that "sustain the life" means that the worker does not die, or that all of them don't die. People can live in miserable abject poverty without dying. Or without ALL of them dying, at least.

THIS is what those who wish to do away with the minimum wage desire for low wage workers. And they also wish to depress the living standards of all other workers (because, as I said earlier, the minimum wage sets a floor and contributes to higher wages for many more workers than just those who earn the minimum).

And if that isn't evil, then I don't know what is.

Image Description: "You're not worth the explanation" you waste of skin!

OST #59


  1. You make good points. We talked once about how conservatives see the minimum as a floor and thus negate the supreme leader's own theory that a rising tide raises all boats.

    It is very problematic to go back in time and peg the minimum wage as a linear equation. Let's take the 1968 example. $1.60 was a fairly good wage for flipping burgers I guess it would be fair to say. But let's just take two very obvious examples of the cost of living in 1968. The $1.60 would buy five or six gallons of gas in Southern California, something that would cost at least twenty dollars today. A nice house on one eighth of an acre of land in a beach community suburb, such as La Jolla could be purchased for $50,000. That same house today, if renovated or maintained would be worth at least $1,000,000. In other words, the value has increased twenty-fold. Admittedly this is an extreme example, since 1968 was literally months before the great real estate boom of Southern California.

    However, it is my estimation that the minimum wage of 1968 is more equivalent to fifteen or twenty dollars today given the vertical climb of so many indicators of the cost of living.

    There will be no going back to the days of single-earner families and debt-free college educations. That much has already been lost. Maybe that's the way some guys like it to be.

  2. Point taken. However the cost of a $20.00 minimum wage would simply be passed on to consumers. As would the cost of skilled labor and that of professionals that would increase as well as a "ripple effect".

    A reasonable minimum should be established, say $10.00 per with a 2% or -3% annual increase.

    Keep in mind minimum wage jobs are generally unskilled labor and often are part time employment. Although the trend has been to hire temps @ minimum wage with no benefits for up to a specified period (union shops although they have no union protection) and then dump them
    and replace with new temps.

    1. RN: However the cost of a $20.00 minimum wage would simply be passed on to consumers.

      Let me remind RN of the following exchange from HIS blog...

      Jerry Critter: Higher taxes don't necessarily mean higher prices. The demand has to support higher prices. Alternatively higher taxes may mean lower profits. (Fri Jun 19, 06:29:00 PM EDT).

      RN: Agreed. (Sat Jun 20, 12:17:00 PM EDT).

      You agreed. Did you forget? Change your mind? Oh, no wait... I know... the comment (where you agreed) doesn't count anymore because it is an "old bone", right? ("old bone" meaning: say something one day, contradict yourself the next... and you are RIGHT in both instances).

      RN: As would the cost of skilled labor and that of professionals that would increase as well as a "ripple effect".

      I made this exact point in my commentary when I noted that the minimum wage sets a floor - which is why, if the "burger flippers" got a raise, so would the EMT (see image above). This was the WHOLE point of my commentary, in fact... Willis strawman was that "burger flippers" and EMTs should not make the same wage - and he was saying they would if the "burger flippers" got a raise to $15 an hour. But they would not, because of the "ripple effect" (as you call it).

      So... good job missing the MAIN POINT I was making.

      RN: A reasonable minimum should be established, say $10.00 per with a 2% or -3% annual increase.

      I think the reasonable minimum should be $12.60 an hour, which is what it would be if it were inflation adjusted. The minimum wage RN earned in 1968 would be $11.48 today. Anyway, why 2 to 3 percent? Index it to inflation, I say.

  3. Well, we must simply agree to disagree.

  4. I wasn't recommending a federal minimum wage of $20 per. Just pointing out how much has been lost in the last forty years. As far as I'm concerned, anyone striking for $15 has no idea exactly how little that society is willing to pay for their services.

    My advice? Go with the president and the democrats. Take California's example as a logical first step and build on that. I say just resist heartless, sarcastic and brutal plutocrats such as Butt Chimney with your dying breath. Fuck his concept of the 47%.

    The republicans need to be put down like a rabid dog.

    What's on my heart? The plight of minimum wage hotel maids. You don't have any idea what it means to work that hard. Just make sure that you tip them well.

  5. Actually I do have an idea what it means to work that hard. I decided I didn't enjoy it.

    I do.

    Today, at 63, I refuse to support any party exclusively or give them a damn dime.


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