More thoughts on the evil that is minimum wage

So my acquaintance on a social site responded to my post, “The minimum wage is immoral” with, the DNC talking point, “Well, I wish corporations weren’t evil profit machines that treat employees like dirt. The day corporations are no longer evil is the day government will not need to enforce minimum wage.”

The more I turned that nonsense over in my mind, the more I wondered who these “evil profit machines” are.

Contrary to the rhetoric of organized labor and its allies, the vast majority of people earning the minimum wage aren’t working at large corporations with 1,000 or more employees. Roughly half the minimum-wage workforce is employed at businesses with fewer than 100 employees, and 40% are at very small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Michael Saltsman: Who Really Employs Minimum-Wage Workers? – WSJ

So, it turns out that ANYONE who owns a business is an “evil profit machine,” and needs to get soaked because they don’t care about their employees and treat them like dirt, I guess.

In March each year, the Census Bureau conducts a special survey of many of the same U.S. households that make up the monthly jobs report. Respondents are asked about the size of the company they work for, and the responses are then sorted into six categories ranging from fewer than 10 employees to 1,000 or more.

Here are some actual data to chew on:

  • “Roughly half the minimum-wage workforce is employed at businesses with fewer than 100 employees, and 40% are at very small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.”
  • “from minimum wage employees earning $7.25 an hour to “low-wage” employees earning $10 an hour or less: 46% still work for businesses with 100 or fewer employees.”
  • “the stark economics these small-business owners face: single-digit profit margins, extremely price-sensitive customers, and no room to absorb a substantial increase in the minimum wage without dramatically reducing the cost of service.”
  • “the median profit margin at an independently owned fast-food restaurant is 2.6%”

So, really, what the people who are demanding higher minimum wage are demanding (as an unintended consequence) is that many small businesses disappear only to be replaced by large “evil profit machines” that have the resources to replace low skilled workers with automation…. Your compassion is killing me.

Democrats care about you the way criminals care about their victims

Don’t be fooled.

Democrats really do care about you. They care about you the same way burglars care about the behaviors of the families in the houses they are preparing to burglar. They care about you the same way that muggers care about which individuals they are preparing to mug. They care about you the same way that murders watch and study the individuals they are preparing to murder. They care about you the way an embezzler cares about the employees, policies and procedures of the institutions they are fleecing. They care deeply about you.

Don’t be fooled.

P.J. O’Rourke explains why Democrats care so deeply for you and Republicans don’t.

They Hate Your Guts: Democrats and their voters.

Democrats pay a lot of attention to you. They offer you all sorts of trick-or-treat giveaways.

Benefits are the way government is expanded. The more government expansion, the more opportunities for politicians to get power. (Beware of razor blades in the candy apples.)

Democrats offer you regulations to make your life safer from razor blades in candy apples. Regulations expand government with unelected regulatory bodies so that politicians can get power without bothering about your vote.

Democrats hate you now, but wait until they have you fully regulated and aren’t even pretending to lick your Nikes, Birkenstocks, or Manolo Blahniks. (Nikes will be banned for exploitative overseas child labor. Manolo Blaniks will fall victim to a National Campaign to Improve Foot and Toe Health. And Birkenstocks—which never go away—will be found to be in violation of federal biodegradability standards.)

Democrats adore your demographic groups. Democrats are pro-woman, pro-black, pro-Latino, pro-immigrant, pro-LGBT, pro-AFL/CIO, pro-differently abled, pro-unemployed, pro-poor. (And by pro I mean whore.)

Besides prostituting themselves to your demographic groups, Democrats are adhering to the first principle of political elites: Divide and conquer.

The Democratic party is one big family. This means—as those of us from big families know—all of you detest each other. Or you will by the time Democratic matriarchs and patriarchs get done parceling out too little to one group, too much to another, and none to most. (Are you undocumented alien moms and children enjoying your summer internment camp?)

Democrats are particularly infatuated with the demographic group of voters who are poor. Democrats provide many social programs for the poor. If you happen to be poor, you know what these social programs do. They pay you to stay poor.

Democrats favor a higher minimum wage. And they’ll make sure you get a minimum wage. Forever.

Democrats want to give you health care that’s free—and worth it.

Democrats will provide you with more opportunities to get an education and buy a house. A couple hundred thousand dollars of student loan debt and a huge mortgage that’s underwater will keep you poor for sure.

And then Democrats tax the hell out of your beer and cigarettes—two of the few small pleasures available to the poor.

The minimum wage is immoral

The Moral Argument Against the Minimum Wage, by Douglas Groothuis

The minimum wage is immoral. To understand why, we must first explore its social and economic dimensions. Socially, the minimum wage is a type of social contract. Two parties, the employee and the employer, are involved in negotiating a contract over labor and compensation. The negotiation isvoluntary in that the employer is not being forced to hire any specific person and the employee is not being forced to work for any particular company, andconsensual in that both employer and employee mutually agree to the terms and conditions of the labor contract. Within the philosophy of social contract theory, one’s moral obligations are relative to the contract that is agreed upon. In this case, once the contract has been signed, the employee is morally bound to fulfill their work responsibilities, and the employer is morally bound to compensate them for their labor (through wages, medical benefits, vacation time, paid time off, sick leave, etc.). If either side fails in their duties, the contract can be broken; the employer has the right to fire the worker or the employee can look for work elsewhere.

Read the whole thing. It is important.

E-cigarettes are… No! Wait!

Matt Ridley points out that e-cigarettes turn out to be not so bad.

The [UK] government now says vaping with e-cigarettes is such a good thing that we should be prescribing it and smokers should be rushing to take it up. It’s 95 per cent less harmful than smoking, it’s helping people to quit tobacco and there’s no evidence it’s a gateway into smoking: rather the reverse

Not only are they not worse than death, as we have been told; not only are they not a “gateway to smoking,” as we were told, but they actually are HELPING people quit smoking AND 95% less damaging than cigarettes.

Now, I’ve never smoked or vaped, and don’t plan to. I don’t advocate inhaling poison into your lungs for recreation, HOWEVER, the point is, the governments didn’t actually study e-cigarettes, they just, automatically went into full panic mode.

People who hate freedom (and guns) are bad at math

Well, they are either poor statisticians, or they hope to bury their lies under deceptive use of intentionally deceitful statistical methods:

Fraudulent study in the American Journal of Public Health inaccurately claims that states with more guns have more police deaths

The end of last week a study in the American Journal of Public Health claimed that there were more police feloniously killed in states that had more guns. The study got extensive news coverage at the TV networks such as NBC News, newspapers such as the Chicago Sun-Times,  and international coverage such the UK Guardian.  Yet, it took just a couple of minutes to read the paper and realize that the empirical work was done in a very non-standard way.  There is a big benefit to using so-called panel data, where you can more accurately account for differences in crime rates across states or over time.  This method is called “fixed effects.”   Strangely the authors, David Swedler, Molly M. Simmons, Francesca Dominici, and David Hemenway, only control for the differences across states and not over time.

A couple of simple examples show why other studies on crime take into account these factors

Take the differences across places.  Many people point out that the UK has both a lower gun ownership rate and a lower homicide rate than the US.  Some use this to claim that gun control causes crime rates to fall.  But the homicide rate actually went up by 50 percent in the eight years after the 1997 handgun ban went into effect.  The homicide rate was still lower than that in the US, but there were lots of reasons it was lower to begin with, not the handgun ban.

The same point applies over time.  Suppose a state passes a gun control law at the same time that crime rates are falling nationally.  It would be a mistake to attribute the overall drop in national crime rates to the law that got passed.  To account for that concern, researchers normally see whether the drop in crime rate for the state that had the change is greater or less than the overall national change.

Unfortunately, the American Journal of Public Health study doesn’t account for this last concern, and it makes a big huge.  Here is a simple version of their regression explaining the number of police officers feloniously killed over the years from 1996 to 2013, but without accounting for the time effects that we just discussed.  Before going through the results, the media coverage of this study is incorrect in claiming that more guns are associated with more police killings.  What the journal article actually measures is not the gun ownership, but the percentage of suicides committed with guns (fsdsuicides).  This regression looks at the total number of police feloniously murdered with their measure of “gun ownership” and the number of police officers.  In this regression it appears that a one percentage point increase in the percent of suicides committed with guns increase, there is a significant 1.8 percent increase in the total number of police killed.

Unlike those who would use statistics to deny you your birthright, John Lott includes all of the math for you to review and refute.