Patterico's Pontifications


CBO: $10.10 Minimum Wage Could Cost 500,000 Jobs

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:04 pm

Actually, they say it could also cost almost none. Or almost 1 million.


Allahpundit: “There’s no problem here that indefinite unemployment benefits can’t solve, my friends.”

As it happens, the good folks at Rolling Stone already had this brilliant idea at the beginning of the year, suggesting some pie-in-the-sky economic reforms that appeal to the kind of people who read and write for Rolling Stone, starting with Suggestion #1: Guaranteed Work for Everybody:

Unemployment blows. The easiest and most direct solution is for the government to guarantee that everyone who wants to contribute productively to society is able to earn a decent living in the public sector. There are millions of people who want to work, and there’s tons of work that needs doing – it’s a no-brainer. And this idea isn’t as radical as it might sound: It’s similar to what the federal Works Progress Administration made possible during Roosevelt’s New Deal, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. vocally supported a public-sector job guarantee in the 1960s.

A job guarantee that paid a living wage would anchor prices, drive up conditions for workers at megacorporations like Walmart and McDonald’s, and target employment for the poor and long-term unemployed – people to whom conventional stimulus money rarely trickles all the way down. The program would automatically expand during private-sector downturns and contract during private-sector upswings, balancing out the business cycle and sending people from job to job, rather than job to unemployment, when times got tough.

Some economists have proposed running a job guarantee through the non-profit sector, which would make it even easier to suit the job to the worker. Imagine a world where people could contribute the skills that inspire them – teaching, tutoring, urban farming, cleaning up the environment, painting murals – rather than telemarketing or whatever other stupid tasks bosses need done to supplement their millions. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

Yeah: how awesome would it be if everyone could do what they wanted, instead of doing stupid jobs that are demanded by stupid market forces?

If you think about it, 500,000 jobs lost starts to sound like a good thing. Instead of our economy providing goods and services you want at a low price, it can instead provide 500,000 mural painters. Or, more realistically, 500,000 people watching Celebrity Apprentice on the taxpayer dime, as Munchos fall into the folds of their T-shirts.

What, are you against people being happy? And fat?

So jump on the bandwagon and come on in for the big win! Those who keep their jobs get paid more; those who don’t get to do (and watch and eat) what inspires them.

All we will ask from you, good reader, is that you pay for all of it. Oh, and if you could also shut up and not complain about it, that would be great too.

16 Responses to “CBO: $10.10 Minimum Wage Could Cost 500,000 Jobs”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. minimum wage
    never meant for the adults
    Dems just don’t get it

    Colonel Haiku (250a94)

  3. I was completely stunned (and distracted byt he linked RS article. SAdly, Rolling Stone author Jesse Myerson accurately represents today’s left. And God help us. His entire argument is summed up thus (in his words): The economy blows, unemployment blows, landlords blow. And those are his more coherent and succinct statements.

    Further evidencing his utter confusion and lack of understanding basic economics,

    Ever noticed how much landlords blow? They don’t really do anything to earn their money. They just claim ownership of buildings and charge people who actually work for a living the majority of our incomes for the privilege of staying in boxes that these owners often didn’t build and rarely if ever improve. In a few years, my landlord will probably sell my building to another landlord and make off with the appreciated value of the land s/he also claims to own – which won’t even get taxed, as long as s/he ploughs it right back into more real estate.

    Dumb as a rock.

    Dana (9f8700)

  4. I would not put it past the GOP to leap on this sword to engender good will among the Lamestream.

    After all, don’t they own Small business obeisance? What are the capitalist muckrakers going to do, vote for an monomaniacal executioner like the Bat Whisperer?

    Peaceful endurance is not tenable, headway incomprehensible.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  5. Raaaaacists!!!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  6. How about we limit all government subsidies to the minimum wage presuming a 40 hour work week. Then we only subtract 1/3 of a dollar for every dollar they earn. That effectively puts a minimum wage in place leaving an incentive to work to make more. Welfare and all that “stuff” would be taxed exactly the same as wages.

    Of course, for many aid recipients this would be a distinct and sharp “pay cut”. We’d suddenly be paying them to stay alive rather than to be comfy poor. (Air conditioning is comfy poor. Some 80% of US poor have air conditioning.) We’d have to carve out some exceptions for people who are unable to do productive work for medical reasons. Congenital laziness is not a medical reason, of course.

    Since we already pay people a good deal more to be poor, why bother with any minimum wage? With no minimum wage we’d have a lot of people able to build up resumes to migrate to higher paying jobs until they reach their Parkinson Point.


    JDow (c4e4c5)

  7. Such a system described in Rolling Stone existed in medieval Europe and Japan.

    It was called the manorial system.

    Amazing how the advocates believe they will be the barons and shoguns, not the serfs and peasants.

    Michael Ejercito (906585)

  8. Workfare instead of welfare is not a bad idea. It’s actually a very good idea. But not writing poetry and painting murals. Picking up trash and sorting it for recycling (the editors of Rolling Stone can do the paper). Then raking it and covering it in the landfills. Tires need to be shredded for recycling too. Bulldozers cost money and need fuel to operate — ditches can be dug by hand (shovel optional). Sewers likewise can be mucked with spades and buckets. There’s a lot of work needed to be done, that can be done by entirely unskilled labor. We’ll keep the Mexican illegals for things that require a modicum of intelligence such as mowing lawns and shoveling snow off driveways.

    nk (dbc370)

  9. Comment by nk (dbc370) — 2/19/2014 @ 7:43 am

    There’s a lot of work needed to be done, that can be done by entirely unskilled labor.

    The first problem is, that the municipal labor unions don’t want non-unionized people doing work that needs to be done because that should be done by regular employees paid a high wage.

    Sammy Finkelman (3015b5)

  10. The unions will cooperate. Unions represent the dignity of every worker — every worker is a member of every union and every union is the champion of every worker.

    nk (dbc370)

  11. The L.A. City Council is considering raising its “living wage” requirement for city hotels to over $15/hour.

    Why just hotels, you ask? Is it because the people gouged are all visitors? You might think that, I couldn’t possibly comment.

    Kevin M (dbcba4)

  12. To me the hypocrisy from writers who opine about the minimum wage who also work at magazines and newspapers that don’t pay their interns.

    Critics of the unpaid internship seem to assume that tighter regulation would simply mean today’s interns would magically become paid employees. In some cases, that might happen. But many positions would simply be eliminated. More to the point, those positions that were converted into paid ones would likely be given to different people than the unpaid interns of today. There’s a reason there are lots of paid internships and salaried entry-level jobs in the world—you can recruit better people by offering money, so if you have to offer money, you’ll go after those people rather than the current pool of underexperienced students and recent graduates.

    No kidding. I wonder who they think gets the jobs when you hike the minimum wage? I wonder if these Einsteins have taken a look at the youth employment rate.

    Of course, Yglesias is talking about breaking into the scribbling line of work. Which won’t be automated. But he ought to take a look around and see what’s happened to his business. A lot of people have been eliminated, such as printers and delivery truck drivers as a matter of survival. Do they not know that others can change their business model, too, when it’s just too expensive and too much trouble to employ people?

    Steve57 (a7ff60)

  13. I meant to say the hypocrisy is amazing. The only person I can think of who’s more self unaware is Obama, speaking out for religious freedom at the national prayer breakfast.

    Steve57 (a7ff60)

  14. Kevin M. – I like the original House of Cards reference.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  15. The Rolling Stone article is one of the dumbest things I have ever read. Someone that stupid should not be allowed to vote.

    Orcadrvr (38828c)

  16. Why just hotels, you ask? Is it because the people gouged are all visitors? You might think that, I couldn’t possibly comment.

    I’m ignorant regarding the House of Cards reference, however, the hotels selected are 87 non-union hotels. This is the big push to unionize.

    ‘`As long as this mandated wage increase would only apply to non-union hotels with union hotels exempt, this is not a true public policy debate about worker compensation, but an attempt to use government to create leverage for union organizing,” said Gary Toebben, president of the LA Area Chamber of Commerce.

    “With all the discussion about improving the lives of service industry workers, why would we ever set two separate wage floors for union and non-union workers?” he said.

    Dana (9f8700)

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