The Unstated Logic of Every Every Minimum-Wage Law

A deputy sheriff pays a visit to a small business. He confronts the owner.

DS: I see you got a “help wanted” sign in your window.

Owner: That is correct.

DS: How much is the starting wage?

Owner: The federal minimum wage.

DS: We got a local minimum wage of $15 an hour.

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Owner: I cannot afford that much.

DS: That don’t cut it with me, boy. The city government says you got to pay a living wage.

Owner: I already do. All of my employees are alive.

DS: You trying to make me look stupid, boy?

Owner: You don’t need any help from me.

DS: I see. A smart ass. Well, we got ways of dealing with smart asses. I’m writing you up. You’re going to pay a $10,000 fine, I expect.

Owner: That’s outrageous.

DS: No, it ain’t. $334,000 is outrageous. That’s what Seattle collects. We’re real lenient around here.

Owner: But I cannot afford to pay $15/hour.

DS: Well, then, you need to go into another line of work.

Owner: But I have invested everything I own in this business. I took out a large loan.

DS: Then you better have gotten someone to co-sign the note.

Owner: I will have to fire all my employees.

DS: Then they will get jobs that pay a living wage.

Owner: But they can’t get jobs that pay more than I do. That’s why they took my offer. I’m the best deal they have.

DS: You’re one of them exploiters. You take advantage of poor people. That’s not going to be allowed.

Owner: You’re going to kill small businesses all over town.

DS: Serves them right.

Owner: But how will they support their families?

DS: Not my problem.

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