03.31.2010 0

The War on the Young: The Minimum Wage

  • On: 04/08/2010 09:38:45
  • In: Uncategorized
  • By Adam Bitely

    Almost every politician claims to be doing work to preserve and protect America’s future. They pretend they are protecting America’s youth. But what they are actually doing is harming the nation’s youth and jeopardizing the future of the nation.

    For instance, consider the minimum wage. Proponents on both sides of the aisle argue that low-skilled workers — which all younger people in America are — will reap great benefits as they see their pay increase. However, that is the exact opposite of what actually happens when the minimum wage is hiked.

    In fact, many of the people that the politicians claim to help end up finding themselves unemployed or working less hours. But how can this be? How can the politicians that claim to be on the side of America’s youth be actually harming them?

    If one understands how the law of supply and demand works, then one can see the inherent problems with a mandated minimum wage. Demand exists for low-skilled laborers at a certain rate. However, once the cost of the low-skilled workers rises over that rate, the demand for these people vanishes. In short, that is exactly what has happened to the demand for youth in the labor force.

    Just last week, it was reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the unemployment rate among America’s teenagers was 26.1 percent compared to a year earlier when it was 21.7 percent. And two years before that, it was 15.8 percent. Notice a trend? And all the while, the minimum wage has been slowly increasing across the nation to the federally mandated $7.25/hour — and in some states it is higher where the state government added a minimum wage on top of that.

    Generally, states with minimum wage rates higher than the federal rate have higher unemployment. So, why haven’t the politicians and the youth connected these dots? In short, the nation is so far removed from free market ideals that nobody considers alternatives to the politicians’ suggestions.

    The market place, unimpeded by government interventions, has the perfect ability to set fair wages. When wages are driven up by outside actors, such as government mandating a minimum wage, jobs are often cut. Government, on the other hand, clearly does not have the knowledge to accurately determine what the value of each job is, and America’s youth are paying the price for their lack of knowledge in an increasingly expensive labor force.

    So, why isn’t there an uprising in the streets from America’s youth over this clear discrimination?
    The politicians cover their tracks well. The biggest advocates of minimum wage hikes, like Barack Obama, often employ sweeping rhetoric to describe fantasies of prosperity, while prescribing mandates and regulations that destroy wealth and prosperity. So smooth it is, the rhetoric sounds too good to not be true… Right? Wrong.

    America’s youth needs to stop listening to rhetoric and waiting for promises to be fulfilled by government, and instead focus on reality. Clearly, the most recent minimum wage hike hasn’t helped anyone. More young people are unemployed now than they were before the increase went into effect. Is this how government intends to provide for future generations? We had better hope not.

    Adam Bitely is the Executive Editor of the Liberty Features Syndicate for Americans for Limited Government.


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