COLUMN: Minimum wage or maximum deception?

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Every April for the past three years, I have devoted a column to debunking the phony statistics and false economics behind the liberal assault on reality called Equal Pay Day.

 Naturally, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have not read my analysis, and they are apparently not smart enough to do their own, so they continue to pander to far-left voters by implying that businesses are intentionally short-changing their women employees by paying them 77 percent of what they pay men for the same job.

OK, don’t get me started! I REALLY don’t want to write another column about this nonsense, but if you do a Google search for “Equal Pay Day Inter Lake,” the top results will be my columns from 2013, 2014 and 2015 debunking the wage gap myth. Read them and weep for our uneducated electorate. It is a pity that voters are so easily swayed by phony feel-good rhetoric when cold hard facts are bouncing off their impenetrable skulls like snowballs off an armored vehicle.

It appears that our Founding Fathers were right that the republic could only survive and thrive if the public was educated and informed. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1816, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

But, unfortunately, that is just the situation we find ourselves in. Our leaders encourage us to be ignorant, and our ignorance leads way too many of us to think we are free even though we are being led over a cliff. After all, it feels good to demand “equal pay.” It “enriches” you to threaten the “1 percent.” It “empowers” you to shut down free speech you disagree with. It makes you feel superbly self-righteous to call other people “haters,” “racists” and “Islamophobes” because they are seeking to protect their jobs, their families and their country.

One of the favorite epithets used against Donald Trump is “demagogue,” and in one sense he is. In ancient Greece, a demagogue was an orator who espoused the cause of the common people. So yes, in that sense, Trump is a demagogue, and a proud one. While most national leaders are lining their pockets or pushing their personal agenda, Trump is actually listening to the voice of the common people and thus reflecting back “common sense.”

But the truly dangerous demagogues are the ones who try to get the public to walk over the cliff by misleading them. Pay gap? Oooh, sounds horrible! We must change it... College tuition too high? Oooh, those bad colleges! They should provide free education for everyone! Stuck in a job with minimum wage? Oooh, it’s the fault of those horrible businesses that are trying to make a profit! How dare they!

Let’s consider that demand for a “livable” minimum wage as one example of government gone amok. City after city and state after state seem to be moving toward forcing employers to offer a $15 minimum wage because, well, because it sounds good to people who are making $10 an hour.

But just whose fault is it that employers are only paying $10 an hour? This is not hard to figure out if you took even a high school class in economics. There is a little something called “supply and demand.” If there are not enough laborers in a particular field to do the job offered by employers, then those laborers find themselves in demand, allowing them to hold out for bigger paychecks. This is common in skilled positions such as oil-rig workers, nurses, engineers.

By the same token, however, if there are too many workers available in a certain field, employers will find that they can fill jobs more cheaply because if one employee quits who doesn’t like the wage, he or she can be replaced with a dozen other workers who will be happy to have any work at all.

The minimum-wage laws basically short-circuit all of this and mandate that employers should, in some cases, pay more than they need to but never less than they need to. This is an upward pressure on the cost of doing business, and ultimately has to result in one of three outcomes: 1) a smaller profit for the business owner; 2) higher prices for customers in order to keep profits at the same level; or 3) some combination of higher prices and smaller profits that forces the company out of business altogether.

Of course, Bernie Sanders and the other people who pretend that businesses are intentionally paying women less than they pay men out of pure villainousness also argue that businesses are intentionally paying employees less than they deserve because they are money-grubbing scoundrels.

What is particularly ironic about this whole charade is that it is plainly apparent that the very same liberal Democrats such as Clinton and President Obama who want to increase the minimum wage are most responsible for the minimum wage remaining artificially low.

What? How’s that?

Let’s go back to that fundamental economic principle called “supply and demand.” Wages are not low because the government failed to raise the “minimum wage” by mandate, but low because there is a fundamental excess of labor in the United States.

Why? Well, I’m sorry, but the easiest way to find the answer is to ask a businessman — let’s say, Donald Trump. The two main planks in Trump’s economic platform are bad trade deals and illegal immigration, and those are also the simple explanation for the decades-long downward pressure on wages that has been experienced at the lower end of the economy.

By turning a blind eye to more than 10 million illegal immigrants in our country (probably closer to 20 million), the government has essentially green-lighted low wages. If those 10 million or more people were deported (or just prevented from working by forcing employers to use e-Verify), then suddenly businesses would have millions of jobs that were unfilled. Companies desperate to get people to do everything from emptying the trash to flipping burgers and doing yardwork would suddenly find themselves paying employees more (a lot more) not because of a government law, but because of a natural law — the law of supply and demand.

And to add to the mess, while the supply of labor has greatly increased due to government malfeasance, the demand for labor has greatly diminished due to the same “stupid” (to quote Trump) leaders who have exported our jobs to China and Mexico.

Ross Perot famously told the American people in 1992 when he was fighting against the North American Free Trade Agreement that “the giant sucking sound” you hear is U.S. jobs going to Mexico. He was right. By agreeing to eliminate protections for American businesses, the United States has exported hundreds of thousands of jobs to Mexico.

Now, President Obama is on the verge of doubling down on the problem by implementing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will make it easier for multi-national corporations to ship jobs overseas to countries like Japan, Vietnam, Chile and Malaysia.

U.S. manufacturing is already decimated, and TPP will be the coup de grace. Ford, Nabisco and Carrier will be joined by hundreds of other corporations in telling their U.S. employees “thanks for the memories” while packing up and taking advantage of cheap labor overseas.

It’s a recipe for economic disaster: More workers plus fewer jobs equals a declining labor market that results in lower wages. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand this, but it certainly helps if you aren’t a self-serving politician. What’s interesting is that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have combined across party lines to fight TPP, joined belatedly by Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile Republicans John Kasich and to a lesser extent Ted Cruz have worked with Obama to make the trade deal a likelihood. But the majority of Congress along with President Obama seem bound and determined to give the globalists what they want and leave U.S. workers fighting for those few jobs that are left.

The problem isn’t the minimum wage; it’s the maximum deception practiced by our government in cahoots with multinational corporations to rig the system for their own benefit. If you want your high-paying jobs back, end illegal immigration and bad trade deals. Anything else is political pandering to make you feel better just before the lights go out.

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