Don’t Raise The Minimum Wage

William Edwards Retired Entrepreneur
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News flash to Americans — The middle class doesn’t earn the minimum wage, they pay the minimum wage. People who use minimum wage workers to clean their houses, do their laundry and mow their lawns are middle class people. It’s the middle class who eat at fast food restaurants and shop at discount stores, not the upper class.

The upper class, the 1 percent Bernie Sanders berates daily, eat at fine restaurants, and they have their staff shop for them at Whole Foods and Neiman Marcus. The 1 percent won’t be affected at all by a higher minimum wage. Look at Hillary Clinton as an example. She’s a member of the 1 percent. She hasn’t even driven a car in 20 years, so how is she going to get to a McDonalds or a Walmart? She has nutritionists to design her diet and stylists to dress her, and those nutritionists and stylists make well over the minimum wage. An increase in the minimum wage won’t affect Hillary Clinton at all. It’s the middle class that will pay for the increase in the minimum wage, and it’s the lower class that will feel its effect on the job market.

To be fair, raising the minimum wage will make a fraction of the lower class better off — that fraction of people with jobs that are still economically justifiable at $15/hour, but it will destroy perhaps millions of jobs, and eliminate entry level positions. For example, how many ice cream scoopers are worth $15 an hour? None. Ice cream shops will start selling soft serve frozen yogurt, eliminate the counter jobs, and trim the staff down to a single person at the cash register. This is how raising the minimum wage kills jobs. It will put more people into the lower class, and will trap people in the lower class by depriving them of entry level jobs and the opportunity to advance.

If raising the minimum wage is a losing proposition for the middle and lower class, why do it? Who actually benefits?

The Democrats benefit most of all. Why? It serves to make the lower class bigger, and more needy.  Democrats rely on the lower class for votes. With fewer jobs, citizens need more aid, and Democrats provide more aid. It locks people into greater dependency on the government. Obamacare. Section 8 housing. Food stamps. Welfare. All these programs are inefficient and ineffective at helping those they intend to help.

Unions also love the $15 minimum wage. Ironically unions are lobbying to be exempt from the minimum wage — in effect putting themselves above the law so that they become a lower cost source of labor, which will make union members attractive as employees, and swell the numbers of dues-paying members. Unions pay 96 percent of their political contributions to Democrats! This is a classic case of cronyism.

It is even better for Democrats than just votes and money. There’s one more huge advantage to supporting a higher minimum wage— it makes for great class warfare rhetoric. To Democrats, the increasing wage gap is the greatest problem in our society today. It’s unfair. And Democrats — by raising the minimum wage — are the only people to take on this problem. This is simple, old fashioned, class warfare. Democrats are playing on people’s fear and envy to divide America and to get airtime and votes. Just listen to Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Elizabeth Warren. It’s class warfare cloaked in the robes of “fairness.”

Raising the minimum wage is a win/win/win proposition. More votes for them, more money for their campaigns, and great sound bites for the campaign trail. For society at large, it’s a disaster. More people trapped in poverty, fewer jobs, fewer services for the middle class, higher prices for the middle class, and the envy and division of class warfare across all society.

It’s time for policies that unite society, and make us better off. Raising the minimum wage divides us as a society and makes us poorer and deprives us of opportunity. This win/win/win for the Democrats is a lose/lose/lose for America. Let’s put partisanship aside and do the right thing. Leave the minimum wage alone.

William Edwards is a retired entrepreneur. He built and ran a successful small business for over 20 years, employing dozens of people.