Someone here – I think it was Rick – had asked me to write about the controversy over a living wage. I’ve avoided it because every time I state economic facts (remember, there’s a reason they call economics the dismal science) some lefty blogger links me saying I want poor people to die or some similar excreta. For instance, the post called “If you don’t work you die” – which applies to society as a whole, i.e. a society that doesn’t produce enough to support itself will die out – got some left chickie (might have been male, I didn’t check. Was still a chickie.) ranting how I should have been a Nazi prison guard.
But this article finally got me to tackling the whole “living wage” controversy, because the article itself and the interviews with the people are so full of unmitigated fail that… well…
Let’s start by stating my goal: I would like everyone to make a living wage working at whatever they want to or are best at. I’d like it to start with me, frankly, because thought I’m doing all right, if you parse out my hours weekends and evenings and all I’m making far less than that. But of course, I have a hope of escape, or at least a hope of supporting myself from all this hard work in my old age, when work slows down. (I have no illusions I’ll ever be able to retire.) And I do realize fast-food and low level retail workers can’t. And I wish they could from the bottom of my heart. But—
But economics is a science, which means it’s something that studies nature to discover its laws. This means our laws cannot change nature. You can’t legislate economics, any more than you can legislate the weather. For instance, I would love it for it to rain only at night because then when we go anywhere during the day it would always be sunny. Also, could we get snow to melt after a few hours of looking scenic? I hate walking in subzero weather. And so many elderly die from extremes in weather. We should make the temperature 62 degrees year around. Think how much we’d save on fuel, too. Why wouldn’t you do that? What do you have against the elderly and the poor.
Because it doesn’t work. Because the government in DC can pass all the laws it wants, but the weather still will do exactly what it will do.
Now imagine that the government could affect the weather in a limited way. Say, shave off the hardest cold and the worst heat. Wouldn’t that be great?
No. Pray they never do. Why? Because while it might produce the “desired” result in a limited way, in a limited area, over time it will cause much more damage in other places. Because the weather system is interconnected, dependent on myriad factors some of which we don’t know yet, and if you push one way to make it the way you want, you’re going to cause disaster elsewhere. And if you’re callous enough not to care what happens elsewhere, yet the disaster will eventually come around to you, too.
And that’s sort of what the living wage is like.
There's more at the link. The comments from her readers are also excellent in many cases. Thanks, Sarah!
What are you waiting for? Go read.