I’m sure you’ve heard this rallying cry from many conservatives. It’s a line that might sound like it makes sense to gullible Republican voters—except it doesn’t.
Make no mistake about it, our minimum wage and the amount of people on welfare at deeply intertwined. Welfare, of course, being another issue Republicans endlessly attack, while opposing an increase in the minimum wage.
Let’s just think about that for a moment. We have a minimum wage that’s so low, many people working full-time at the wage still qualify (and often require) assistance from the government to survive. Therefore, our minimum wage being at such low levels is forcing millions of Americans to rely on help from the government just to get by.
Now enter the Republican nonsense that the minimum wage kills jobs and that we must make cuts to our welfare programs because there are too many people relying on the government instead of “taking personal responsibility for themselves.”
So basically Republicans oppose any hike in the minimum wage — a hike which would help millions of people no longer require help (or at least as much help) from the government — all while claiming that there are far too many Americans relying on help from the government.
What next? Are they going to oppose sex education in our schools and access to contraceptives, then complain about the rate of abortions due to unplanned pregnancies? Oh wait, never mind.
Their ignorant stance on the minimum wage just baffles me. Sure, a hike would have a negative impact on some areas of our economy. But here’s a news flash — nothing we ever pass will completely please everyone. If we cured cancer, think of all the jobs that would be eliminated. Does that mean curing cancer is a bad thing?
I just love their premise that if we eliminated the minimum wage, suddenly job growth would skyrocket. How exactly? By creating a bunch of jobs that pay even less than our current minimum wage? How exactly is that going to help our economy or the American worker? Do these conservatives really believe that by paying some lower skilled workers less, that businesses are going to pass these savings on to other workers?
Please. They’ll do what they always do — keep it for themselves.
So how exactly does it make any sense to oppose a hike in minimum wage all while complaining about the amount of people relying on government assistance? It’s our ridiculously low minimum wage that’s causing many Americans to rely on government assistance.
This is honestly one of the most ignorant arguments I deal with when talking to Republicans. They literally will complain about people being on welfare while opposing a plan that would help millions of people get off welfare.
It makes absolutely no sense.
If we raised the minimum wage to a more respectable level, millions of people would make a decent enough living to where not only would they not require government assistance, they wouldn’t even qualify for it.
And don’t give me this nonsense that a raise in our minimum wage would be a “job killer.” I’m so sick and tired of that damn phrase I could scream. Everything is a “job killer” according to Republicans.
Tax hikes, “Obamacare,” raising our minimum wage—whenever Republicans need a “go to” talking point, they just throw out the term “job killer.”
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, demand creates jobs—period. If there’s consumer demand for a product or service, there will be businesses fighting among themselves to provide it. These businesses will then hire according to what demand dictates.
Sure, many businesses will initially fight against a hike in the minimum wage. Heck, it might even temporarily cost our economy jobs. But in the long run, demand will always win out. These businesses might let go of a few people in a knee-jerk reaction to a raise in the minimum wage, but if they can’t keep up with demand, they’ll be forced to hire more employees.
“Oh, but then prices will go up!” Excuse me, are prices going down? Demand often dictates prices as well. Nobody wants VHS tapes because it’s a dead technology, while Blu-ray and streaming services are the bigger ticket items right now. How much are VHS tapes compared to Blu-ray or streaming? Because demand for VHS tapes are next to nothing, prices for these items as a whole are next to nothing. However, for Blu-ray or streaming services you’ll pay more considering demand for these products is greater.
Well, as long as their prices remain at a price point that consumers find acceptable. This is just basic economics. But it’s something Republicans simply seem unable to grasp.
Take a hypothetical VHS vendor. Then let’s exempt them from “Obamacare,” give them a tax rate of zero and allow them to pay workers $1.00 an hour. Know how much money they’re going to make? Probably next to nothing. Know how many jobs they’ll create? Most likely zero. And if they did, it would be one job paying $1.00 an hour.
Consumer demand is the driving force behind our economy. Consumer demand would also increase if we raised the minimum wage as more Americans would have more spending money. Consumers with more money to spend create more demand, which then creates more profits for businesses which then creates more jobs.
Or we can do it the Republican way — cut taxes, cut benefits, reduce regulations and see all that savings go into the pockets of the rich executives (as they have for the last 30+ years). Then as consumer spending falls due to the greed of these corporations trying to squeeze every last drop of revenue from every last worker, they’ll continue to eliminate jobs as consumer demand plummets due to low wages and fewer Americans having jobs.
Then, to “create jobs,” these businesses will lobby Washington for more tax cuts with the promise that this time, they’ll actually create jobs. But what happens when their tax rates are reduced to zero? How will they create jobs then? That’s a question Republicans will never answer.
As this all goes on, and millions of Americans continue to rely on our government for help due to a minimum wage that’s simply too low for Americans to get by on, these same Republicans will stand there and push for cuts to those programs as well.
And that’s just how asinine many conservatives truly are. They claim there are too many Americans overburdening our welfare system, costing taxpayers billions, yet they oppose a hike in the minimum wage which would help millions of Americans get off government programs and become fully self sufficient.
But then again, these are the people who claim their party represents “freedom” while trying to ban homosexuals from having the right to marry whomever they love.
So common sense obviously isn’t a quality most conservatives value.
Image via AP