Liddick: Raising the minimum wage is not the answer
February 11, 2014
Now we know what the party and President of "Hope and Change" are really peddling: helplessness. Exploitation. Oppression. Self-obsession. Resentment. Envy.
The president has recently made a fetish of the minimum wage, demanding that Congress raise it by more than 25 percent. He says it's vital to do this because the current amount is "not a living wage." And because as a progressive Democrat he considers low-wage workers too unmotivated to gain new skills, too stupid to recognize the implications of bad decisions and too devoid of the ambition that would help them climb the employment ladder to more rewarding positions, as generations before them have done. Instead, they need government help to survive in their miserable situation.
This attitude is also a filter for the recent Congressional Budget Office finding that Obamacare will drive marginal employees from the workplace — 2.5 million "full-time equivalent" workers over the next 10 years. Additional indications are that low-wage workers may decide to forego raises or even more lucrative full-time work due to the effect on the subsidies they will receive to buy healthcare — part of the continuing problem of the negative effects of the government's "direct payments to individuals" on our shrinking workforce, now at 63 percent of all those Americans able to work.
Democrat politicians and operatives, who embraced more positive CBO findings in 2009 and 2010 are now spinning like mad, desperate to turn dross into gold. Among the favorites? According to "Politifact," driving people from the workforce is beneficial since it will "increase the number of available jobs." Not to mention that people leaving the workforce lowers the measured rate of unemployment, making their idol the president look good.
According to Democrat Representative Mark Pocan, leaving the workforce is positive because unemployed people will be able to "tuck their children in at night." Columnist Froma Harrop thinks that "many workers will see not having to 'work for the man' to get health coverage as liberation." Others on the leftward side of life see the newly out-of-work as freed from their jobs, so they can "pursue their dreams."
More practical observers might ask, "how will they eat?" But in the enlightened days of Barack the Benevolent, such questions are meaningless. Democrats promise to pay those without work for however long they are without, because the unemployed deserve it. Progressives believe the unemployed are so not because they lack skills, education, ambition or a work ethic, but because they are victims: vicious, heartless employers have used them and cast them aside. The workers can do nothing without government assistance so help must be provided "to each, according to their need."
Democrats accuse anyone opposing this endless largess of hating the working class. They toil diligently to spread this notion far and wide, because political advantage is more important than truth, and because class warfare is the easiest route to it.
How will the government fund its munificence? By taking money from those Progressives seen as wicked exploiters: bankers, businessmen, entrepreneurs and the rest whose diligence have made our country wealthy and powerful. To the Left, these become rich by depriving others, so they now must be punished for the misery they have created. The "one-percenters" are greedy and underserving, Democrats continually tell us. Their gains are not a result of diligence, intelligence, hard work or wise investment; their fortunes are ill-gotten. They have robbed us of our due, and now — thanks to the government of Barack the Just — they will be made to pay "from each, according to their ability."
Lucid people will realize this approach will fail; it has failed every time it has been tried. Eastern Europe is littered with the remains of proofs, and currently France, Germany and the United Kingdom are exploring ways to eliminate, or at least restrict, this sort of madness.
The reason is simple: for government to spend a dollar, someone, somewhere must make it first. Take a dime away from the producer and he may grumble, but if business is good he will probably continue. Take a quarter away, and he may think twice about making more. Take 50 cents away, and he'll not only look for ways to hide income, he'll look for a friendlier business climate. Especially if the government is taking his profit to pay other people not to work.
None of which matters to the populist ideologues of the Democrat party. "Quit your job and read to your kids," they say. "We'll take care of everything." They hope we're so dull we won't pay any attention to the avalanche of woes their cynical policies are building up for our children, and theirs after them.
I wonder if they're right.
Morgan Liddick lives in Summit County.
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