By Tom Quiner
I marvel at how often the policies of the Left hurt people. Worse, the people who impose them so often don’t care about the lack of compassion in their policies.
They ‘feel’ like these policies are good things, and that’s what matters. So when the people they tried to help are actually hurt, they turn a blind eye.
It is this mock benevolence that is so infuriating to conservatives.
The classic example of bad public policy is the minimum wage. Some hundred academic studies have been made on the impact of the minimum wage over the past two decades. A respected economist, David Neumark, American economist and a Chancellor’s Professor of Economics at the University of California, Irvine, dissected these studies. Eighty-five percent of these studies confirm common sense that compelling businesses to pay low-skilled labor more than they’re worth kills jobs, cuts hours, and bankrupts businesses.
The results are clear, says, Mr. Neumark:
“Minimum-wage laws have a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers.”
In other words, they lack compassion by suppressing entry level job opportunities for low skill workers, like black teenagers.
Before minimum wage laws were passed, black teens were more likely to hold jobs than their white counterparts.
Nobel-winning economist Milton Friedman said that, in-effect, minimum wage laws are “anti black:”
“The do-gooders believe that by passing a law saying that nobody shall get less than $2 an hour or $2.50 an hour, or whatever the minimum wage is, you are helping poor people who need the money. You are doing nothing of the kind. What you are doing is to assure that people whose skills are not sufficient to justify that kind of a wage will be unemployed.
“The minimum wage law is most properly described as a law saying employers must discriminate against people who have low skills. That’s what the law says. The law says here’s a man who … has a skill which would justify a wage rate of $1.50, $2.00 an hour. You can’t, you may not employ him. It’s illegal. Because if you employ him you have to pay him $2.50. Well, what’s the result? To employ him at $2.50 is to engage in charity. Now there’s nothing wrong with charity. But most employers are not in a position where they can engage in that kind of charity. Thus the consequences of minimum-wage rates have been almost wholly bad, to increase unemployment and to increase poverty. Moreover, the effects have been concentrated on the groups that the do-gooders would most like to help. The people who have been hurt most by minimum-wage laws are the blacks.”
This leads me the nexus of feel-good liberalism, San Francisco, with one of the highest minimum wages in the country. Next year, the wage will rise from $13 per hour to $15.
How is it working? As expected. Restaurants are closing. Low skilled workers are losing their jobs and being groomed for a lifetime of dependence upon the state.
Sixty restaurants have closed since September. The website, SFist, blames “the especially high cost of doing business in SF, with a mandated, rising minimum wage that does not exempt tipped employees.”
Michael Luca at Harvard Business School and Dara Lee Luca at Mathematica Policy Research researched the impact of the minimum wage on restaurants using Bay area data. Their findings? Every $1 increase in the minimum wage results in a 14% increase likelihood of an exit for 3.5 star restaurants.
California Governor, Jerry Brown, didn’t mask his lack of compassion for those who are victims of minimum wage policy:
“Economically, minimum wages may not make sense. But morally, and socially and politically, they make every sense because it binds the community together.”
Nothing binds a people together more than joining hands at the unemployment line and singing “Kumbaya.”