Deconstructing the "Fight for $15"

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AND SO I BEGIN…

A tiny bit of background for those few who are not yet aware of the fight by many progressives to implement a national $15 per hour minimum wage.  The theory is that a $15 an hour minimum wage will permit a person working 40 hours a week – presumably at one job with benefits too – to survive in a “normal” if still somewhat-austere life.

Some on the Left – and this guy, below, is clearly of the Left despite his being richer than even my occasion avarice-filled dreams – push this new wage with near-religious fervor.  Just listen to his discussing such a wage with high-sounding words and hopes.





(HT WhaleOil)

Like most Leftist policies, however, there’s some basic math that doesn’t get done.  Most importantly, a fundamental economic lesson:

If you make something more expensive to do, you get less of it done.

This is the theory behind ever-higher taxes on cigarettes (I was at the store the other day and someone in front of me bought a pack: $7-and-change; I’ve never smoked, but at a pack-a-day habit that’s some serious coin literally going up in smoke annually … over $2,500.  That actually formed the basis of a conversation at work years ago; a smoker lamented his lack of spare cash – we encouraged him to do the math on his two-plus pack a day habit: he’d never done the math, was astonished and, a few years later, he’d finished the process of quitting smoking entirely!)


(Aside: Here’s a great pamphlet by Sowell on Supply Side – “trickle down” – economics.)

It’s the simple and plain driver behind alcohol tax hikes, and hikes on the costs of other behaviors Leftists want to disincentivize.  Yet… and this is part of the dissonant intellects of the Left… they don’t grasp that the same process they use to disincentivize things they don’t like works to disincentivize things they do like.  Like people working… or do they like people working?  *pondering*  I’ll get to that.  In parallel, there’s another fundamental economic lesson:

The more expensive something gets, the greater the incentive to find a substitute.

Hence, the rise in automation.  Between robots, software bots, etc., there are multiple credible studies that – within the next decade or two – predict that automation could displace vast numbers of people.




NOTHING IS FREE

In an excellent essay, Bastion of Liberty’s Francis W. Porretto discusses the fact that nothing is free:

What Schiffers received at a discount had to come from somewhere: specifically, the uncompensated labor of others. It only appeared “free” to him because the identities of those uncompensated others were hidden from him. And so it is with governments.

Which, actually, is what I tell my kids.  They hear adds for “Buy three tires and get the fourth free”.  Or “Buy more than $Y in shoes and shipping is free”.  And so on.  Or an ad for an app… I remember the ads for Viber – a Skype clone – from a few years ago where people are urging their friends to sign up, and one person being recruited asks “It’s free, right”?

Nothing is free.  No matter what, the cost of what appears to be free is somehow baked into the price or, somehow, money will be made.  My wife, whose whole family is overseas, signed up for Viber and urged her folks to sign up too.  She once said, to my skeptical look, “It’s free”!  To which I asked “Do they employ people?  Do those people get paychecks and benefits?  Do they pay for computers and telephones and electricity and a facility where these people work?”  Yes.  “Then how do they pay for all these things, and doubtless more, if they’re not getting money somehow?”

So… nothing is free (occasionally, not even charity, like when you find out later that it comes with a "You owe me" string attached...).  A lesson the older child gets already, and the younger one… hopefully will soon.  And especially with tech, if it’s free, then you’re the product.  (I find it dissonant that my wife, born and growing up in the USSR, was so casually dismissive of the giving-away of her privacy.)



GENEROUS… WITH OTHER PEOPLES’ MONEY

I am all for charity and helping people.  As one small example, every Shabbat evening before lighting the candles I give the kids a quarter to put into the tzedakah box we have.  To give them a dog in the hunt I tell them that, when it’s full, they decide the charity to which it goes.  At their Hebrew/religious school they also start each weekly class session with giving to the school’s tzedakah box.

As an aside here are some of the charities & causes I support / to whom I encourage people to give:











And, of course, others too.

Regardless, this is charity that we give.  More importantly, this is what we choose to give.

Contrast the above appeal to give charity against things like welfare “charity” that comes from taxes confiscated at the point of a gun.  Government-mandated raises are munificence bestowed by some who take from others – not through taxation in this case, but regulation.



THE CALCULUS

Let’s war-game this out a little.

A minimum wage hike is proposed.  What happens?
  • The “rich” business owners are excoriated
  • Politicians and economists and business owners who point out the economic consequences are derided as “selfish” and “heartless” 
  • Minimum wage hike advocates paint themselves as selfless protectors of the weak and downtrodden (and heart-string-tugging cases are put forth to strum the emotional case)
  • On-the-fence voters see people being “helped” by this policy
If it fails to pass?
  • The forces that stopped it are – universally – painted as evil for not wanting to help out others
  • The Left makes great hay from its efforts saying “we tried” and mobilizing to try again for more power to try it again next time (which, as an aside, is why the Left so often wins – they’re relentless and, convinced they’re The Anointed and therefore right, do not take rejection as a signal to re-examine but work to overrule that rejection)
If it passes?
  • The Left points to its successes and brags about how they’re helping people
  • Workers exult… until the consequences hit
  • By the time those consequences hit, the news cycle has moved on
And thus, the inevitable consequences stay, for the most part, hidden – especially with the enemedia controlling the information flow about the aftermath.  The moment a minimum wage hike is proposed it becomes a no-lose situation for the Left.



CONSEQUENCES

The real-world impact of minimum wage hikes happens time and again; After Just Six Months NYC Businesses Slashing Jobs and Hours over Min Wage Hike.  When the wage rises, hours get cut and schedules played-with.  And, again, the enemedia highlights the eeeeevil corporations profiting “on the backs of the little guy”.

Businesses struggle and workers suffer because of this.  Other businesses fail to get launched at all as people weigh the costs of a start-up vs. the potential rewards.  Employment suffers, and people go onto the dole.

And then the real purpose is revealed: get people onto public assistance.

(HT Harrolds)

It’s all part of buying votes:


Realistically, it's about turning people into lab rats pulling the "correct" lever in exchange for pellets (EBT cards) and a cage (Section 8 housing) every two years.

And virtue signaling.  As in “Look how generous we are helping our fellow man”!  The fact that they’re helping people – trapping them into dependency more like it – by stealing by force never enters their moral equation.  They’re just plain better people, so whatever they do is justified and moral.  The dopamine rush from the adulation minimum wage advocates get is an added bonus.



WE NEED NEW ARGUMENTS

The rational, fact-based economic argument we attempt to make fails, and fails every time.

We need to argue from emotion: how can we develop arguments that make people react negatively to taking from one to give to another?  In parallel, we need to create arguments that highlight the immorality of it – the compulsion of charity… which makes it, of course, not charity but plunder.  And worse, channeling Walter Williams, the enslavement of the output of one person’s labor for the benefit of another.



After all, a worker not making enough can quit, or can approach their boss about more hours, or ask what skills / accomplishments could be developed / realized that would increase their hourly rate.  A mutually-beneficial training & development plan can be discussed.  On both sides, these are voluntary – while a new law is involuntary and enforced by implied violence without appeal and applied without remorse.

How can we use argumentation Judo – Judo being an art that often uses an opponent’s force against them – to flip the equation so that it is those who are proposing such laws are revealed to be desirous of using violence to steal from those who produce?  How can we reveal that their desire to do so is fueled not by charity, but by vote-buying, and thus a selfish motive?

(Image source)


If we can do this, and reveal the minimum wage hike advocates to be implicit plunderers and enslavers of others for their own self-congratulatory emotion benefit… if we can pull the mask off their selfish motives and their intent to use stolen money to buy votes, we can change the nature of the debate… then – in the chaotic mental state of people not sure what to believe and torn by different emotional currents – we can bring up the economic arguments along with anecdotal stories of people who, formerly fans of such wages, were displaced or otherwise negatively impacted by the wage increase.  Hammer home the historical evidence that these wage hikes have created every time, and are being not just glossed over, but ignored, by the proponents.  Thus, we can add, they know what they do yet persist in doing it – highlighting their actual nefarious characters.

The above is no small task, but that should seal the debate in our favor.  And the beauty of it is – if it can be achieved – is that once people understand the nature of the Left on this matter, they’ll start questioning the Left’s Narrative on other matters.

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I do not compromise with cancer; I do not find common ground with gangrene.  The Left, the Globalists, and Islam must be fought and destroyed or America, Israel, and Western Civilization itself will be destroyed.



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