Minimum Wage Revisited

Kevin Williamson, at National Review, had a thought that’s only now percolating to the surface of thinking Americans and that still is avoided by the American Left.

Properly understood, raising the minimum wage—and having a minimum wage at all—is camouflage, something to talk about and fight about while we’re not talking about and fighting about the more important underlying issue.  Declaring that all American workers shall be paid at least $15 an hour is not the same as ensuring that all American workers produce $15 an hour worth of value, and, eventually, the disconnect between those two considerations must make itself felt.

That part is well understood, and that’s a part that is deliberately ignored by the Left.  But there’s this, too.

Krugman, Clinton, Sanders, et al., have a backward and primitive view of government.  For them and for their fellow Hobbesians, the Middle Ages never really ended, and the role of the sovereign is to distribute benefices and issue decrees.  Unhappy with your wages?  Petition the prince to decree that they shall be otherwise, and dare any gimlet-eyed economist to point out that the imperial tailor is skimping on the ermine.

Yeah.  Minimum wage mandates are just an excuse for governing by fiat, for substituting rule by law for rule of law.

Williamson took a more gentle position on that; he suggested that it’s a lack of understanding by minimum wage proponents of the facts of economics and of human complexity.

I don’t think the leadership of the Left is that ignorant, or that naïve.  They know full well the facts of economics and of human complexity.  That’s why they carefully elide those things enroute to their rule by (Left’s) law: minimum wage mandates are a tool, not a goal.

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