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Thinking Independently
[Minimum Wage and
Being "Politically Homeless"]

December 1, 2014

The three of us don’t just write for the Daily News, we also read it!  Although we don’t necessary agree, we enjoy reading others’ views.  So this week we would like to comment on some of the issues others have recently mentioned.

First, are the Guest Columns by our friend Norman Pappous (November 19) and by Bill Brown (November 23) regarding minimum wage laws. 

Although the 10th Amendment may grant cities and states the power to set minimum wages, we don’t agree they should.  The debate should be about empowering people and not setting minimum income standards.  On October 6th, we reported the President set a minimum wage rate for Federal contractors at $10.10 per hour and Seattle set minimum wages at $15. 

There are two problems with this.  The first is that when a government -- be it national or local -- sets an arbitrary minimum wage there is no accompanying increase in productivity.  Without productivity increases, the ultimate result is higher prices resulting in vicious cycles of higher wages followed by higher prices with little long term benefit.   Secondly we should be focusing improving worker’s skills, which ultimately improve productivity and result in real wages increases.

Bill Brown made a point we have both experienced and agree with – mandatory minimum wages reduce the availability of entry-level positions where the prospective employee has no employment history to demonstrate his/her worth.  But  go a step further, when governments set artificial minimum wages, companies may start looking off shore for labor.  Have you tried to buy something made in the USA lately?   Good luck!  Even many of the goods sold in the Mexican Market in San Antonio are made in China!

Next, let’s look at Gerhard Meinecke’s Guest Column (November 23) on being politically homeless.  We concur; we all need have a willingness to think independently.  Nobody, Republican or Democrat, should be so connected to a political party that he/she blindly votes for people he/she doesn’t know and who may, or may not, be trustworthy!   Even the “Three Musketeers” sometimes disagree on issues and we work together to find common ground. 

We take umbrage, however, with suggestions that education and healthcare should be “free.”   Some recent experiences overseas have seen significant improvements in education by using the principles of the marketplace.  But the truth is that nothing is “free” and if it were, it would be worth exactly what you paid for it!  Currently about 50% of the people in our nation pay no income tax.  That means the rest of us are carrying their load. 

Even the Affordable Care Act is far from affordable with higher premiums, higher deductibles and less choices and it’s not “free.”  An example of “free” healthcare can be seen in our VA hospitals, with long wait times and with medical coverage that many of us vets avoid unless there’s no other alternative.  It seems that the VA example is what the Administration wants for us (a single-payer government-controlled system) and many of us vets can tell you, it just isn’t working and it’s not really free!

However, Gerhard, we support the idea of a consumption tax.  As we wrote in our columns on March 17, 2014, a tax like the “Fair Tax” would mean that everybody, including those who are here illegally, would end up paying taxes.  This would have the additional benefit of significantly limiting (or eliminating) the powerful IRS which has turned into an abusive politically-driven tax collector. 

So maybe we’re independent thinkers too!

Bill, Mark, and John