Patterico's Pontifications

5/1/2014

Tom Coburn: There Should Be No National Minimum Wage

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:29 am

Uncommon common sense:

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said Thursday that he doesn’t believe there should be a national minimum wage.

Senate Republicans voted Wednesday to block debate on legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10. In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Coburn was asked whether he thought the current minimum wage of $7.25 was sufficient.

“I don’t believe you ought to interfere in the market. My theory is if Oklahomans want a minimum wage, we ought to have it,” he said. “I don’t believe there ought to be a national minimum wage.”

I’d go further, of course, and say that if Oklahoman entrepreneurs — or entrepreneurs in any other state — want to pay a certain wage, they should be allowed to. That would allow them to make their own economic calculations and economize, in a manner that raises the standard of living for all. If you really don’t think we ought to interfere in the market, in other words — and that is the proper view — then that attitude should apply to states as well as the federal government.

But I’ll take Coburn’s statement over anything anyone else in public life is saying. Because it’s easier for states to reverse their mistakes than for a giant federal government to do so.

This is the kind of thing you can say when you are retiring, I guess.

Can we get the other 99 to announce their retirements too?

38 Responses to “Tom Coburn: There Should Be No National Minimum Wage”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. Ringwood, OK and NYC, comparable employment markets?

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  3. In other words, private employers should be able to externalize a portion of their labor costs. That’s what you’re saying here.

    If you employ people, you need them to have their basic needs met so they can function at a certain minimal level (which varies per job). Food, shelter, clothing, hygiene–to be of any value to you, your employees have to be able to afford all of these.

    And if you aren’t paying them enough to meet these basic needs (and right now the minimum wage doesn’t come close), then somebody else (i.e., taxpayers) has to pick up the slack.

    It’s bizarre to me how “conservatives” have become champions of the Sacred Right to Externalize Costs, whether they be labor costs (in this case), environmental costs (in their jihad against regulation), or the costs of the infrastructure businesses need to function (in their broader opposition to reasonable taxation).

    Tom Hilton (f90ddf)

  4. Linked elsewhere, 1.3 Million fewer jobs of any sort or flavor, exist in Amerikkka today versus the number extant in 2008.

    Twenty(2 Oh) per cent of households in Amerikkka have no member who is gainfully employed, earning taxable income.

    It is bizarre to me how otherwise literate possessors of opposable thumbs, walking erect, think that we can print our way out of the ditch wherein they have deposited us.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  5. “In other words, private employers should be able to externalize a portion of their labor costs. That’s what you’re saying here.”

    Tom Hilton – Only if you make a lot of assumptions about who is making the minimum wage and how long they continue at minimum wage levels as you appear to do in your sweeping comment about conservatives.

    Why not read the recent CBO or CRS report about the impact of raising the minimum wage to improve your thinking?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  6. As a former minimum-wage earner, I still kind of have a soft spot for it, despite my own free-market economic beliefs. I’m all for it not being federally mandated, though. It’s $8.25 here, and there’s a drive to make it $15.

    When I worked at KFC, we made $3.35 and they took out 15 cents an hour so we could eat and drink whatever we wanted. So $3.20 plus food.

    carlitos (e7c734)

  7. Since the genesis of LBJ’s Great Society we have spent, tax paying inmates, something on the order of $16 Trillion on the War on Poverty(pardon I don’t care to help look this up).

    Last time I bothered to look the “Poor are still with us”.

    Can anyone point to evidence that we are making progress, i.e., lowering the poor’s representation in our dystopia?

    Shouldn’t we instead conclude the American experiment in self-government is a complete and irredeemable failure?

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  8. My youngest son, just finishing his freshman year of college, has two summer job offers from big box retailers above that Illinois minimum wage you referenced, carlitos.

    Hilton is merely regurgitating approved talking points.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  9. Here is a sort of NGO, free of political pressure to perform tricks on cue(cough, choke, gasp), that has pumped $1.4 Trillion into what passes for our economy, and continues to do so, albeit at a declining rate.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-01/what-14-trillion-qe-buys-us-economy

    So we are officially in recession, not recovery, and some would rather that we trim the number employed that the survivors more comfortably fall in the lower brackets.

    Sure, why not? At this point, what difference could it possibly make?

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  10. you know who externalizes costs like a mofo?

    our whore president

    electricity has never been this is expensive, which hurts minimum wage losers the hardest

    food is super-expensive now too

    gas prices?

    super duper high

    all of it cause of the externalized costs of a regulation slutwhore president

    it’s very very pathetic

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  11. it’s just been brought to my attention that health care costs have gone through the roof as well

    so when some minimum wage loser starts whining about not having enough money to pay rent and electricity and health insurance

    the poor momo should know who to blame

    and it’s not the nice people who make the tasty fried chickens

    it’s the whore president of failmerica, Barack Obama

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  12. daleyrocks: Anti-minimum wage folks love to quote the 500,000-jobs-lost figure from the CBO report, but they rarely mention the more significant figure: significantly higher wages for 16.5 million low-wage workers. In other words, the benefit is vastly greater than the downside.

    (That said, it’s kind of hilarious to see conservatives shed crocodile tears over potentially lost jobs while relentlessly pursuing cuts that cost many more jobs than a higher minimum wage possibly could.)

    And yes, lots of people making less than $10.10/hour are high-school kids. But lots of them aren’t.

    Finally, if you think my portrayal of conservatives as reflexively anti-tax and anti-regulation is unfair, feel free to offer examples of conservatives who aren’t. I’d be more than happen to be proven partly wrong.

    Tom Hilton (f90ddf)

  13. You didn’t say “anti-tax,” you said “opposed to reasonable taxation.” What’s reasonable is where the difference lies.

    carlitos (e7c734)

  14. Fair enough. To remove any ambiguity, I’ll rephrase it as “reflexive opposition to any additional taxation”.

    Tom Hilton (f90ddf)

  15. “daleyrocks: Anti-minimum wage folks love to quote the 500,000-jobs-lost figure from the CBO report”

    Tommy – The likely range of job losses in the CBO report goes up to 1,000,000 sorry to say. Plus, your higher wages for low income families talking point, straight from the report:

    The increased earnings for low-wage workers resulting from the higher minimum wage would total $31 billion, by CBO’s estimate. However, those earnings would not go only to low-income families, because many low-wage workers are not members of low-income families. Just 19 percent of the $31 billion would accrue to families with earnings below the poverty threshold, whereas 29 percent would accrue to families earning more than three times the poverty threshold, CBO estimates.

    You can blow me now, Tommy.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  16. Reflexive doctrinaire Leftists acting like a pyromaniac in a field of strawmen are so cute.

    JD (a6eb12)

  17. Talking about reflexive leftists, The Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web” today has something about Vapor Madness / Nicotine nannyism and pot permissiveness.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  18. ==Reflexive doctrinaire Leftists acting like a pyromaniac in a field of strawmen are so cute.==

    I believe this heat they generate burning poor innocent strawmen is also contributing to global warming in a major way, JD.

    elissa (dc627d)

  19. elissa – Maybe they are trying to increase global warming in an attempt to lessen the impact of winter on the economy.

    JD (a6eb12)

  20. I’ll rephrase it as “reflexive opposition to any additional taxation”.

    why doesn’t everyone just turn their assets over the federal government, and allow them to distribute them equally to all members of the public?

    that would take care of the whole “income inequality” fuss, as well as ending the war on poverty with a victory as well.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  21. here’s what happens when the government that promises all sorts of free stuff runs out of $$$ to pay for it.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-01/when-nations-go-broke-mob-justice

    All of this is part of the modern social contract. And when nations go broke, this social contract breaks down.

    Many of the public services that government has promised get curtailed, or cut entirely.

    The people have held up their end of the bargain. They’ve traded in their freedoms and their income in exchange for services. But the government hasn’t held up theirs.

    And because the government has a monopoly on many of these services, suddenly people find themselves without something they have come to depend on.

    This is precisely what has happened in Argentina. As the economy continues to struggle from an absurd level of money printing, unemployment and inflation are both painfully high.

    Many Argentines are desperate. Crime rates have soared. But the police are utterly worthless.

    sounds like the LAPD to me: “Your car was stolen? You’ll have to come to the station to make a report. We don’t respond to those anymore.”

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  22. “And if you aren’t paying them enough to meet these basic needs (and right now the minimum wage doesn’t come close), then somebody else (i.e., taxpayers) has to pick up the slack.”

    Nice job of parroting the DNC/Union talking points. Why not set the minimum wage at $100/ hour ?

    Do you have any clue ?

    Mike K (cd7278)

  23. “(That said, it’s kind of hilarious to see conservatives shed crocodile tears over potentially lost jobs while relentlessly pursuing cuts that cost many more jobs than a higher minimum wage possibly could.)”

    That said, the “cuts” are where ? Government jobs ? (like yours ?)

    Nice parody you have there.

    Mike K (cd7278)

  24. ““Scores of girls and young women kidnapped from a school in Nigeria are being forced to marry their Islamic extremist abductors, a civic organization reported Wednesday,” according to news sources. The others are being sold off to buyers for $12 each. ”

    Hey Tom, that’s about the minimum wage you want. Right ? Right ?

    Interesting that the American left are so interested in squirrels when the world is going on somewhere else than in their minds.

    Mike K (cd7278)

  25. “Why not set the minimum wage at $100/ hour ?”

    Mike K – I know, right. That will really help lift people out of poverty and stop this externalizing of costs Tommy Boy was yapping about.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  26. I really love the 500,000, one Million, whatevvvverr.

    X + Y = Z. Solve for X.

    Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  27. Dudes, really, just raise the minimum wage to $1,000 an hour, then everyone will be happy with babes and Hennessy. This is not hard.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  28. The other thing the left doesn’t like to talk about is that 26 states already have or have approved minimum wages exceeding the current federal minimum.

    Why do the states need the federal government to tell them what is best for their residents?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  29. Ag80 – Why keep it so low?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  30. No reason, daleydude. Let’s make it $10,000 an hour. Then we can all go to Colorado in a Ferrari and bake in the sunshine with luscious babes. Dude.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  31. (That said, it’s kind of hilarious to see conservatives shed crocodile tears over potentially lost jobs while relentlessly pursuing cuts that cost many more jobs than a higher minimum wage possibly could.)

    It’s kind of hilarious to see liberals bleed their hearts over the plight of the working class when some of the most dysfunctional, screwed-up economies in the US are loaded down with blue-state politics, blue-state politicians. For example, can you name one conservative counterpart to a city like Detroit or inner-city America in general? In other words, a place where over 90-plus percent of people in a community vote in lock-step unison, like demented sheeple, for liberals/Democrats even though both the economy and quality of life have been going downhill for decades?

    Mark (59e5be)

  32. Seriously, I always find it amusing when liberals want to raise the minimum wage.

    First, it makes no economic sense.

    Second, if you want to raise it to it to $10.19 or whatever, why not just raise it to $1,000 an hour.

    Why not?

    They know as well as anyone with sense that arbitrary minimum wages will only result in endless inflation.

    It never works and the only point is to drive the base to the polls.

    Dudes.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  33. If you employ people, you need them to have their basic needs met so they can function at a certain minimal level (which varies per job). Food, shelter, clothing, hygiene–to be of any value to you, your employees have to be able to afford all of these.

    If you expect the employer to be so benevolent, then it’s only fair that, in turn, the employee should happily expect the employer to pry into whether the worker is nurturing a stable home environment, is raising his/her kids properly, is not wasting money on stupid frills, is allocating monies to, say, food instead of cable TV, is not having children too young or becoming a parent when still single (since it’s tougher to balance the budget in a one-parent household), and most certainly is not taking intoxicants, including drugs and alcohol.

    It’s a lot harder to inculcate a stable economy when the social-cultural trends of a society or community are becoming increasingly half-crocked or overly permissive.

    Americanexperiment.org, June 2011: The sheer numbers are staggering. In round terms, about 40 percent of all births in the United States are out of wedlock. That figure for the entire population conceals wide variation: Thirty percent of white children, 50 percent of Hispanic children, and 70 percent of African-American children are born to unmarried parents. As for divorce, 40 percent or more of first marriages break up, with the odds increasing to about 50 percent for second and subsequent marriages. How could rates like these not be a major drag on the country?

    The linkages between family collapse and various forms of social failure were established decades ago. Reams of sophisticated research have documented what everyday experience confirms: that family fragmentation damages enormous numbers of boys and girls. Not all children in tough family situations do poorly, but more than enough do. “It is very hard,” two sober scholars concluded in a 2010 Educational Testing Service report, “to imagine progress resuming in reducing the education attainment and achievement gap without turning these family trends around.” The very idea, they said, of a “substitute for the institution [of marriage] for raising children is almost unthinkable.”

    Others have developed ways of measuring the most obvious economic and social effects of family fragmentation. Perhaps the most elementary is to calculate how much money government spends to keep single mothers and their children out of dire poverty. In 2008, Georgia College & State University economist Benjamin Scafidi calculated that family fragmentation cost U.S. taxpayers $112 billion annually. And Scafidi purposely left out some quite substantial costs:

    In 2009, Brookings scholars Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill wrote that if the “United States had the same proportion of children living in single-parent families as in 1970, all else equal, today’s poverty rate would be roughly one-quarter lower than it is.” Even more dramatically, Sawhill and another colleague earlier wrote that if family structure had not changed between 1960 and 1998, the poverty rate for black children in the latter year would have been 28.4 percent instead of 45.6 percent.

    Mark (59e5be)

  34. Steyn:

    Average U.S. Household Spends More on Federal Regulations Than for Health Care, Food or Transportation

    That’s not a late-breaking April Fool’s story. It’s true. The Bureau of Compliance sucks up a quarter of everything you make:

    Crews estimates the annual cost of compliance with the record number of new federal rules and regulations issued under President Obama at $1.863 trillion.

    That works out to a $14,974 “hidden tax” every year for the average U.S. household. That’s 23 percent of the $65,596 annual average household income in America.

    No wonder the public unions are so interested in our welfare.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  35. If you look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers on minimum wage workers, you’ll find that most of them are young workers in their first job who are still in school and still live with a patent. Raising the minimum wage prices these low skill workers that need these jobs out of the market, removing their chances of getting better jobs later on in life. At best, raising the minimum wage helps families with kids who take summer jobs who are already well off enough to afford some sort of skill training for their child.

    People who talk about raising the minimum wage as being a path to get people off of government assistance programs don’t understand how employers handle labor costs and certainly don’t understand the marginal effective tax rates for people on government assistance. To wit, a $4000 raise in salary can easily lead to a loss of more than $4000 in benefits. So please, stop making the argument that raising the minimum wage will get people off of government assistance. It won’t because the government assistance system is broken, not the minimum wage.

    Xmas (ea53e4)

  36. Mr. Tim Hilton

    You fail to acknowledge what virtually all studies show of the impact of changes in the minimum wage. Even the studies done by pro minimum wage increase groups show that while there is small increase in unemployment, overall hours get reduced such that net benefit is only 10-25% of the total hourly increase.

    Anti-minimum wage folks love to quote the 500,000-jobs-lost figure from the CBO report, but they rarely mention the more significant figure: significantly higher wages for 16.5 million low-wage workers. In other words, the benefit is vastly greater than the downside.

    (That said, it’s kind of hilarious to see conservatives shed crocodile tears over potentially lost jobs while relentlessly pursuing cuts that cost many more jobs than a higher minimum wage possibly could.)

    And yes, lots of people making less than $10.10/hour are high-school kids. But lots of them aren’t.

    Finally, if you think my portrayal of conservatives as reflexively anti-tax and anti-regulation is unfair, feel free to offer examples of conservatives who aren’t. I’d be more than happen to be proven partly wrong.

    Comment by Tom Hilton (f90ddf) — 5/1/2014 @ 12:27 pm

    joe (43b0c6)

  37. Can we get the other 99 to announce their retirements too?

    We could arrange for it if enough people got a clue.

    Smock Puppet, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." (225d0d)


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