“Literally, if we took away the minimum wage — if conceivably it was gone — we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”
And if we brought back slavery, we’d have 100% employment!
Why don’t we just make every American an indentured servant for the banks and get it over with?
It would literally conceivably possibly maybe kinda almost be reality!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
What we need to do is put a minimum IQ level requirement for members of congress. Something like IQ=50. Then people like Bachmann would be gone.
Is there anything wrong with this statement? Unemployment would decrease if there was a lower minimum wage.
Greatbear beat me to it. Bring back slavery and we could eliminate unemployment.
You might not even need to go quite that far. The harsher forms of sharecropping, and indentured servitude would likely do the trick. In some ways employers much prefer lesser forms of slavery because there is no requirement that the people you engage receive even minimal protection and upkeep. Slaves are property, and property demands maintenance.
Indentured servants and, the modern concept, independent contractors, can be forced to work for less than it takes to feed, cloth and house them.
jojame @4: Indubitably. And employees would be working for $1.00 an hour, if employers could get away with it.
It’s hard enough in this country to make rent at $7.25/hr. Eliminating the minimum wage would increase employment, but unemployment is only one factor to consider in the total set of factors that affect economy and poverty.
Eliminating the minimum wage would do nothing to improve the status of a vast number of American citizens; it would certainly lower the status of many, many others who suddenly found themselves taking an 80% pay cut.
I assume you’re playing Devil’s Advocate here, and not genuinely asking a daft question out of … being daft.
–>Yes, two things:
1. Data. We’ve never lowered the minimum wage, so we have no empirical evidence that the statement is true.
I don’t know if unemployment has risen when the minimum wage has been increased. However, even if it has, we run into another issue, to wit:
2. History suggests that employers will not hire additional staff if the current staff are getting the work done. There is no incentive to hire excess staff–they’ll put that money elsewhere (likely in the CEO’s paycheck).
If Bachmann compensated based on performance, she’d be paying the U.S. government a couple hundred bucks an hour.
We should start with Bachman getting a dollar a year as a congressperson, without health care or retirement benefits. If extended to all congress folks, we’d have more money for unemployment compensation…
Reducing the pay rates of millions of workers to less than living wages would reduce sales of all but the most essential products and services, as a result, fewer employees would be required throughout the economy. The bottom line: eliminating minimum wage would lead to higher unemployment, reduced tax revenue, and greater human misery.
This hearkens back to even before the Austrians of unlamented memory.
The trope from the capitalists was that there were Pareto optimalities in wages, after all, and all you had to do was make wages infinitely flexible.
Then you’d have full employment. Some people, CEOs, would only work for a billion a year, as is their due. Others would work for free, of course. Slaves, etc. And some, like cult followers, would actually pay you for the privilege of working for you, and thus have less money at the end of every day than they had before.
Given THAT degree of flexibility, full employment is assured. It was mostly a proof of concept – that laissez-faire could guarantee full employment if we really wanted it.
Another reason why doing away with the minimum wage would not reduce unemployment: In order to make a living wage, people would need to work 2 or 3 jobs, reducing the number of jobs available to keep everyone employed and earning enough to feed their families and have a place to live. (Never mind putting aside money for when they are too old compete in the dog-eat-dog job market.)
Of course, we could always establish sweat factories with worker dorms and “company stores” where employees could have meals docked from their wages. Wow. Wouldn’t that be a model of 21st century American ingenuity.
One of the best tings we could do right now for our economy would be to go to the four day workweek, with work weeks alternating as to when they start (monday, tuesday, wednesday, or thursday).
Or, perhaps a metric (ten day) week where everybody works for one half the week but not the other.
There is of course another problem with this. If the majority of people barely make enough money for food and housing, who is going to buy your products? Which means that in the long run, most companies will go bankrupt and we’ll have more unemployment.
It would make the military where everyone would be forced to work for to survive. That desperation would make them willing to take risky missions with cheap equipment. We could cut the Defense budget for equipment and make up for it with even cheaper labor.
A war with Iran under those circumstances would be a good thing. It would reduce the Iranian population of young people without jobs, and make zillions of new heroes for US politicians to crow about while shedding crocodile tears.
Older tactics would make a comeback, for example the human wave. You could save even more by going to weapons that didn’t need ammunition, such as swords, and in a wave-type attack, only the first few rows would need weapons. The later rows could pick up weapons dropped by the first rows.
Well, one problem it would solve is this: you can’t get food stamps unless you’re working. If you are getting minimum wage for your hours, your food stamps are cut. (Solution; while looking for regular employment, become self-employed, and count all the hours you spend looking for someone to pay you to pet sit, buy your paintings, etc as hours worked.)
OTOH, people would be stuck even deeper in unending poverty than happens now.
Another solution to unemployment would be a roll back to traditional values and made all women ineligible for work in most professions, freeing up jobs for currently unemployed men. The women can work voluntarily as house keepers – after all, family values!
@Greg#13: The French seem to have a system like that. That’s OK for people flippin’ burgers for a clown, but it doesn’t do jack for researchers. There are just some jobs that there aren’t anywhere near enough people to do (partly because of the brains needed, partly because the jobs always pay diddly-squat) so forcing the specialized workforce into working half time means major delays in huge projects such as satellite launches (just wait until people lose their MTV because a replacement bird now takes 5 years to build instead of 2, not to mention the queue building up due to the slow turnover).
Mad, this would totally not work for a lot of professions. It is interesting how our system (in the US anyway) is entirely oriented towards a limited number of models and simply can’t handle other realities (kinds of jobs) without a very stiff shoehorn.
bachmann needs to revise her opinion: everyone *except* herself would be employed, since she’s incapable of work.
IQ level requirement for members of congress. Something like IQ=50. Then people like Bachmann would be gone
or you could hire 4 bachmanns for her current job, and… oh,
uh-oh. the resulting IQ would be even lower.
I don’t think employment rates are so attractive in Somalia, and look at the negatively productive work many Somalians perform.
Somalia’s business climate is an extreme, but i think the above comment about the revival of the traditional family values “human wave” is closest to my “prediction”.
employers would lose financial incentive to maintain any ethical level of productivity.
OTOH, norquist, bachmann and other neo-slavery advocates would probably be horrified that the results would not turn out how they envisioned. i think that as long as reasonable legal rights were maintained (an assumption upon which i certainly cannot rely), worker unions’ membership would ‘explode’. “western” history has roughly shown that?
but, IAMNAH 😉
Actually, here’s an even better way to do it.
1. Outsource all work except anything that requires actual physical presence to execute. Gardeners, painters, plumbers and the like – they’d have to be local. But everyone else’s job would be done overseas, for a lot less. This includes every and all legislative positions. Sorry, Michelle; it was your idea, so you can take some comfort from that.
2. Any surplus population could be handled via a new Soylent Program. An elegant end to homelessness, uninsured health costs, poverty, overpopulation, foster care and orphanages, illegal immigrants AND hunger, all at once.
3. Free packets of hot sauce on Fridays!
4. Mmm. This pack of baloney is Bachmannriffic!
See? Problems solved! Who said Libertarianism isn’t workable?
Human beings are vulnerable in a free labor market, because a crust of bread a day and a rag to wear are very slightly better than being dead. That’s what we would take if we had to, and it’s in the nature of free markets that it’s all that the ‘buyers’ of labor would like to offer. And that’s what it would come to, for many people. Perhaps not for us, personally, if we’re fortunate enough and/or clever enough to have rare and expensively acquired skills that the buyers must compete for, but for lots of people who don’t. I take it for granted that this is a situation we would want to avoid.
greatbear speaks for many of us – eliminate the minimum wage, bring back slavery and we’ll have full employment!
Somewhere out there is a Tea bag follower out there, thinking Great idea, screw the poor, and when they are too old to work, We can shoot them!
Henry Ford was a brilliant businessman. He figured he needed to pay his workers enough so they could afford to buy his cars. He built an empire on that logic.
I am from Minnesota and a large majority of us feel that Bachmann is a disgrace to humanity. Having said that she assumes that landlords accross the nation would reduce rent because they would benefit from lower expenses too. Here is what that logic says;
1. Having already charged and received high rents landlords never (really never) cut the rent due.
2. If a “minimum wage earner” can’t make current rent the landlord will evict them. Therefore repealing the minimum wage would result in greater homelessness.
3. Now I know where Tom “I’m really as stupid as Bachmann” Emmer got his rants from. Boy I am really glad he didn’t get elected governor of Minnesota. It would be a remake of the movie “Dumb and Dumber.”
Fricken stupid… Someone told me she has a Phd.? She’s never suffered the lot of being poor and doesn’t understand anything about it. Social Sciences out the window. Doesn’t it all boil down to who’s got the money. Are Republican’s at their core really interested in “job creation” or is that just a cover for “it’s all mine and I’m gonna keep it fend for yourself.” I honestly don’t understand it. What are their motives? It’s people like her that make me want to move. And whatever became of the word greed? It doesn’t exist in our culture does it? Randolfis Pandemonium…
She does not have a PhD. In fact, she opposes higher education. She has a J.D. from a law school that later lost its accreditation (you may have heard of it: Oral Roberts) and an LL.M in tax law, which is funny, because she also opposed tases.
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