It appears that at least once a month, the public goes into a frenzy about this nonsense progressives have been crying about for decades called the “living wage”. Perhaps there will come a point when people realize that the only place progressives want you is in the lower class, and they only want you “living” so you can keep voting for them.
Why? Because they know that if you were to do something wild– like, find a niche or an untapped commodity in the free market, start up a small business, and turn it into a gold mine– that you would drop your support for their moronic, selfish, production and quality-depriving policies in a heartbeat. You might even reconsider how you tend to vote.
You might say something like “NOOO WAAAAY, I’D TOTALLY LOVE PAYING MY EMPLOYEES MORE THAN TWICE WHAT THEY CURRENTLY MAKE BECAUSE I CARE!” But of course that would be a lie, and you’d make up for it by sending half of them to the unemployment line, or worse.
The economy and the market are not influenced by emotion in and of itself. The emotions of the consumer might drive the flow of capital, but unlike how you vote, it does not care what you’re “feeeeeeeeliiiinnggg”, or how much you struggle to put clothing on those kids you made the choice to have in the first place. And it shouldn’t.
The government is attempting to make up for the beautiful nature of the free market by injecting empathy into it. The economy might be organic in that its trends rely upon the populous, but it does not breathe, it does not have a pulse, and it does not care about your tear-jerking tales of personal woe.
So I got back from another day at work and pulled up CNN, and of course– we have the usual “I’m not making a living wage” sob story– a story that you can bet your ass is going to be re-tweeted by, at a minimum, Debbie Wasserman Schultz or Harry Reid (maybe even both).
So, for today, I will thrash this thing to smithereens. Because it’s that easy to do, and I haven’t written in a few days.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
Kevin Burgos works full-time, earns more than the minimum wage and even fixes cars on the side to bring in extra money to support his family.
Yet, it’s barely enough to cover his basic living expenses, and Burgos finds himself in a $600 hole each month.
On the surface, this looks legit. A guy that supposedly works full-time, earns more than $10, and does odd jobs on the side is having a tough time making things work. For the millions of people that might have read the opener to this article and thought “hey, that sounds like me”, just stop. This is about Mr. Kevin Burgos and Kevin Burgos only. CNN Money doesn’t want to hear any of it.
For Burgos, it would mean an additional $6.50 an hour over what he makes now.
Currently, he makes $10.50 per hour as an assistant manager at Dunkin Donuts in Hartford, Connecticut. It’s well above both the federal and state minimum wages of $7.25 and $8.70, respectively. It’s even more than the $10.10 per hour wage that Senate Democrats are fighting for. He brings in an extra $400 each month by fixing cars on the side.
So what sets Kevin apart from the rest of you that makes his story that much more important than yours? To be CNN’s main headline as of about 4:30PM Eastern Time today? Oh, you thought this was going to be about a guy that is working in what is a field that is clearly overworked and underpaid? Something that might even require some skills, or an education? Yeah. Have another look at the previous quote from the article and take note of the fact that Mr. Burgos works at Dunkin Donuts.
And that’s not a “problem”, either. We obviously need people to work at places like Dunkin Donuts. I LOVE Dunkin’s coffee more than just about any other beverage on earth, so of all people, I sure as hell want individuals to consider it as a place of employment. But there is the difference. It’s a place to work, it’s a job, but if that is what you have decided to make your career, you have underachieved.
Perhaps it is as far as you can stretch yourself. Perhaps your skills are best-suited for Dunkin Donuts and not much else. Perhaps you are a great person, a great husband, and you have absolutely perfected the art of brewing that delicious coffee over there at DDs. Your store, and during your shift, might even be the home of the freshest french cruellers in the entire nation. I would give you a firm handshake for that, and even throw a few bucks in the tip jar.
Unfortunately, none of those traits make you worthy of being given more money. And that is because we are the products of our own choices, and not someone else’s.
He works 35 hours each week to support his family of three young children. All told, Burgos makes about $1,800 each month.
But his bills for basic necessities, including rent for his two-bedroom apartment, gas for his car, diapers and visits to the doctor, add up to $2,400. To cover these expenses without falling short, Burgos would need to make at least $17 per hour.
Perhaps what is considered “full-time” changes business-by-business, but I was under the impression that a full work week was forty hours. If that is the case, then Mr. Burgos, contrary to the article, doesn’t work full time.
So, over the course of a year, he makes about $21,600, and who knows what that comes to after taxes (assuming he even claims the car repair stuff). If his expenses are $2,400 per month, that means he’s required to dish out almost $29k per year. And that sucks. Instead of waiting around for an absolutely ridiculous, government edict that bumps his wages up to more than $17 per hour, you would think that the advice of “find a job that pays $17 an hour” would be considered using sound judgment. But no. We come up with these figures that relate directly to individual needs– figures that suggest we pay people for the choices they make as free people. Figures that are set with little regard for the fact that business owners will make some very dramatic changes in their personnel, scheduling, and hiring practices if they are forced to ax their bottom lines in half.
It’s simple to talk about what we think a “living wage” is when we choose to ignore the nature of that which governs implementing those policies. “That”, being the federal government. When the lady living next to you, the fifty year old managing the local McDonald’s and doing her best to make ends meet in her own way, is forced to lay off most of her workers to recover the profits the owner of the franchise will most definitely want back, what “reform” will you call for next? A government mandate that bars owners from firing their employees? A tax increase to offset the costs? A $13 Value Meal or a 10% income tax increase?– go ahead and choose, because it’ll be one of those.
When we turn to the government to exercise its way of showing how much it “cares”, you get one thing and one thing only: theft.
Amy Glasmeier, a professor of economic geography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has created a living wage calculator based on government data, which bears out this argument.
She breaks down the total cost of living, including food, housing, transportation, child and health care, based on the county in which people live.
Glasmeier said the cost of living rises with the size of the city.
While other folks at MIT are figuring out how to create robots with artificial intelligence so advanced that they will someday replace soldiers on the battlefield, it’s good to know that there are others at such an esteemed institution that are able to take the time out of their day to drop mesmerizing, and “upper echelon” facts about incomes as they relate to geographic location like this:
“The cost of living rises with the size of the city.”
Wow Amy, that is deep. On which page of the government’s last spending bill was your $1,000,000 allocation to enable you to come up with other doozies like that in time for next year’s “living wage” cry-fest?
In fact, I think I’ll take a quick break from this to throw some of my own economic insights out there in the hope of joining MIT’s faculty in the fall, in case anyone out there on the internet is watching.
What separates the 1% from the 99% is that, out of 3,000 Americans polled, those in the 1% tend to have more money than those in the 99%.
If Kevin Burgos needs to make ends meet, his personal living wage would be about $15 an hour. Now, if he chose to have a couple of kids, it would be about…
But wait! I’m plagiarizing. Because that is exactly what Mr. Burgos’ situation is.
Using Glasmeier’s calculator, Burgos would need to make about $15 per hour. But because he has three kids, his living wage would need to be slightly higher.
Any increase in his wage would make a huge difference to his life, Burgos said. That’s why he’s participated in several union-backed fast food strikes that have been building momentum across the country in the last couple of years. He hopes lawmakers will try to bridge the gap.
Kevin Burgos chose to have three kids. Of course choosing to keep his children is an admirable thing– many don’t when faced with bringing a child into a home experiencing economic struggle– but having them was still his choice. Even if each of his three kids was “accidental”, they are still the outcome of his choices.
The federal government should not be in the business of regulating or passing judgment upon the merits of our choices– at least not as a means of legislating what other people should pay you for them. Remember, the business owners that will be responsible for funding those choices make similar choices of their own and experience similar needs and struggles. When government officials, or when local idiots like Bill deBlasio tell you that progressive movements are “in our DNA”, all they are looking to do is make you feel a tiny bit better about tearing away a piece of your neighbor’s checking account and their time.
They convince you of this and you go off on your way, merrily, to “union-backed fast food strikes” (vomit) feeling good about yourself, devoid of any guilt whatsoever. At the same time they step away from the microphone, thank you for your time and your ear, before their chauffers open the door of their limousine and drive them home– faaaaaar away from “promise zones”, and all of that “affordable housing” they want to put next to your modest home in the burbs.
At this point the mission is accomplished for them. You can feel good about pushing for an increased wage– not a gradual one, but a bloated one– and by the time the market has adjusted itself and you’re back to finding yourself coming up hundreds of dollars short on your bills every month, a new progressive will take the last one’s place with but one objective to accomplish during their tenure: to get you to believe in unicorns all over again.