On November 5, 2013, there will be a Public Question on The New Jersey Voter Ballot, asking voters:
“Do you approve amending the State Constitution to set a State minimum wage rate of at least $8.25 per hour? The amendment also requires annual increases in that rate if there are annual increases in the cost of living.”
And, below that is the Interpretive Statement:
“This amendment to the State Constitution sets the State minimum wage at the level in effect under current law, or $8.25 per hour, whichever is more. Cost of living increases would be added each year. Also, if the federal minimum wage rate is raised above the State rate, the State rate would be raised to match the federal rate. Future cost of living increases then would be added to that raised rate.”
For many, if not most people, this may seem like a fairly reasonable question to put to the voters; after all, the price of goods and services are, without a doubt, rising in cost; but, for me, this is like watching Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, play-out in real-time!
Allow me to explain:
While, minimum wage, on the surface, may seem like a compassionate public policy, it is actually a policy that keeps the skilled, and experienced workers, working, and freezes out the less-skilled, and first-time workers, by forcing business owners to pay a salary that is higher then they are willing to pay for a certain employee or service. It not only freezes out first-time and low-skilled workers, but it could, very well, cost certain current employees their jobs, if the employer no longer feels that a particular position is worth the price that they are being forced to pay. At some point, it could even cause businesses to close up shop, and take their businesses to another State, or even overseas, should the cost of doing business get too costly.
Then, there is the cost of living:
The increase in the cost of living has nothing, whatsoever, to do with business owners, or any private citizens; inflation is caused, solely, by our Federal Government. More specifically, it is caused by the incessant printing of money by The Federal Reserve, which “devalues our currency,” and therefore, causes everyone, including business owners, to pay more money for the same goods and services. The result of these failed policies is a rise in the cost of living, for every single American.
Ayn Rand described it as such:
“Inflation is not caused by the actions of private citizens, but by the government: by an artificial expansion of the money supply required to support deficit spending. No private embezzlers or bank robbers in history have ever plundered people’s savings on a scale comparable to the plunder perpetrated by the fiscal policies of statist governments.”
We are, sadly, deluding ourselves, if we believe that a minimum wage hike is actually going to help offset the higher cost of living. A minimum wage hike, forced upon business owners, and for all intents and purposes, will have the same result that higher taxes on businesses have: The business has to remain profitable, in order to stay in business; therefore, in order to pay for the increase of doing business, there will, undoubtedly, be an increase in the price of goods and services that they sell. Therefore, while, as a worker, one may be able to look forward to an increase in salary, as a consumer, they can also look forward to the increasing prices for the goods and services that they purchase.
Unfortunately, the continued pattern, in our country, seems to be, The Government creates some program or policy, which, subsequently, creates havoc in the economy; then, comes their predictable rhetoric that, it is all the fault of the free-markets, and those greedy Capitalists. Voters, sadly, and naively, fall for it, and another BIG GOVERNMENT program or Law is created to mask the last failed policy. And, the havoc continues!
Perhaps, instead of enabling voters to, potentially, amend The State Constitution, forcing employers to pay more money, we should include a question that asks voters if they even know what the root cause of inflation is; and, why, year after year, the cost of living, continually, rises.
But, beyond the economic implications of across-the-board minimum wage hikes, there is a moral question, as well, that should be asked; and, that is: by what moral justification do Legislators have, to vote away, or enable voters to vote away, “other people’s money”?
Regardless of what side of this issue a Legislator or voter stands, this is an absolute, and utter intrusion to the sovereignty of the business owner, and their legal right to “contract,” or negotiate a salary with “their employees.”
There is no doubt that, in this current economy, a lot of people are hurting. There is, also, no doubt that, the cost of living is rising, and wages aren’t we where we would like them to be; but, it is imperative, in my humble opinion, that we seek out the real root cause of these economic hardships, and hold those truly responsible accountable rather then, continually, voting for policies that, essentially, put a mere band-aid on the problem, and, in the long-run, actually exacerbates the problem.
Posted, originally at, The Original Republican