Dear Editors (Economist):
This morning. listening to the news on Classic FM out of London, England, I heard a discussion about a “living wage board” deciding what kind of increase should be made to the living wage in Britain. Sad to say, there are too many Americans who object to living wage or minimum wage and call those who propose it “communists” or “socialists.” For me, I am opposed to minimum wage or across the board living wage, but find it ludicrous to describe it as “communist” and “socialist.” It is the absurdity of emotional people with the loudest mouths and perhaps the most power and money who speak out in this manner. As I said, I am opposed to an across the board minimum or living wage, only because I grew up in a family where small business operations were important.
I am also opposed to it because of these absurd remarks made by some, but also for some other absurd remarks which tarnish the images of Democrats, as if we are “communists” or “socialists.” What a bunch of ridiculous absurd human beings to be saying this. Most recently, hearing a local small business person complain about Biden and the Democrats and the false crap spewing from the mouth of such a person really takes the cake. Biden and the Democrats, infrastructure, and unemployment checks as being the problem is stupidity at its best. The problem, as I see it, is more likely tied to minimum wages, not unemployment checks. Knowing a number of people who have been without jobs and been able to use the unemployment money as a safety net (temporary, not a permanent ensconcing in a hammock). What a bunch of ignorant people with closed minds and a refusal to look at this issue in more detail.
In the days after replying to a business person with the message like: “it’s better benefits and wages, stupid, which lead many people looking for work and leaving jobs.” According to various newspaper articles, many companies are now upping the ante with not only better wages, but also with better benefits in the form of payments for college education and bringing back more benefits which once were part of business in America. With this being done, it hurts small businesses. I know. I recall the days when my parents once ran small businesses, so I can relate to this.
In my humble opinion (which is an important aspect for anyone to consider, regarding humility which opens the mind, helps one to think out matters of life, and encourages learning), there should be no minimum wage number across the board, but in some way, figure out what the best PERCENTAGE of a family and single person revenue budget would help pay for necessities like housing, food, and clothing, plus a slight profit (called in the stupidity of the regressive income taxes, “disposable income”). This percentage could be used to figure an amount by locality and based on the COL (cost of living). Such a figure would be higher in a London, New York City, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, than it would be in upstate New York, the British countryside, the Dakotas in America, plus a number of other areas. Thus, when a small business person complains that he/she loses employees to these higher “minimum wage” places which can be paid by big corporate conglomerates, but not local business in upstate New York, they won’t (or definitely should not be) blaming Biden and the Democrats. That is a foolish thing for such moaners and groaners about unemployment checks to be doing. They are falsely making accusations and with little or no evidence to back up what they say. I am getting sick and tired of listening to such false crap going around among the Fox “herds” in America.
This solution I suggest reminds me of the solution of Erasmus Wright, insurance commissioner for Massachusetts in the 19th Century, when he proposed an actuary table for life insurance because the insurance industry was collecting the money and then using that money, like a lawyer politician likes to do in Congress regarding Social Security and Medicare money, to pay for expenses unrelated to the insurance (see Dr. Daniel J. Boorstin’s book, The Americans: The Democratic Experience; FYI, Boorstin was the Reagan-appointed Librarian of Congress). It might be a complex table to configure with regards to “living wages,” while an across-the-board figure is easier and simple to figure. One figure given for across the board is also more beneficial to big corporate giants who can more easily handle the one figure, while working to destroy small business in America. Now there is an example of “central” economics which is very similar to the central economics which was associated with the Bolsheviks of Russia and the Hitler Nazis of Germany. You can call what each of those did, Marxism, communism, Nazi, fascist, or anythging else, but the common thread is a dictatorial autocracy, plutocracy, etc. Whether it is generated by the “socialist” Nazis or the communist/Marxist Bolsheviks (or Castro stuff in Cuba), it is still centrally planned economics which enslaves people to jobs (when they are available) and affords few opportunities for developing their own businesses as entrepreneurs.
To me, the simplicity of true capitalism as defined by Adam Smith and his ideas of “moral sentiments” is far better than extremists on any side of the political spectrum. The problem is that too many people have no understanding of what it means to have a regulated capitalism by a government which brings balance to economics. This idea brings us the “efficiencies” as described in a recent Economist article (“Ways and means”) which one could say is being “fiscally conservative.” As a former Republican at a time when Republicans actually believed in “fiscal conservative” as being a more efficient way to operate (not to destroy spending at all), by consider the efficiencies with the capitalist “return on investments” and balance in the economy). We all receive a ROI with our taxes in the form of local streets, bridges, roads, snow plowing, etc. We think of an HOA in Florida, similar to a local incorporated village in New York, as giving us a ROI by maintaining streets, sidewalks, etc., but not when it is a government. WHY? What the hell is the difference between both? And with the privatized HOAs, my experience has been we spend five times as much as a village tax, so the ROI is far less than the lower amounts spent on village taxes in upstate New York. Privatized garbage and waste companies cost five times as much as the government-run (sometimes contracted to private concerns and they can negotiate prices on behalf of the taxpayers) in Florida, the opposite side of the fence. I know. I have lived both experiences and have crunched the numbers.
As a lifetime member of unions, I have experience in negotiating contracts with management. We negotiated on the basis of a living wage. The Republicans of Florida who were the primary people on the management side, they refused to discuss matters pertaining to balance and living wages which are pertinent to being able to keep good quality educators teaching the students. We witnessed good professors leaving the college for places where the COL was lower and the revenues were higher. Why not? Would would stop anyone for seeking out better pay and benefits, especially when balancing that with the necessities of life necessary for a “living wage?” Sometimes it was disgusting negotiating with the mob consisting of Jeb Bush, Rick Scott, Marco Rubio (and now Rick DeSantis) and their irrational approach and lack of efficiencies, consistencies of balance, in commerce and economics. At the same time, i have watched unreasonable union people work to dominate an imbalance adverse to the efficiencies of running an organization. I have seen a thing or two. With unions and management working together, each should be working towards balance and holding the opposite side accountable. Same with the ideas for solutions in providing efficiencies, balance, and consistencies with regard to the balance necessary for living wages and the expenditures in a personal financial budget for a single person and/or family.