Vice’s Communist Propaganda on the Minimum Wage

Vice has waded in on the Minimum wage: Here’s Every Argument You’ll Hear About Ontario’s Minimum Wage Hike. What do they have to say?

vice-communismThings in Ontario are fine. The minimum wage going up is good news both immediately for workers and longer-term for the provincial economy. Fears of massive job losses in the wake of the minimum wage going up by roughly 20 percent are more or less unfounded.

How could anyone be as foolish to claim to know the outcome of this change after it’s been in effect for a couple of weeks? I agree that massive job losses are unlikely, but the Bank of Canada is predicting about 60000 minimum wage jobs will be eliminated over the next two years, which is hardly insignificant.

Good news for Canadian workers; cold comfort for the Tim Hortons franchisees overwintering in Florida with nothing but contempt for the poor to warm their hearts.

Every time an ideologue claims that a business owner has “nothing but contempt for the poor”, that business owner is likely to have less compassion for the poor.

Some headlines warned that the Bank of Canada was forecasting a loss of 60,000 jobs, but this appears to be something of a sleight. In addition to projecting that 60,000 fewer jobs (roughly 0.3 percent of Canadian employment hours) could be created nationally as a result of minimum wage increases across several provinces, the report also observes (on pages five and six) that despite this possible dip in the creation of new employment, “On net, … real labour income should be higher following the implementation of these measures relative to otherwise. This is because the 0.7 percent increase in the level of aggregate real wages more than offsets the 0.3 percent decrease in total hours worked.”

This argument is pure sophistry. Yes, the aggregate amount of money people are taking home is going to go up. How the hell does that help those who lose their jobs? They aren’t going to see that extra money.

Meanwhile, a 2016 report from the National Employment Law Project studied seven decades of federal minimum wage increases in the United States and found that there was no correlation between those increases and lower employment levels. In many cases, they found that overall employment actually increased following a minimum wage hike.

The NELP is a leftist think tank that openly advocate for increasing the minimum wage, and therefore their opinions are highly suspect. That said, this study is worth a look. Vice neglect to mention that minimum wage increases preceded job losses when the economy was in recession and jobs increases when it was not, which makes sense. I’d say this study is reasonable evidence that in the long term, the economy will adjust to the change.

Closer to home, a 2015 report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on the impacts of raising the minimum wage in British Columbia concluded that the benefits of a wage hike would far outweigh any potential drawbacks—which would not include widespread or even meaningful job losses.

The CCPA is also a leftist think-tank. Since they have an agenda (The CCPA is a leading and respected voice on the gap between the rich and the rest of us in Canada), their conclusions are not to be trusted.

Economic forecasting is as much art as science. But all the tea leaves (and meta-studies, and the minimum wage increase in Alberta) so far suggest that everything will be fine.

I’m going to trust the Bank of Canada over you, since they are economists and you are a left wing journalist.

But the operation of an advanced capitalist economy is characterized less by the rational administration of the production/distribution/consumption process than a mad scramble for money across a brutally uneven playing field.

A yes, the leftist agenda of Vice is now clearly exposed.

For all the entrepreneurs motivated to open a small business by meeting a need in their community, there are also a good many bosses whose sole drive is an undying and intensely petty power trip. And unlike other input costs against which Ebenezer’s children can only rage in silence, the state-mandated minimum cost of labour is an area where the militant business lobby can flex its political muscle.

And so, since they are already treated as villains by the leftist media, entrepreneurs will do the minimum required by the law. Do you think Tim Horton’s franchise owners will be donating to liberal causes now?

It’s grown quite strong over the years, especially in cases when we start talking about the “unskilled labour” of minimum wage work, which often seems to be code for “the deserving poor.” Society is a pyramid, you see, and it’s important that those on the bottom have just enough of a rough time that it motivates them to better themselves. Otherwise they might settle for the humiliating and degrading existence of trying to make a living by doing one of the many basic and indispensable jobs that society requires to function, which is outrageous.

Thank you, Karl Marx.

Of course business will strike back ruthlessly against any effort to hurt its bottom line: that’s just business, that’s what it does. Business isn’t a social creature. Business is a force of nature, a bloodthirsty bear god who will eat us all if not appeased. Markets are like the so-called savage beast; a bundle of nerve endings and instincts, wild and uncontrollable but basically predictable. You can’t reason with it or fight it. You just have to accept it.

You are a raving lunatic.

Everybody knows businesses will react to rising labour costs by sticking it to employees. Everybody knows that raising the minimum wage is bad for the economy. Everybody knows that the government needs to adopt the “smart but tough-to-sell policies (such as indexed wage hikes or targeted tax benefits)” I learned about in school but everybody also knows that they never will because the credulous masses love sexy and dumb ideas.

Everyone who is sane knows that businesses will react to rising labour costs by finding ways to reduce them. In the short term, jobs will be lost and costs will be cut, some of them on the backs of the people this change is meant to help. In the long term, the economy will adapt. Conditions may get a bit worse for workers, at least until there is a labour shortage. Businesses that were on the edge of failing may be pulled under. Employers may turn to automation. Prices may increase as the costs are passed on to consumers.

Ideology is one hell of drug, folks. But that’s alright. The minimum wage is going up and it’s all going to be OK. If a few petty donut-shop tyrants or my digital columnist colleagues want to insist that the sky is going to fall because the guy serving you coffee at three in the morning is getting paid 14 bucks an hour to destroy his circadian rhythm, that’s cool too.

This lack of self awareness is staggering. Calling anyone an ideologue after you write an article citing biased sources and then go on an unhinged communist rant against capitalism is hypocrisy of the first order. Vice is a business, and like any other has to control its costs. Did you write an anticapitalist screed against your own employer when they laid off 2% of your compatriots last year?

As always, comments are welcome. I will stand ready on the delete button for those not arguing based on the facts of the matter. Bring it on.


About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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