A push is on to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.80 per hour from $7.25. One suspects that those who conceived of the idea know it will weaken small businesses and destroy opportunity for the marginal worker. One suspects that those who have joined the bandwagon are clueless of the consequences.
The ones who truly care are the ones looking to get rid of it.
The biggest beneficiaries of the law are connected white suburban college kids on summer jobs. The ones most harmed are those upon whom business owners can’t afford to take a chance.
Here’s an exercise: The next time you go into a locally owned Chinese restaurant count the members of the waitstaff who are white. Now count the ones who are black. Based on the answer do you judge these restaurant owners racist bigots? Not if you have an ounce of sense. That waitstaff is almost certainly family, literally, working for the future. The kids are helping their parents with an eye on getting a college degree. The parents are helping the kids with an eye on them getting a college degree.
This is true not just for the Chinese but for most immigrant businesses. The help is not getting paid in the governmental sense.
Now suppose you come from a more unpleasant family environ, say, one in which all your siblings have different fathers. You certainly will face a disadvantage in getting a start in the business world. If you are of an entrepreneurial bent you will more likely find yourself selling drugs that food.
Ending the minimum wage would give the young with bad breaks a much better chance. Economist Walter Williams explains it well here.
Most small business owners really are not exploitative and care enough about the community to make small sacrifices for it. The only reason many don’t make jobs for the marginal and inexperienced is because they simply can’t afford it.
Some might make the reasonable-sounding argument that the minimum wage prevents sweat shops. Reasonable sounding, at least, until you start considering from whence comes the iPhone and underwear of the young hipster making that claim.
Anyway, here’s a compromise: Raise the wage to $9.80 as the fools want, but let each business exempt five employees from it. Only a totalitarian can object to such an exemption.
Chinese Restaurant Success Secret