Free Markets, Free People

What is the worth of a job?

Well that’s determined by all sorts of variables – how much the person seeking the job is willing to take, how much the person wanting the job done is willing to pay, the scarcity or abundance of labor, etc..  And so in a free market, when a job is open it is up to the person seeking to have the work done and the person seeking a job to decide what it is worth to each of them.  If they can reach agreement, then the job is offered to the person seeking the job.  If agreement can’t be reached, then the job goes unfilled.

The bottom line is that no outside party can decide what that job is worth – in that mythical free market, that is.  However, we don’t have a free market and legislators, trying to buy the good will of voters with other people’s money, often decide they know what every job is worth at a minimum.  Thus the minimum wage.

Well this is anecdotal, I know, but it certainly seems to support every negative we here at QandO have been talking about for years.  In the long run raising the minimum wage only raises the cost of labor.  It does not change the worth of a job.  Ever.

SeaTac workers are learning that the hard way:

Last January, SeaTac implemented a $15 per hour minimum wage for hospitality and transportation workers. The consequences to the drastic hike in wages are just beginning to be realized—and it’s not pretty.

A writer for NW Asian Weekly recently blogged about her experience attending an event at a SeaTac hotel. She asked employees if they were “happy with the $15 wage.” The ensuing conversations,

“It sounds good, but it’s not good,” the woman said.

“Why?” I asked.

“I lost my 401k, health insurance, paid holiday, and vacation,” she responded. “No more free food,” she added.

“The hotel used to feed her. Now, she has to bring her own food. Also, no overtime, she said. She used to work extra hours and received overtime pay.

“What else? I asked.

“I have to pay for parking,” she said.

“I then asked the part-time waitress, who was part of the catering staff.

“Yes, I’ve got $15 an hour, but all my tips are now much less,” she said. Before the new wage law was implemented, her hourly wage was $7. But her tips added to more than $15 an hour. Yes, she used to receive free food and parking. Now, she has to bring her own food and pay for parking.”

SeaTac is a small city—10 square miles in area and a population of 26,909—with an economy almost exclusively defined by the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Five months into the implementation of a $15 minimum wage and it appears that a deep sense of regret has already flooded the city and workers who should have “benefited” from the terrible economic policy.

Meanwhile, as the largest city in the Pacific Northwest and one of the fastest growing major cities in America, Seattle is on the verge of following in SeaTac’s woefully unfit footsteps. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s $15 minimum wage plan includes a phase-in period of three to seven years and makes no exception for business type or size. Murray’s plan elicited back-lash from prominent Seattle businesses owners and economists alike.

Like we’ve said, increased costs associated with the job will likely be passed along to either the customer or the worker or both.  Here you have two perfect examples of how perks that helped workers and were of value to them (and for which they didn’t have to pay taxes) fell victim to some interfering government body unilaterally raising the cost of labor.  The worth of the job done didn’t increase at all.  Consequently, businesses looked at ways to compensate for the increase in labor cost.  As for the decrease in tips?  Well people tip well because they know most waiters and waitresses don’t make much for a wage.  However, when they’re making $15 an hour, suddenly there isn’t a great or compelling reason to “help them out”.  Tips decrease.  Why tip someone for doing their job when they’re making that kind of money hourly.  And, just as likely, prices have gone up to cover this expense.  Consequently, overtime is limited, etc.

Its not that this is something hard to figure out.  But the socialists among us never get past the feelgood part of it, because, well, because math is hard and economics is absurdly hard … or something..


22 Responses to What is the worth of a job?

  • You can just keep correcting with laws, right?   Free food for employees, mandated 401ks, (I bet it’s no accident that ObamaCare arrived to save us all and she lost her health insurance, ya think?), mandated free parking, mandatory 4 hours a week minimum overtime!  4 weeks paid vacation in the summer, and a week off for ‘the holidays’.   Why there’s no limit to the things laws can fix!
    Hey, and if not laws, there’s always regulations!
    Damn greedy business owners anyway, you’d think they built all these businesses by themselves or something.  They didn’t do that alone ya know!

  • Now, see, McQ, I thought you were going to go off on the REAL worth of a job, which is by no means subsumed in a wage…
    or according to my OLD, ANTIQUATED ideas of the dignity of work and the lessons that working teaches, etc.
    Now, however, my eyes have been opened by the Nanny Pelosi.  Raising the minimum wage will free untold numbers of people from “job-lock”.  Liberated from the intolerable (sob) burdens of working, they will be free to follow their dreams of starting their own businesses, writing cowboy poetry subsidized by the “Grandpa Simpson Reid” Federal grant program, tending their…um…herb gardens, and tagging subway cars with beautiful art when they can scrap enough spare change together for a can of paint.

    • Rags!  You cite those jobs as if they aren’t worthy of our tax dollars to support!
      Why, everyone has a right, that’s right, I said RIGHT! as in given by the creator, to, uh, write poetry or tag subway cars with art AND they have a right to have those urges PAID for by others so that the person exercising that right can be free to be themselves and true to their needs and desires rather than burdened by having to labor in some ‘job’ they don’t enjoy!
      Why, I can see a government, nay, a country! that encourages such work, the poetry jobs could be, pen ready, or paper ready, or rhyme ready.  The tagging jobs could be paint ready, we could build entire light rail networks specifically to give people the job opportunities they need to express their inner most liberated selves!
      Think of the art work, the contributions to mankind and the betterment of humanity and the earth!
      What if Douglas Adams hadn’t had to disguise his innermost workings as the alleged art work of Vogons, and had been paid, by the government through courtesy of YOUR tax dollars for producing works such as this…
      “Oh freddled gruntbuggly,

      Thy micturations are to me

      As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee.

      Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes,

      And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles,

      Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts

      With my blurglecruncheon, see if I don’t!”
      What if I, myself could receive funding for minimalist internet keyboard art like THIS!
      (.)(.) or this     [———]
      [  O  O  ]
      [     |    ]
      {    }
      Wouldn’t that be worth, I don’t know, at least an income of $35k after taxes?

      • The art was better before the reformatting posting engine got hold of it, trust me!
        I should STILL get my money though.
        After all, I put in a LOT of hard work on that!

  • President Obama will use his executive authority to cut carbon emissions from the nation’s coal-fired power plants by up to 20 percent, according to people familiar with his plans, and will force industry to pay for the pollution it creates through cap-and-trade programs across the country.
    Mr. Obama will unveil his plans in a new regulation, written by the Environmental Protection Agency, at the White House on Monday. It would be the strongest action ever taken by an American president to tackle climate change and could become one of the defining elements of Mr. Obama’s legacy.

    Or, as Steve Green points out, we’ll all be poorer as a result.  If this keeps up, you can raise the minimum wage to the moon, and it won’t mean a thing to people in that wage range.
    And all for a mythological “crisis”.


  • Meanwhile back at the ObamaDoesn’tCare ranch …

    Nationally, we estimate an initial decrease in the uninsured with greater use of the private health insurance subsidies, but over time health plan prices are likely to increase faster than the value of the insurance subsidy. As a result of the declining purchasing power of the insurance subsidy, the implementation of the qualified health plan requirements and the end of the reinsurance and risk corridor programs we estimate a significant reduction in the private insurance market in 2017 with steady declines continuing for the rest of the decade.

    … you have to pass this shit to find out just how shitty it really is …
    We’re from the government and we’re here to help … LOL

    • Needed to pass that stuff so people could hate it and ask the government to ‘fix’ the problem they created some more.

  • Worth of a job?
    I hear this morning that being a racist Basketball Team owner pays about $2 billion.
    That’ll teach the racist bugger eh?
    “Here, Take this $2 billion and get outta here ya racist!”

  • I lost my 401k, health insurance, paid holiday, and vacation,” she responded. “No more free food,” she added.

    >>> You do realize the endgame is to next pass laws forbidding this type of action?

    • Or just issue IRS regulations ‘forbidding’ that through penalty – it’s faster and easier.
      Same as the one that penalizes the hell out of you for ‘dumping’ your employees into the wonderful, super, great, awesome, Obamacare exchanges.
      I was about 25% kidding when I suggested taking away these benefits would become ‘outlawed’.
      Why not man, I have 28 year old kids I work with telling me that the Internet is a ‘right’.  They’ll get around to the other stuff to varying degrees – housing, meals, healthcare, phones, internet, cars, clothes, vacations.     I don’t see much difference in any of them since all of them will involve taking wealth from point A to hand it out at point B in some way.
      And you can find way too many people who will go along with the idea that all of those are rights without any trouble at all.

    • Rags!  You know that probably means they’ve all been liberated from “job-lock”.
      No doubt they’re helping the economy create jobs by collecting unemployment.
      1 out of 8…I wonder how many soon to be Cowboy Poets there are in that number.
      We shouldn’t be complaining about that number, we should be embracing it as signs of economic victory!  A sign of recovery!  And the success of the ObamaCare system, Carbon regulation and generally the result of a brilliant foreign policy.
      At a minimum it means we have a bunch of guys who can carry doubles for Barack and his buddies on the course.

      • I’m just waiting for the BOOM TIMES a’comin’ when we grant about 11 million NEW workers the right to “come out of the shadows”.
        Just like the kabillion new jobs that Nanny Pelosi promised us when we passed that mess we had to pass so we could find out what’s in it…

        • Well, we do have the Fourteeners, rushing North from Mexico to cash in on amnesty gold.
          Boom times indeed – The United States Citizen Rush, happening across the border Barack and Nappy Napolitano made as secure as ever last year.

  • Shinseki gone….Another “job” open, another guy on unemployment.
    “Speaking after a meeting with Shinseki at the White House, Obama said Shinseki had offered him his resignation.
    “With considerable regret, I accepted,” Obama said. “We don’t have time for distractions,” he added. “We need to fix the problem.”
    Yep, and now that Shinseki has resigned, and you’ve told us how angry ya are, and given a couple speeches on it, the ‘problem’ is fixed, right ya nasty little lying bugger?
    I can only say I’m surprised Barack didn’t find out about the resignation on the Friday evening news, like he does every thing else that happens in his misadministration.

  • There are currently 61.1 million American men in their prime working years, age 25–54. A staggering 1 in 8 such men are not in the labor force at all, meaning they are neither working nor looking for work. This is an all-time high dating back to when records were first kept in 1955. An additional 2.9 million men are in the labor force but not employed (i.e., they would work if they could find a job). A total of 10.2 million individuals in this cohort, therefore, are not holding jobs in the U.S. economy today. There are also nearly 3 million more men in this age group not working today than there were before the recession began,” the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee claim.

    • But there aren’t enough Americans to do the billions of jobs available!, so we’ll need to citizenize 11 million illegals (and growing fast) before the end of the year! – just ask the Chamber of Commerce, High Tech rich guys, the RINO’s and the Democrats.

    • But now we have a new guy to pass out the daily lie ration!  Progress!

  • I once saw an article about a riot in Iran that was in response to a minimum wage law, but the riot/demonstrators were against it.
    Which would be pretty rare.

    • I googled this, and I suspect the blurb I read did not explain that they were against the new minimum wage law because it was not high enough.
      I see they still have issues with this in Iran because of their high inflation.