Law and a Living Wage – Religion and Politics

Do you ever feel like you’re saying the same thing over and over again? Like you’ve made the same argument a thousand times and people seem to just be ignoring it?

I’m not a person with delusions of grandeur. I know that many may just never see what I’m saying; and even though others much smarter than myself—people like Dr Thomas Sowell, and Dr Walter E Williams, and I’m sure many others, have made statements that express the same ideas, I’m sure it’s possible that many folks don’t hear them either.

Well, regardless all that, here I am again. I’m not going to give up on this message because it needs to be heard. In this case, rather than covering minimum wage, we’re talking about a living wage. More exactly, we’re talking about the government’s right and responsibility to create legislation causing to come into existence a required “living wage.”

That being said let me tell you that there’s a wider point that needs made—in fact, there’re at least three.

The first of these is that, government in the United States has more or less zero authority to control wages and therefor, doesn’t have responsibility to do so either.

Though the right to do something that’s spelled out somewhere in the base—or extended, if the base so allows—documents of state or smaller entity may exist, wisdom is not on the side of enacting legislation based on its being in place.

The first point more or less makes further conversation pointless, but even if the national government did have such authority, it would only matter if they controlled cost as well as wages. Why? Well, the answer is simple. As wages go up (which happen to be a part of the cost of production), prices must necessarily rise to make it possible for the pay increase to be feasible.

You can make the argument that, “business owners profit unreasonably on the backs of their employees.” Doing so would show just how little you understand business.

The reality is, in order to stay competitive, business owners must work to keep prices down. This is particularly true for the majority of companies in America, who’re small in size.

Operations that’re littler are often put in the position of having to compete with larger entities. The more sizable endeavors are generally able to reduce expenditures by cost-cutting methodologies not available to their less robust counterparts.

Think, for example, about a convenience store at a gas station (that makes pennies on the gas sales), larger parties in their space can do things like buy in bulk and warehouse overages. Further, the sheer number of sales made by the bigger shops make it possible for them to earn sufficient monies to more easily compensate their workers.

That also means, when you adopt minimum or living wage laws, mom-and-pops are at a distinct disadvantage, since they’ll never make the kind of volume as will their more massive competitors.

Here’s another interesting point. Technically, it’s purely academic, since in general, government has no authority at any level to mandate wages. That said, if you live where I do, the cost of living is relatively low (it’s even lower if you live out in the country, since land and the like are often a good deal cheaper). If you live in other parts of the country, this is assuredly not the case.

If you’re not tracking with what I’m saying, allow me to help you out. The result of the above, is that the minimum or living wage in one part of the country (or even in different areas in the same part of the nation) may be substantially different.

Ask the average person in San Diego, California, what a reasonable living wage (or minimum wage) looks like, and I promise you won’t get the same answer you’d get in Spokane, Washington. Further, if I were willing to do my homework, I’m betting I’d likely find there were places in California in which the required amount to live, would be substantially lower than in that city as well.

The point here is simple, but the truth is complex. Trying to institute a meaningful minimum or living wage on the federal level, would require an excessively complex and exhaustive table, that would need to be updated on a regular and ongoing basis as various areas became cheaper or more expensive places in which to find oneself.

At this point, you can make an argument that the feds might create laws or regulations requiring municipalities to have minimum or living wages. Even doing this would be somewhat pointless unless you made some sort of complex calculations upon which that minimum or living amount was based.

The better choice would be to have states, cities or even more fine-grained regions set their own rules regarding such things (without trying to create a national requirement).

To begin with, this is more or less how things are at present. Additionally, there’re real questions about whether such requirements are even lawful.

To make this worse, there’s a tendency to “low-ball” based on a number of factors. If I employ my nephew at my convenience store, so he can earn a little spending money to buy comics and candy, while gaining experience in a workplace, am I required to pay him minimum (or worse yet, a living) wage? What about a person who comes to sweep my floors?

Again though, all of this matters little if the cost of living increases along with “raises” in wages. That means, unless you wish for government to take over both what people are paid, and how much things cost, this problem will pretty much never go away.

And if you want to see real complexity, look at attempts to create “command economies.” Keep in mind that no such thing has survived for long, and all such attempts have resulted in poverty and misery.

You may think the idea of a government mandated minimum or living wage is reasonable. As for me, I don’t. You can see from what I’ve said in this article why that’s the case. Do you have ideas to make things “better?” I’d be willing to hear them. Keep in mind though, I’ve heard more than a few, and people far more intelligent than me, have likely heard a good many on top of the ones I’ve encountered.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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