California – a state that every generation or so elects Jerry Brown governor yet refuses to legalize pot – recently approved a raise in their minimum wage from $10 an hour to $15 an hour. Those who are paid to do so, and many who aren’t, are yapping about the pros and cons of raising the minimum wage. Neither gets around to the most salient point that the government should butt out of a free market.
Our objection to the minimum wage transcends any economic argument, so we are not going to spend an awful lot of time discussing this aspect. We will point out we don’t think mandated wages do the worker much good. Sure, it means well. Most government programs, except for perhaps genocide, do.
Consider this, though: some businesses will not be able to afford this. Either they will go out of business or they will make do with fewer workers. Those that can afford the increase will, of course, pass the cost on to their customers. This means those with government-mandated wages will face a higher cost of living, making their buying power about what it was before their raise.
But forget the money for a while. Let’s talk government philosophy. We must ask ourselves:
How much do we want our government to do for us?
Is it the business of government to mandate what an employer pays an employee?
No, it is not. On both counts. The only purpose for a government in this scenario is to provide a free market where employers pay and employees work for whatever wage or salary they can agree upon. That’s it.
And, let’s be honest, if you are out of high school and still earning minimum wage it would do everyone, both you and your fellow citizens, good if you upgraded both your skills and your goals. I speak with significant experience in this regard because I have spent most of my working life punching a clock. I know what it is like to not make what I felt I was worth, and to work for and find a job that did.
Every one of us has it in our power to say “This is what I am today and this is what I want to be tomorrow”. The 24-hours we have every day to make something good happen for ourselves is our most prized possession. What we get out of our lives must depend on the work we put into those 24-hours and not on a government-mandated wage.
Editor’s Note: Gaylon is Libertarian nominee for Congress from Colorado’s 3rd District. Visit his campaign site here.