I just heard on the news this morning (accidentally while looking for today's weather), that California's politicians approved a $15 per hour minimum wage. They call it "economic justice". I call it "economic illiteracy". California politicians say they want to "be an example to the rest of the nation". OMG help us!
This is a sad example of "What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen", which the great economist Frédéric Bastiat wrote about over a hundred years ago. The benefit to those who get those $15 per hour jobs is highly visible and highly touted in the Political Theater. What remains invisible and are all the jobs that are lost when companies have to cut the bottom-end and entry-level jobs in order to pay the raised wages. What is not seen are the entry level jobs and new small business that simply never get started because labor costs are too high.
What is hidden from view is the fact that higher labor costs force companies to automate much of their entry-level jobs that formerly were a step up for many of the most needy in our society. The automation we encounter at gas pumps and grocery store check-outs is a direct result of minimum wage laws. When government uses force to impose higher wage prices on business, owners and managers look for ways to cut costs. Automation is one way to cut labor costs. Minimum wage means jobs will be cut. The other invisible cost is the necessary increase in end prices to consumers - that mostly hurts those who can least afford it - the elderly, the disabled, and the poor.
And we sill haven't learned. Liberals haven't learned. Conservatives haven't learned.
The Left claims to care about the poor and downtrodden and "economic justice". Yet they mostly care about what LOOKS like a good idea. Never mind that minimum wage laws hurt the most poor and the most helpless in society. Leftists wring their hands over the growing gap between the 1% and the 99%, yet minimum wage laws create and feed that unnatural divide between the haves and have-nots, a divide which the free market could NEVER create on its own.
The Right claims to be in favor of limited government and free markets. But, they contradict that principle by their belief in the need for a "mixed" or "controlled" economy. The minimum wage laws expand the power of Big Brother, and enable more and more regulations to be piled on top of the small businesses that the Right Wing claims to support.
Sorry folks, you can't make the world better with force.