When are we going to learn?
On April Fool’s Day, fittingly enough, Seattle’s new $15 minimum wage law will go into effect. But you won’t have to wait until then to see the kind of disastrous impact this will have on the city’s economy. Already, The Washington Policy Center reports that Seattle restaurants are shuttering their doors in advance of the change. Making it in the restaurant business is already a tough challenge; shackle entrepreneurs with forced wage increases, and it gets that much harder.
Seattle Magazine reports that, though there is no sole reason for the closings, the wage hike is a “major factor.” Of course it is. Restaurants operate just like any other business, paying workers what the market dictates. When employment is high, workers in all sectors are able to demand better wages and better benefits. When unemployment is high, the power shifts back to the employers. That’s the way the free market works.
Unfortunately, democracy means you don’t need to know the first thing about economics when you pull the lever. Why $15 an hour? By what formula did Seattle residents come up with that figure? Why not $25? Why not $100? Wouldn’t it be great if even entry-level, high-school workers could make $100 an hour? Everyone would be rich! It would be a grand utopia!
Of course, you’d pay $100 for a decent burger and your taxes would go through the roof, but let’s not talk about that. We can surely find someone to tax. Smokers…people who don’t properly separate their plastics from their paper…people who take long showers.
Having a minimum wage is meant to keep businesses from exploiting workers, but we must be reasonable in its implementation. The more hands-off the government is when it comes to the free market, the better. Liberals think somehow that this money just comes out of nowhere. Or they buy into sneaky statistics that say this business or that business will only have to raise their prices by a quarter to cover the cost. They have this vision of fat-cat CEOs rolling in money while laborers live in filth.
But the vast majority of small business owners are not rolling in dough by any means. They are struggling to get by while putting in 80-100 hours a week to make their dream become a reality. Isn’t that the American way? Follow your passion, work hard, and see the fruits of your labor? Why do liberals think the American dream is to start at the bottom, stay at the bottom, and drive a Mercedes to McDonalds every morning?
Planned economies have come and gone, but America’s unique free market has survived. Not everyone gets rich, but everyone has an opportunity. Anti-capitalists have been insisting for years that the American dream is dead. Thanks to their efforts, they may soon be right.