The shallowness of liberalism

By Tom Quiner

That’s a harsh headline.

I know some great people who hold liberal views, and they are not shallow people. In fact, so very many of them are bright, caring people that I hesitate to describe their worldview as shallow.

But how can I not, in light of the silliness of the president’s State of the Union address, and its aftermath?

The president says the way to increase jobs is to increase the cost of labor by increasing the minimum wage by $1.75 an hour. The MW is currently $7.25. The president wants to boost it to $9 by 2015. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, this comes on the heals of a 41% increase in the MW since President Obama took office.

Does anyone really think this will increase jobs?

Let’s say you own a small business, maybe a restaurant. You have ten employees who work an average of 35 hours a week.

Obama’s increase in the minimum wage will cost you an extra $61.25 per employee per week.

That’s an extra $612.50 per week in payroll for you.

Extrapolating further, this increase in the MW costs the owner an extra $31,850 each year.

Where’s the money going to come from? Can he increase his prices to recoup it? Doubtful, especially in the stagnant Obama economy.

If not from higher prices, where will the bucks come from? Mr. Obama doesn’t know this, but small businesses run on a tight margin. The owner of our hypothetical business is going to have to  cut back. He’ll have to let at least three employees go to make up for the government-imposed increase in his labor costs.

I go back to my harsh headline. An increase in the minimum wage is illogical if you desire to increase employment. Mr. Obama exhibits shallow thinking on the surface. There is an underlying political motivation, though. He wishes to support labor unions who desperately want to see the MW increased. Why should they care? After all, union members earn far more than the minimum wage.

Here’s why, according to the late, great Nobel laureate economist, Milton Friedman:

[Unions] “favor an ever higher minimum wage as a way to protect the members of their unions from competition.”

Does Obama care about folks with low skills? Maybe he does, but the MW doesn’t. Again, as Mr. Friedman points out:

“The minimum wage requires employers to discriminate against persons with low skills. No one describes it that way, but that is in fact what it is.”

Liberal thought demands that small businesses pay someone what they need rather than what they’re worth. What shallow thinking. If you do it that way, several things happen. The low skill person has less incentive to develop new, more marketable skills since they are not being paid what they’re really worth.

As a result, the employer is forced to either subsidize his employee’s low skills and pay him more than he’s worth; or else fire the employee; or else go out of business when government-mandated wages become more than the business can bear.

That raises a question: is a person better off employed at $7.25 or unemployed at $9 per hour? The president and his party, along with the mainstream media, refuse to address this question.

Rather, they devote endless air time discussing the Republican response by Senator Marco Rubio. Instead of discussing what Mr. Rubio says, they focus their energies on the fact that he took a drink of water during his speech.

CNN asked if this would be a “career ender” for Marco Rubio?

The president presents an illogical policy initiative, that the way to increase employment is to club small business owners over the head by increasing labor costs.

And all anyone on the left talks about is that Senator Rubio took a drink of water when he got thirsty.

The shallowness of liberalism.


  1. Lisa Bourne on February 14, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    So the left’s riding a ridiculous lightning strike of ridicule on Rubio for his taking a drink of water …. merely the latest sorry episode in their translucent and lame campaign to pretend their emperor walks on same …

    • quinersdiner on February 14, 2013 at 5:12 pm

      Rome is burning, and all the left talks about is Rubio took a sip of water. Perhaps he shouldn’t have taken a sip, and should have instead used those few drops to douse the flames.

  2. Bob Zimmerman on February 15, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Liberal America’s love affair with Obama and his “vision” defies logic at every level. In his first term, in nearly every facet of his presidency he served up a steaming pile. Incredibly, last November America went back to the BS buffet and got in line for seconds! Truly, God help us.

    • quinersdiner on February 15, 2013 at 9:55 am

      The new mantra of the Democrats is now “we do not have a spending problem.” Outgoing Iowa Senator has joined the chorus.

  3. Bob Vance on February 15, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I am surprised you would select a restaurant for your example. Wait staff combines a base wage plus tips. A $9 an hour minimum wage does not apply to them directly. I have a niece who worked at a low end diner throughout high school and still managed to make $400 to $500 each week working part time because she worked hard making sure the orders were right and she was nice to the customers. Of course she had a few who were cheapskates, but overall she received great tips. When she went to college, she got a job in a much nicer restaurant and still works there even after getting her degree. She is saving up to open up her own restaurant.

    After she left the diner, a lot of her regular customers stopped coming in. The waitress who replaced her was nice enough, but she could never quite get the orders right. He ended up firing her, but the damage was already done. Hiring the right person for the job (even those with low skills) is crucial in any small business.

    Most small businesses fail because of poor management decisions.

  4. Bob Vance on February 15, 2013 at 10:53 am

    “I couldn’t bring myself to watch the State of the Union address last night.” It’s like giving a restaurant a bad review without even bothering to sit through a meal there. Wouldn’t that be considered “shallow”?

    I am a registered Republican because I am for smaller, more efficient government. I am not a social conservative, because I think government should stay out of our personal lives. I do not see Democrats as the enemy – I think they just see things from a different perspective than I do. I think the problem with politics is that we have become so divided. To my conservative friends, I am seen as a liberal. To my liberal friends, I am seen as a conservative. Why has compromise become such a bad word?

    It was July 2007 that the federal minimum wage was increased to $5.85 from $5.15 (first change in ten years). It went to $6.55 a year later and to $7.25 in July 2009. Teen unemployment changed little during those times. Of the things in the speech, I don’t think this is the issue that will decide elections in 2014 and 2016. To dwell on it only confirms the stereotype that Republicans are only for the rich.

    As for Marco Rubio’s water bottle incident, it was strange and that is what people like to talk about. I am sure SNL will have a sketch on it. I think him tweeting a picture of the bottle was good PR, but I think he needs to move on and stop talking about it. If anything, it could be turned into an endearing quality – after all, who hasn’t done something that was regretted later. It only shows he is human.

    • quinersdiner on February 15, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      In fact, hikes in the minimum wage hurt the people it purports to help. Democrats care more about feelings than results. In their mock benevolence, young people, especially minorities, are going to be hurt. This bill is a big deal if they get it through because of the harm it inflicts on people with low skills.

      • xPraetorius on March 5, 2013 at 10:25 pm

        This has been a pet peeve of mine for years! Democrats are constantly promulgating laws and policies that sound good, but that ACTUALLY hurt people. REAL people.

        Conservatives are left with policy proposals that tell the minimum wage-earner that with hard work, some study and marketable skills, he’ll be on a much better footing.

        The worker, dismayed, says, “I’ll take the increase in my minimum wage,” and votes Democrat.

        Then, when the minimum wage-earner gets laid off, he becomes an even MORE automatic Democrat vote 00 to be sure to get all his OTHER freebies! — and even FURTHER sinking his chances of becoming a self-sufficient, productive member of society.0

        I have to hand it to the left…they know their human nature, and they are exploiting it to the max to accumulate power in their grubby hands!

        • quinersdiner on March 6, 2013 at 6:01 am

          You correct in one sense. They know human nature and how to manipulate people’s feelings. However, they do not understand how human nature is the underlying engine of the marketplace, of supply and demand. They truly believe that “smarter minds” can cheat these laws to create the socialist utopia to which the aspire.

  5. Bob on February 15, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    What frosts me is the way the lamestream media discuss the minimum-wage debate as if it were purely a matter of opinion whether a hike in the MW will increase unemployment and hurt low-skilled workers. This is not matter of opinion; the historical evidence is pretty unequivocal that any increase in the MW will have those effects. Yet the LSM blather on as if it’s purely a matter of opinion, unsupported by evidence.

    The same people who lecture us endlessly to the effect that we can’t legislate morality (e.g., by passing laws to protect the unborn) actually believe that they can legislate prosperity, by simply raising the minimum wage. Tell me again, who is it that’s out of touch with reality?