If you’ve ever scrolled down to the dark basement of an AATTP article page like this, then you may have seen this quote from John Kenneth Galbraith; “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
Now, bear that in mind as you read on.
Yesterday’s edition of the Rush Limbaugh radio show found Red State editor-in-chief Erick Erickson filling Rush’s shoes for the day. We assume because the regular Moral Majority was passed out at his oxycontin dealer’s house.
In the clip below, Erickson says the following regarding the Fight for 15 group’s efforts to raise the minimum wage:
“What’s going on here is that, by the way, more than 95 percent of Americans make more than the minimum wage. You should know that. The minimum wage is mostly people who failed at life, and high school kids. I mean, look, I don’t mean to be ugly with you people…Look, if you’re a 30-something-year-old person, and you’re making minimum wage, you’ve probably failed at life. It is not that life dealt you a bad hand. Life does not deal you cards — it’s that you failed at life!”
Before we comment on any of that…absorb this little gem.
“I am not a libertarian. I am a conservative. I believe that there is some value in some sort of a social safety net. But I do not believe that we should be forced to pay you a minimum wage! I am opposed to the minimum wage. You want to cure unemployment, get rid of the minimum wage!”
This is where we point out that when David Koch ran for vice-president in 1980, on the Libertarian ticket, one of his and the party’s foundation platforms was the abolition of the minimum wage. They were laughed out of town by Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives alike.
Now, as glaringly contradictory as Erickson’s former statement was — wrap your mind around this one. Speaking of the government contracting to unions, who set their wages based upon a value above the minimum wage, at whatever its present level:
“…so, you raise the minimum wage, when it only affects 3 to 4 percent of people nationwide, and suddenly union workers get even more money!”
Yeah. Absorb that contradiction, if you dare. Which brings us back to the first part.
Republican friends — dear, dear Republican friends. Everybody’s wage is based on the minimum wage. As Erickson himself states elsewhere, it’s a simple matter of supply and demand. Which any fourth-grader can understand. And here’s what people like Erickson are really afraid of, what they don’t want you thinking about:
When minimum-wage workers get a raise, everybody gets a raise.
Reason: If minimum wage is $5 an hour, and you (as an employer) want to attract a better or more qualified class of people than “those who failed at life,” then you have to offer more than $5 an hour. Say, $8 an hour, or about 60 percent more. If the minimum wage goes up to $10 an hour, you still have to offer 60 percent more to get your higher qualified “better class of people.” So now, you’re paying $16 an hour for more qualified employees. Now, raise the minimum to $15 an hour, and you’re paying $24 an hour for more qualified employees.
So, the “better employees” got a raise from $8 to $24 an hour, because the “failures” got a raise from $5 to $15.
And that’s why we say it, and it’s why these people are so afraid of a minimum wage increase: When minimum-wage workers get a raise, everyone else gets a raise, too.
And that’s before you factor in the boon to small business before all that money comes back to the American people, instead of shipping off to the Caymans through corporate bank accounts and Wall Street. If minimum-wage workers get an 80 percent increase in pay, almost every hourly employee in the country gets a similarly massive raise in pay.
That’s a pretty strong incentive for poverty profiteers to fight the minimum wage.
Then again, it all kind of goes back to the very birth of “classic libertarianism,” and its foundational document on labor. Just remember this little summary of one of the core, founding tenants of libertarianism the next time you hear someone say they want to abolish the minimum wage.
Libertarians and the Thomas Malthus Population Theory, from Wiki:
“Adopting Thomas Malthus’s population theory, [Libertarians] saw poor urban conditions as inevitable, as they believed population growth would outstrip food production; and they considered that to be desirable, as starvation would help limit population growth.
They opposed any income or wealth redistribution, which they believed would be dissipated by the lowest orders.”
Moral justification for selfishness, indeed.
Welcome to Libertarianism, Lower Orders.
H/T: Media Matters