Is the rate set too high? For most with skills, the law is irrelevant. However, for those who passed through dysfunctional government schools and learned little, it is an viciously cruel law because it condemns them to a life of poverty. It makes it illegal for them to get a job. It does not protect low-income workers, rather it forces them out of the workplace. No employer is going to pay somebody $10 per hour if he is only worth $5. If the value of the worker does not exceed what is mandated by law, that person is legally unemployable.
Even if person knows his limitations and offers to work for an employer at less than the minimum wage, the employer cannot hire him. The employer cannot even allow the “give me a chance to prove myself” option to kids willing to show initiative.
The more expensive it is to higher someone, the fewer people will be hired. Kids unprepared to provide value to employers above the minimum wage cannot be employed. No matter their motivation, they are plain out of luck.
Education is a life-long process. Those cheated by inferior schools or an unwillingness to learn still have an opportunity to learn, acquire skills and progress in life. But to do so, they need a job — any job, at whatever wage an employer is willing to pay for their services. The minimum wage prevents this process of learning from even beginning. Instead these individuals are condemned to hang out on a street corner where most things learned are unproductive, at least in a legal and societal sense.
The minimum wage condemns the uneducated to a life of no jobs, no ambition and utter dependency. Anyone who thinks government gives a damn about these people should consider what this so-called “compassionate” legislation truly does. (Much other legislation produces results similarly different from what was claimed when it passed.)
The conversation between the two gentlemen below is about this subject, one that both know well. They both came of age when America was still segregated, but before government put up many of the current barriers to work. Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell are black and wonderful economists. They didn’t have the advantages of today’s “affirmative action,” yet they made it on their own. “You didn’t build that” does not apply to either.
I suspect both were grateful they were not born later to face all the obstacles government put in the way of individual success. Had they been, we would probably not know their names. For them, segregation was hard and bitter, but I suspect both might say they had it easier than the kids of today. They only had to worry about prejudiced whites, while kids today have to worry about their government preventing success.
I recommend reading any book these two gentlemen have written (and there are many!). Walter Williams The State Against Blacks is especially useful in seeing how the government has made it harder not easier for blacks to escape poverty. Or you might read this interview of Mr. Williams by Jason Riley or see innumerable interviews with either gentleman on YouTube.
For now, listen to this conversation: