Monthly Archives: January 2015

Minimum Wage

For much of our history, since the enactment of a national minimum wage; states have seen fit to enact their own minimum wage laws while the federal minimum wage has lagged behind. One rationale for this is that what might be an adequate minimum wage in Mississippi is significantly different than one for New York; reason being these are two different economies with different cost of living and a host of other differences.
Governor Cuomo has recently acknowledged the validity of this approach by proposing a minimum wage in New York City of $11.50 and in the rest of New York State of $10.50.
Applying this same rationale to the rest of New York State would require recognition by the Governor that the cost of living on Long Island and the downstate counties of Westchester and Rockland is more than 60% above that of Buffalo. For that matter, even within New York City, there are diverse economies.
Who benefits from a minimum wage? Contrary to the belief of many people, those persons struggling to find a job, feed and provide shelter for their family are not the beneficiaries of a minimum wage. They are its victims.
The imposition of a minimum wage means that if you are a person with few skills, little or no employment experience and in a market where there is a high level of unemployment, you will not be able to find a job because a prospective employer will not be able to higher you at your marketable value. You will be turned away time after time until you become discouraged and become permanently marginalized, with your only hope of survival limited to looking for handouts, working outside the law (under the table) with minimal if any protections, or resorting to a life of crime.
Not only will you be marginalized, but so might the surrounding communities in which you and numerous others live. When wages in a community drive up the prices that people must pay for goods and services, the unemployed and those on a fixed income have less discretionary income and that effects the entire community.
Suggestions have been made that local governments should be able to set their own minimum wages, but even if that were allowed, it would not address the differences that exist within the counties, towns or villages because it would not take into account the different skill levels of residents within those communities, and as Governor Cuomo has so aptly stated, this could lead to a “chaotic situation.”
And so it would for those who seek control of the economic decisions that personal freedom and a free market provide. To a statist, freedom is chaos.