Arthur Christopher Schaper
Sometimes, the best antidote to unfettered liberalism is. . .unfettered liberalism.
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has jumped on the "Living Wage" bandwagon with Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Raimondo wants to ram on Rhode Island businesses another tax, called a minimum wage hike, requiring all entry level workers to get paid $10.10 an hour.
Why not $15 an hour? Labor protests over the past two years, especially around fast-food restaurants, pushed for that amount.
Let's consider the consequences of this policy.
Seattle, Washington is the first city to push a forced minimum wage hike to $15 an hour.
How is that working for everybody in the wet, damp Northwestern Metropolis?
A self-righteous, self-promoting socialist sits on the Seattle City Council, and she led the drive with her city colleagues to force the minimum wage:
Socialist Council-member Kshama Sawant was the main proponent of the $15 ordinance. She and her supporters denied that the policy change would hurt businesses in the city. In one interview, Sawant said there need be “no unintended consequences.”
Unintended consequences are the very outcomes which socialist Sawant was hoping to avoid, yet rolled out in full force.
Governments do not create wealth. They can only impose rules and force businesses to make certain choices.
Businesses throughout Seattle have been making those tough choices, and they are not helping the economy. The minimum wage hike was touted as a means of making Seattle affordable for all.
Now, it is getting to a place where it is not affordable at all.
Youth unemployment sits at a 30% high. Not good for young people wanting to strike out on their own with marketable skills.
Businesses are laying off staff, or getting rid of perks like musicians.
Some fast-food restaurants have dispensed with employees altogether. This photo spells out the consequences of forced wage hikes:
How many people want to go to any restaurant where they have to do all the work?
Just to save on costs, the businesses are cutting staff, and yet the service suffers more, and now businesses are getting less. . .business.
The minimum wage hike does not just hike costs, but causes potential consumers to take a hike, dispense with eating out, along with other service driven outings.
A well-known book store in San Francisco closed earlier this year, too, because of the minimum wage hike. The owner never believed that the measure would hurt his business.
The best of intentions created the unintended consequences of higher business/labor costs, and today the bookstore is no more.
Seattle has pushed to city scale the limits of these stupid policies which punish job creators with wasteful, disgraceful policies. All in the name of advancing equality, these forced pay hikes do spread something: unemployment and anemic job growth.
Will it be too late for Seattle to learn its lesson? If a city falls into a divided camp of an enriched political class and impoverished everyone-one, violence may ensue, or the ultimate financial collapse may follow.
Either way, Seattle's presser for wage inequality has created a yawning gap of poverty and loss.
Rhode Island already struggles with exorbitant business and labor costs. Poverty and loss are becoming the norm.
Pushing Rhode Island's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would exacerbate this reversible decline.
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a writer, blogger, and political commentator on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance.