Those who believe in a minimum wage are misguided, though their heart may be in the right place. Unfortunately, the higher the minimum wage, the higher the unemployment rate, particularly for young people and minorities, the very people the minimum wage is supposedly designed to help. It also results in more failing businesses, higher prices for consumers and lower tax receipts. Additionally, it will soon lead employers to replace workers with robots, further worsening unemployment. In reality, it is a lose-lose-lose-lose-lose proposition. But, again, one can understand the motive—or at least the emotion—behind the concept.
What is harder to understand, and virtually unprecedented, is Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison’s recent call for a “maximum wage.” The Gopher State Democrat, and, incredibly, Democratic National Committee Chairman, says the U.S. should institute a maximum wage so CEOs and managers can’t make so much more money per hour than their employees.
A maximum wage would require government to place a cap on all earnings, confiscate all earnings over a certain amount, or tax those earnings at a rate of 100 percent.
In a recent interview, Ellison remarked, “Why shouldn’t there be a maximum wage?” Then, after a reporter questioned him on his remark, Ellison responded, “I did not make a joke about maximum wage; I made a statement about maximum wage. What I’m saying is … If you were to say, ‘Look, if you make more than 20 times more than the people who actually make the products and do the services of your company,’ then we’re going to tax you more.”
Maybe the punitive income level for “bigwigs” should be set at 19 times more than the people under them. Or 12 times. Or five-and-a-half times, perhaps. And how long have the CEOs and managers been employed? How has their performance been? Why are they CEOs and managers?
If the owner or CEO puts up the money, takes the financial risk, thought up, constructed and organized the business, hired and paid for its employees (who now pay taxes themselves), must comply with all federal and municipal rules and regulations, has to travel frequently, and is frequently scrutinized by the public, and somehow produces a successful entity, perhaps placing an arbitrary hard cap on his or her income is not especially wise. Or conducive to economic growth.
This is textbook socialism. It does not seek to raise everyone up. It seeks to make everyone (nearly) equal in outcome, economically. This can only occur when everyone is (nearly) impoverished.
If the wealthiest folks in a society make, say, $10 million a year, while the “poor” people earn and or receive benefits equal to $33,000 a year, is it really more beneficial and more rational to put laws in place that limit the rich to an income of $200,000 a year—laws that will also guarantee the poor people will only take in, say, $10,000 a year? While the income gap is dramatically less, everyone, especially the poor, is dramatically worse off.
In case you think I’m just slinging numbers out there…you’re right…to a degree. But this is, in essence, what has happened in every Communist/Socialist country in the history of the world. Unless human nature is somehow radically altered, this will never change.
If we really wish to follow through on Rep. Ellison’s genius, we must also consider placing limits on how good-looking people may be, how articulate, how charming. The government should mandate minimum and maximum permitted scores in all sporting contests, as well. Wouldn’t that be exciting? If there are minimum scores needed to pass certain tests, surely there should be maximum scores allowed, so that the feelings of others aren’t unduly hurt. I think there should be minimum and maximum IQ scores. The minimum should be 65, and the maximum should be 130, no matter the given individual’s actual mental acuity. No one needs to be recognized as being more than twice as smart as anyone else.
I have spoken. Let it be so. Right?