Monday, March 24, 2014

My Son May Lose His Job

. . . If the city of San Diego passes a minimum wage hike.  The San Diego City Council has taken the first step to put a separate minimum wage hike on the ballot.  This is a terrible idea beyond the usual arguments against a minimum wage increase.  But, first the issue with a hike at all.  The argument gets made that there is some right to be paid a certain amount of money just because one work's a full time job.  It doesn't matter if the worker's skills can command that amount compensation.  The practical effect of increasing the minimum wage is to pick some winners and some losers.  Some employers have said that they would cut staff.  My son makes minimum wage; I don't want him to lose his job if his employer makes that choice to keep down labor costs.  From the WSJ:
Just over half of U.S. businesses that pay the minimum wage would hire fewer workers if the federal standard is raised to $10.10 per hour, according to a survey by a large staffing firm to be released Wednesday. But the same poll found a majority of those companies would not cut their current workforce.
About two-thirds of employers paying the minimum wage said they would raise prices for goods or services in response to an increase, the survey by Express Employment Professionals found. About 54% of minimum-wage employers would reduce hiring if the federally mandated rate increased by $2.85 per hour. A smaller share—38% — said they would lay off employees if the wage increase favored by President Barack Obama becomes law.
Expressed graphically from the same article, here are the percent of companies responding to the yes/no question: If the minimum wage were to increase to $10.10 per hour, would your company . . .

The argument for the minimum wage hike is couched in terms of the earning power of a single individual making that wage providing for a family.  If that is the argument, then why isn't the minimum wage different for teenage students living at home.  Why isn't it different for a bunch of single men or women sharing a small apartment?  What if you have a chronic illness? Shouldn't you get paid more?

In fact none of those circumstances matter, because they ignore the justice for the employer, who needs to get productive labor from the work force to stay in business.  It's also unfair to consumers who will have to pay more.  It's unfair to those workers who will lose jobs.  It's unfair to the unemployed who might not get a chance to get a job.  If you are going to argue fairness why isn't fairness for those groups mentioned?

Finally, increasing the minimum wage just in the city limits is ludicrous.  Our city has a hard enough time competing because we live in California, but to lose jobs to Poway and El Cajon is egregiously stupid.  Do Democrats want their party to be synonymous with unemployment?  It would seem so.

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