(May 7, 2009)

One might think that a Consevative such as I, who owned a chain of retail bookstores, would be against a government-mandated Minimum Wage. 

Many Conservatives (Limbaugh, Hannity, Kristol, Kristol, Crystal) warn that any increase in the minimum wage would, invariably, result in small business failures, and lead to a loss of jobs.

En Garde'. Saying so does not make it so.

Historically when minimum wage increases have been mandated, there has not been a commensurate increase in small business failures nor a loss of jobs.

Not long ago, when the economy was booming, you rarely visited, for example, a fast-food restaurant like McDonalds that did not have a "Help Wanted" sign in its window. Then you waited in line unhappily for 15 minutes, for your understaffed "fast food" eatery to deliver your Happy Meal - about the time it takes Smith & Wollensky to deliver your $79.00 lunch steak in Manhattan.

So why you might ask couldn't McDonalds get help? Perhaps because some people, or many people, didn't want to work that hard for minimum wages (chump change). And you wait in line. Kinda defeats the purpose of the fast food reataurant concept, no?

Ummm Hmmm. And why can't McDonalds pay higher wages and get more help, you ask? Because McDonalds might have to raise the price of a Happy Meal from, say $3.99 to $4.25 (Full disclosure - I'm no expert here as I don't frequent fast food places) the homely girl with the red pigtails over at Wendy's continues to serve her Whatever Meal at $3.99. So, you all go to Wendy's and McDonalds goes to Chapter 7.

But hold on now. If the Government mandates an increase in the Minimum Wage, both McDonalds AND Wendy's will have to raise their prices. Maybe people will buy fewer "Happy Meals." Oh ahahahah ha ha - I amuse myself.

Here's the Conservative rationale: (A) I think subsistance wages are a detriment to a free society, more appropriate to third-world countries. (B) People that work these menial jobs work harder than you and I - don't try to tell me different Mr. three-martini-lunch, I've been both places. (C) When my tummy is growling, and your "fast food" line is twenty minutes deep, call security. (D) A substantial increase in a workers wages leads to an increase in that worker's discretionary spending capability. (E) That increase in discretionary spending is good for the economy - good for business - good for you and me and (F) Even though it's a tax on all of us through higher prices, It's all done without government management, and without a Trillion Dollar "stimulus package." (more below). 

Actually I like fastfoods, and I believe my Cardiologist, Dr. Macaluso does too. But he says I can't have any.

The Conservative Sawyer solution: raise the minimum wage to $12.00 per hour. I'll pay another quarter for my Big Mac - and maybe I won't have to wait 20 minutes. No government programs. Then minimum wage people might actuall have some disposable income to spend - voila ! The whole economy benefits without an increase in taxes.

As a former retail entrepreneur, who would have been embarassed to pay anyone minimum wage, I agree with the Hillary Clinton quote - even if I do not agree with the mean-spiritedness with which it was delivered - "I don't know if we are in the business of propping up underfunded businesses."

At any rate, people shouldn't own businesses who earn a profit solely by squeezing the help. Better fewer retail stores, paying a decent wage, earning a decent profit.

Dec. 2, 2007 (From SAWYER2008.com): 

Conservatives, notably Rush Limbaugh, Bill Kristol, the Wall Street Journal, will justify tax cuts for capital gains on the specious argument that those entrepreneurs who are risking everything to start a new business, are providing new jobs. Capitalism and good old fashion entrepreneurship is what made this country, say they. Not so fast, say I. 

America has had entrepreneurs for over three centuries. A few lived in stately manors or large prairie ranch houses while most ordinary citizens lived in hovels, rented houses or sod huts. We had "entrepreneurs" during the Great Depression, but most Americans barely scraped by. Until 1945, this country did not have a middle class. After World War II, the American Economy was one of the few left intact. The demand for U.S. goods created a demand for U. S. workers. Previously scorned, labor unions were allowed to organize the workforce, and wages soared. The standard of living for the working class greatly improved. For the first time in our long (entrepreneurial) history, the people who manufactured consumer products actually could afford to own those products.

For the first time, an American middle class came into existence. Workers bought cars and built houses away from their rented homes in the core cities. Suburban shopping centers sprang up. Interstate highways populated with motels and fast food restaurants were constructed. People could afford vacations, and weekend homes. Most importantly, ordinary folks, who never dreamed that they could own their own businesses, opened restaurants, started up retail stores, became builders, and sent their kids to college. Airplane travel became affordable and common. 

The new middle class became the new entrepreneurs, only there were a lot more of them. (more about "entrepreneurs and risk takers below)

FYI - I have belonged to three labor unions. How many have Barack Obama, George Bush, Gary Aubuchon, Chauncey Goss, or any lawyer belonged to?

(yet again)

In 2011, Congress resoundingly has approved trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. late Wednesday, authorizing the most significant expansion of trade relations since NAFTA passed during the Clinton Administration. NAFTA of course, was supposed to bring jobs to all sides of the Mexican, American, and Canadian borders. What it brought was jobs to Canada and a mass exodus of illegals from Mexico to the United States.

While the deals with Colombia and Panama are likely to have limited economic impact, the agreement with South Korea is designed to break down barriers between the United States and the world’s 15th-largest economy.

The South Korea deal has the potential to create as many as 280,000 American jobs, according to a recent assessment by the staff of the U.S. International Trade Commission, and to boost exports by more than $12 billion. Several major labor unions have warned that any gains will come at the cost of layoffs among American workers because of heightened competition from South Korean imports.

Final approval of the agreements represents a victory for the Obama administration and congressional leaders in both parties, according to the newspapers who have touted the trade pacts as a means to jump-start the flagging economy without additional government spending. 

“I look forward to signing these agreements,” Obama said with typical shortsightedness, reflecting his total ignorance of Economics. He hailed passage as “a major win for American workers and businesses.” citing likely gains by producers of beef, dairy, pork and poultry products, chemicals, plastics, banking and financial services industries 

Senator Max Baucus (Dem) says passage of these agreements is a significant victory for American workers and businesses, and will help create jobs here at home.” I argue that these agreements serve to reward two countries, Panama and Colombia, that have been hostile to organized labor and international environmental standards, and South Korea, a major exporter of textiles, steel, machined parts and semiconductors, not to mention electronics and appliances from their huge LG plants, and Hyundai’s and Kia’s, two bargained priced cars that are already selling well in the U.S. American automobile sales remain severely restricted in Korea.
Union organizers in Columbia have been imprisoned for Union activities. The beneficiaries in Columbia will be (as in post NAFTA Mexico), the ruling elites. Absent labor unions, the workers will still receive low wages.

Are these basic free-market values? Do they make economic common sense? As I have pointed out on these pages, the American middle class was created by the rise in the influence of labor unions - and not before. If Unions thrived in Latin America and Mexico, a large middle class would transpire, and commensurately, a much, much larger market for American products would be emerge. That would create more jobs for American AND Korean, Columbian, and Panamanian workers.  

However we can count on two occurrences. 1. American workers will continue to see good jobs being sent overseas, and 2. Labor unions will continue to contribute to Democrat candidates who will continue to screw them.