Thursday, January 26, 2006

Policies of Pity

In The Washington Times, Adrienne Washington reminds us how little politicians and reporters understand (or care) about economics, business, and the real world.
It's about time workers, many of them single mothers and struggling students, got a tiny break. People want to work, but they need decent jobs with a livable wage and basic benefits for their labor.
No matter how nice that sounds, why should those people be prohibited from taking jobs that aren't as high as some pretentious politicians decide? I don't need to support a family of four and "benefits" are merely alternative forms of payment. Instead we'll increase the struggle by making it harder for people to work and legislating how their wages should be paid. (Already have health insurance? Too bad, we're going to make you buy another policy whether you want it or not.)
You've got to wonder how many well-heeled politicians could make it on minimum wage...
I bet many of them did when they started out.
A person who works 40 hours a week at the minimum wage of $5.15 an hour will earn $10,700 a year, which is $5,000 below the poverty line for a family of three.
So now they're making policy based on a theoretical single mother with two children as your lowest possible employee? There's no reason to expect that every single minimum wage employee is a single parent with two children. Haven't these people heard of teenagers? Minimum wage jobs exist because that's what the labor is worth, not to fund a theoretical sympathetic person's lifestyle.
Bad for business? What could be better for businesses than people having more money to buy their products and services?
Yeah, it's really good for business when you take two dollars away from them and give one back. Thanks be to the almighty government which decided not to steal everything I had after all.

Maryland follows at least 12 states and the District in raising pay rates to help those who need it most. To their credit, these jurisdictions are not waiting for federal crumbs. So, an estimated 50,000 Maryland workers might be able to buy more beans and rice or cereal and milk to feed their families by this time next month.

And some economists reportedly predict there will be a ripple effect as employers grant raises to those currently earning above minimum wage.

Meanwhile, the cost of gas, utilities, food, clothing, health care and tuition continue to skyrocket. Let's not even talk about the inability of the working poor to find a decent roof over their heads. Area shelters struggle to house the homeless, who are increasingly working-class families who cannot afford their rent.

So the ripple effect on wages is ok, but the ripple effect on prices is incomprehensible?

Maryland, as you may remember, is the state that recently decided to increase the cost of living for its poorest residents and discourage new business development.

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