November 13, 2007
Originally published December 17, 2004
Here is the understatement of the year.
The argument against raising the minimum wage has always been that it tends to reduce the number of jobs available at the low end of the scale; however, since government demand for services is relatively inelastic, increased costs are generally greeted with shrugs rather than with layoffs. This suggests to me that while the living-wage programs may work, after a fashion, for the small number of employees they cover, extending them to the entirety of the private sector, where demand is elastic and cost control is more critical, is likely to be problematic at best.
I wouldn't call it "problematic." I'd call it "FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE!!!" Only starry-eyed whiners and people who already suck contentedly on the government teat believe that a "living wage" is practical in the business world.
Government doesn't HAVE to be efficient. It gets paid whether it does anything well or not, so usually it DOESN'T do anything well, and it just hires more people not to do the work it's already not doing. And everybody gets a raise.
It's not the same in business. If it costs you more to run your business than you can bring into the till, you're gonna go broke. Period. Them's the rules. So, you pay employees what the business can afford to pay and still make a profit. Without a profit, NOBODY gets any wages.
And before I get a blast of shit from the usual commie trolls who lurk here, I don't want to hear about "sweat shops" and "worker exploitation." Sure, it happens. So does murder. I say it's an exception to the rule and smart businessmen value good employees. They don't want a trained, capable person walking out the door. (Unless that person is old and he writes a politically-incorrect blog. But... I digress from my central point.)
If you're good at your job and you don't think you're making enough money, BITCH about it and ask for a raise. If the boss says, "NO!," either accept that decision or walk. If you let yourself be shit on, that's YOUR fault, not the boss'.
I want to ask small business owners: How much is a good employee worth to you?
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