Friday, 23 June 2006

Minimum wage increase killed by US Senate

WASHINGTON POST -- GOP-run senate kills minimum wage increase
The Republican-controlled Senate smothered a proposed election-year increase in the minimum wage Wednesday, rejecting Democratic claims that it was past time to boost the $5.15 hourly pay floor that has been in effect for nearly a decade. . . "Americans believe that no one who works hard for a living should have to live in poverty. A job should lift you out of poverty, not keep you in it," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. He said a worker paid $5.15 an hour would earn $10,700 a year, "almost $6,000 below the poverty line for a family of three."

Unsurprisingly, not everybody agrees with Senator Edward Kennedy -- who in the course his interminable career has been on the wrong side of just about every issue in American politics. What Kennedy ignores here is that raising the minimum wage by law above what the market will bear makes it virtually impossible for hard workers who are worth less than that minimum to earn a toe-hold in the job market they're trying so hard to enter. And he ignores too that agreements freely made between employers and employees are none of his damn business. David Holberg at the ARI sums it up:
The Senate did well to vote against an increase in the minimum wage--and would have done even better if it had repealed it altogether.

The minimum wage constitutes government coercion against both employers and employees. By mandating a certain level of wages, the government violates the rights of both employers and employees to reach a voluntary agreement based on their own independent judgment of what is in their best interest.

Those who provide jobs have a right to set the wages they are willing to pay. And those who are willing and eager to work for relatively low wages--either because they are unskilled, inexperienced or would rather have a low-paying job than no job--have a right to do so.

In a capitalist system, the price of labor (i.e., wages) is determined in the same way as all other prices and as it should be: by the individual judgments and voluntary decisions of buyers and sellers.
LINKS: GOP-run Senate kills minimum wage increase - Washington Post
Minimum wage should be razed, not raised - David Holcberg, Ayn Rand Institute

TAGS: Politics-US, Economics, Minimum_Wage

1 comment:

  1. False axioms: all parties have perfect knowledge; all workers have the skill to negotiate their wages; all employers are willing to negotiate on an individual basis; employers will not collude to decrease wages; employees will not collude to increase wages.

    If labour outstrips demand and wages drop to a point where it is not possible to survive on the wage offered (and yet, no other jobs are available) then is it the governments responsibility to then make up the difference? If so, havn't you just played a zero-sum game?

    Personally I take the view the minimum wage respects human dignity. As 'fuzzy' as this might sound, it is a very real quantative measure of what we consider the minimum worth of a persons time. Below this point and we can assume that the individual does not have the capability to support themselves in a manner that we, as a society, has deemed acceptable.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.