Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wall Street Journal Columnist Suggests Lowering Minimum Wage To $5/hr.

The Wall Street Journal opinion section churns out another winning article. Some clod by the name of Robert G. Strayton came up with a genius idea to help the filthy poors: lower the minimum wage to $5/hr. Let's hear Rob's pitch:

As a volunteer interviewer of the poor at a religious charitable organization in southwest Florida, I have come to believe that the most effective step we can take to ameliorate poverty, kick-start job growth and invigorate hope in every social stratum is to experiment with a $5 minimum wage. 

A $5 wage will put money and hope into the lives of our poor in immediate, powerful and enduring ways. For all its $4 trillion stimulus, mere nickels of quantitative-easing funding "trickled down" to where the poor reside. But a $5 minimum wage will "trickle up," directly from employer to employed—creating millions of jobs rapidly and putting them within reach of huge numbers of the poor. 
Three things. 1)What the hell is a "volunteer interviewer for the poor"? 2) This is an unbelievably stupid idea. 3) How in the name of Jay Gould does lowering the minimum wage "trickle up directrly from employer to employed"? You're giving the employer the ability to pay workers less, so wouldn't this in fact, trickle down (you know, like every single right-wing policy since the 1980s)?

How would such a program operate? At the government level, with as little red-tape as possible, although government must protect current workers by guaranteeing they will not be subject to any wage lower than the one they now earn.
At the employer level, hiring $5-per-hour personnel must be balanced against the risk inherent in the often-inexperienced people such a wage attracts. As an incentive, the IRS can allow a 50% tax deduction on all wages paid at the $5 level during a test period. Facing workforce mobility issues (prospective employees without cars, bikes or gas money), employers can offer transportation, water, food and necessary material services for which they may also claim tax deductions. As for the workers, they will receive gross-equals-net fully spendable pay at the end of each work period. 

 Not sure how in Hades the bolded is supposed to work. Presumably employers could just fire their current workers who make minimum wage and hire new workers at the new minimum wage.

 The best part of this piece however, is the following:

You'd think no one can value making $5 an hour. But for those in poverty, a primal need is immediate and reliable access to an income of one's own. When one has nothing, anything becomes priceless. Watch the expression on the face of a poor person when you provide him or her with $2, $3 or $5 to put gas in a neighbor's borrowed car so he can bring free groceries, clothing, linens, housewares or furnishings from our organization back home. You'll see then the value of such a "trivial" wage.

Here you have someone who, in all likelihood, is well off financially, who will most likely never be in a position that would cause him to struggle to make rent or pay for his next meal, making the argument that paying people less than what they could be making right now, is not a heinous and manipulative act, but in fact, an altruistic one! People like Strayton have convinced themselves that they in fact, are the true protectors of the poor.

To all conservative media, more articles like this, please.

1 comment:

  1. Too true. See also: