The Short, Pithy, Minimum Wage Bon Mot I Should Have Said

For many, low wage jobs are the first rung on the ladder to success and prosperity.  Raising the minimum wage is putting the first rung of the ladder out of reach of many low-skilled Americans.

File this under "why I blog rather than do a lot of talking head cable shows."


  1. blokeinfrance:

    Have you noticed the correlation between minimum wage rates and youth unemployment? Eerie, innit?

  2. Bearster:

    The Statists never grasp that their power is only to destroy, not to create.

    They can prevent you from buying a good, or selling it, or building, or hiring, or whatever. But they cannot make goods, build buildings, or hire anyone.

    So they are always astonished (and promptly ignore the whole thing) when their attempt to "raise wages" turns out to reduce employment.

  3. bs footprint:

    What makes you think Statists want things to get better? Would anyone need them if things were great? Just sayin'.

  4. Evil Red Scandi:

    As far as the TV stuff goes... perfect practice makes perfect, but even bad practice can be useful :-)

  5. Payslip:

    When the whole world is dealing with recession and unemployment who has the time to think about racisim. It is gross on the part of the government machinery.

  6. me:

    @payslip those times are when racism is at its worst. But what does this have to do with a comment Warren wished he had made on T.V.?

  7. LoneSnark:

    You need to post here, on your blog, what you will be talking about a day or so before you go on TV. Then we can help you think of the questions you might be asked and think up these pithy remarks before you need to say them.

  8. jj:

    Nice line, I'll borrow it.

  9. CT_Yankee:

    You need to stop looking at the dark side. Unemployment is the cure for the commong traffic jam. Seriously, mimimum wages may be raising unemployment, lowering commuting traffic, thus reducing the need to build more roads. This must be good for the environment.

  10. caseyboy:

    Did you know that many union labor agreements have wage adjustments pegged to the minimum wage? As a result Congress can give their union constituents a raise simply by increasing the minimum wage. And since some union dues are a percentage of pay, the union bosses have more money to contribute to guess who? Need little racket don't you think? So what low skilled entry level folks can't get a job. They can't help their elected reps anyway.

  11. me:

    Hit the nail on the head there caseyboy

  12. MarkH:

    You were great. It was kinda like talking to a brick wall, though.

  13. Rob:

    The pro-min-wage guy was happy to point out you bought machines that were made by people -- a sort of downstream effect of wage law.

    He wasn't worried about downstream effects when talking about the other effect of wage law on business. Your business had to automate, cut jobs out. The technology is there to make that fit. Other businesses may simply choose to raise prices. And raising prices raises the cost of living, thus making a living wage harder to achieve, and certainly illustrates how it can't actually be mandated.

    It's a horrible non-solution to the problem of poverty.

  14. derek:

    Warren, I just watched your bit on Stossel. I thought you did well.

    Rob, it's interesting that the pro-min-wage guy (PMW?) praised the purchase of the machine as "stimulus" or whatever, but no one made the point that this purchase is only good for high-skilled, high-paid workers at the expense of the people the law is supposed to help.

  15. Pat Moffitt:

    I had always been impressed by Chruchill's ability to deliver his short devastating retorts. While still impressed I came to learn Churchill while luxuriating in a long hot baths would think of all manner of insult and then formulate the perfect reply. He would then patiently await the perfect situation to use them.

    So instead of using all your pithy responses for your blog-- take some of your best and hold them and wait for the perfect time and place. It will make you look like a genius---- it worked for Churchill anyway.

  16. Don Cox:

    How about zero wages?

  17. Spiff:

    Zero wages, Dan? Then you're an intern.

  18. ruralcounsel:

    Zero wages? There are some people whose labor is worth just that, Don. Some folks who actually cause more harm than good, and should be paid a negative wage.

    Wages should ideally reflect the value of the work that is performed. In apprenticeships or internships, the cash wage is zero because the laborer is being paid in experience, exposure to the expertise of others, and the opportunity to learn. Of course, the basic premise is that this period will end and the volunteer will have developed additional skills with which to establish their own profitable career.

    Funny, but before there were minimum wage aws (yes, Virginai, there was such a time) people weren't exploited by being forced to work without pay (we're discussing labor markets here, not the institution of slavery, which is a totally different topic). If employers offered work for zero wages, they'd quickly learn a lesson in economics analogous to the merchant who offered their goods but at an infinite price. No takers.

  19. Steve:

    Just viewed your appearance on Stossel, and thought you did very well, no pithy comments required, your simple examples worked very well.

  20. Rob H:

    As a teenager oh so many years ago, I worked several jobs that were minimum wage. These wages were next to nothing, but it was better than nothing. I used this money to gas up the car, take girls out on (cheap) dates, pay for my skiing, and other fun stuff. I now have two teenaged boys, one old enough to work. The oldest cannot find a job because places like McDonalds and the multiplex have to pay a "living wage", whatever that is. Back in the day, when you went into McDonalds or Wendy's the place was crawling with teenaged workers. Not so anymore. Even before the economic downturn, employees at these places were olders, folks supplementing their family income. If i were an employer and had a hiring decision to make, I'd hire the adult over the teenager alomst every time. When i was a teenager, managers didn't have this choice. Adults wouldn't work for $2.10/hr, but a teenager would. Managers now have options. These types of jobs were never meant to be careers, they were meant to be a beginning, a chance to learn how to work for someone, and then move on. We are now beginning to face a reailty that many young adults (19-21) will have never worked for someone and I think this is going to cause issues for them and their employers.

  21. Elizabeth:

    Scotland has a "minimum wage" scale: 16 - 17 year-olds are at the low end, 18 - 21 year-olds in the middle, and the group who are aged 22 and up at the high end. It makes sense to me to have three "tiers" rather than a one-size-fits-all system.
    Just thought I'd share that.