The N&O yesterday ran this syndicated column on the minimum wage. No matter how low the N&O lowers my expectations, they continue to stun me with the ignorant and incoherent scribblings they continue to print in their pages.
Some examples to illustrate the nature of the article:
The author raises the example of Sea-Tac, a small town near Seattle who raised their local minimum wage to $15/hr, and says there hasn’t been mass layoffs there. But all this tells us is that the local wage rate in this small community, whose local economy is anchored by the international airport there, was already paying most employees above $15 an hour. The author also readily admits that some local businesses have raised prices to cover the added expense of wage hikes; but her reaction? “Yawn.” She can’t be bothered with such details. Bottom line: Citing a small town example and implying that it would scale up to a national scale is intellectual malpractice.
Readers are then forced to plod through a few paragraphs about lawyers buying handbags and other nonsense, then the author gets to another point that laughably undercuts her own position (she’s just too naïve and ignorant to realize it):
Higher wages can be good for business. Because Oregon has a minimum wage well above that of neighboring Idaho, employers in the eastern part of the former are deluged with job seekers willing to drive across the border for a better deal.
Businesses in SeaTac report a surge in applicants attracted by the $15-an-hour wage floor. Employers now have their pick of the most motivated workers.
She concludes with this: “Obviously, setting the minimum wage is a balancing act, and a too high level would do more harm than good.” But she trusts the central planners to somehow be omniscient enough to set the precise wage for millions of people in the incredibly diverse and complex labor force so as to not do more harm than good. Such blind faith in the ruling class only leads to disaster.
Finally, and most importantly, the author fails – as do all other advocates of political control of wages – to justify why the political class should be empowered to criminalize voluntary labor agreements between citizens that happen to fall outside the state-approved terms.