The State of California has increased its legal minimum wage, and now there is pending legislation to increase the legal federal minimum wage for the USA. It is illegal to pay workers less than the legal minimum. As any student of economics knows, prices are associated with quantities, and when there is change in a price such as a wage, there is also a change in the quantity supplied and the quantity demanded. The law of demand in economics tells us that with higher prices, people buy less quantity and hire fewer inputs, including labor. The quantity supplied, those who want to work at the higher wage, increases, creating an unemployed surplus of labor. Some employers donít hire few workers, but rather cut back on benefits, or they pass on the extra cost to consumers and create a loss for them.
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
Nevertheless, partisan democrats, welfare-state liberals, pseudo-progressives, union tyrants, and others who think government can create reality are pushing hard for a minimum wage. But they are too narrow in their thinking. The minimum wage covers only employees. It leaves out the self-employed. Some owners of small shops work long hours and barely have enough revenues to cover expenses, leaving them with low earnings. Why should a person whose business yields the owner less than the minium wage be discriminated against? How progressive is that?
Some Congress-personae realize this and are pushing to include self-employed small business owners in the minimum wage, for the first time. Those who hire the self-employed are the customers. So the forthcoming legislation will require residents who live near a business that earns its owner less than the minimum wage to make minimum purchases each month from the store.
There are also low-income landlords who rent out run-down dwellings in bad neighborhoods at a low rental, or who have vacancies or high repair costs, who also get less than the minimum wage. The legislation will require tenants to pay a minimum rental so that the landlord too will be covered by the minimum wage. After all, itís unfair to let some low-income folks have a minium income and not others.
Economists have recognized that Americans have a low savings rate, and Congress will deal with that also. Once people enjoy higher minimum wages, they will be able to afford minimum savings, so the minimum wage legislation will include a minimum-savings requirement. But the economy also depends on consumer spending, so to make sure the economy keeps running on full steam, there will be a minimum spending requirement also. Minimum spending and minimum savings will ensure full employment and adequate national investment. Congress personae are slapping their foreheads and wondering why they didnít think of this solution previously.
People who save money should be rewarded, so the banks will have a minimum interest payment requirement, even for checking accounts. Corporations will be required to make minimum dividend payments to shareholders instead of selfishly keeping the profits as retained earnings.
To prevent the higher minimum wage from creating more unemployment, the legislation will include a minimum labor requirement. Economists who claim that higher minimum wages result in unemployment forget that government can create employment! Adults below the age of 63 will be required to work a minimum of 30 hours per week, unless they have a note from their doctor documenting that they are ill. But leisure is also a need, so the law raises the minimum vacation time to three weeks per year.
Many Americans are not adequately nourished, as they eat fatty, starchy, sugary, salty junk food with little nutritional value. There is little value in minimum incomes if people donít use the income to maintain their health. So Congress will also legislate a minimum vitamin law, requiring all Americans to take a minimum vitamin pill every day.
To maintain political support for these minimum standards, we need to consistently think in terms of minima. Congress will facilitate this with a minimum-number law. The minimum number will be one-half. All statistical figures will have to be equal to or greater than the minimum number.
What is more important to humanity than marriage? Yet many people are unhappy in marriage because the spouse is not fulfilling her or his minimum marital requirements. To make the legal minima comprehensive, Congress will mandate minimum marital relations. Perhaps this will also be progressively extended to partner-mates who are legally unable to marry.
If the minimum wage is beneficial, logic tells us that minima will benefit us in all these other areas also. Why have a legal minimum in just one aspect of life? The philosophy behind the minimum wage is that legislation can create reality. If that is the case, then we should create better reality in all aspects of life, not just wages. Itís silly to deprive us of minimal benefits when all we have to do is pass a law!
-- Fred Foldvary
Copyright 2007 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.
Foldvary: The Working Poor
Making a Living in Canada
Extremes of Inequality Are Bad for Humanity
Email this article Sign up for free Progress Report updates via email
What are your views? Share your opinions with The Progress Report:
Page One Page Two Archive Discussion Room Letters What's Geoism?