When it comes to making libertarianism more marketable to people, I’ve always tried to advocate realistic ideas. I looked at the issue of Medicare and Social Security and changed my tune from saying “Abolish it!” to “Let’s make it better and cheaper.” I changed my tune on welfare and Medicaid from “Oh hell no!” to a more human stance of “Hey, let’s make it so everyone gets some coverage and food while still saving money.” I also looked at a lot of issues from a budgetary standpoint, as well as the current tax code to realize how we can do things such as recovering existing student loans, better handle public schools, properly conduct defense, and more while having a small and efficient government which can be operated on a lean tax code and budget. I have worked to become the libertarian trying to equate policy into real policy which everyone from Ted Cruz to Bernie Sanders can vote for. That said: The minimum wage is fucking stupid.
When it comes to the minimum wage, I see it as the ultimate talk of government giving people fantasyland candy. It’s just this magic thing to certain voters — be it Democrats, independents and even Republicans — where someone such as Bernie Sanders becomes this working man hero advocating such a God-awful idea as a $15 minimum wage. They actually gain votes spreading this lie that they could randomly in one signing of a pen to paper make someone’s wage double and have no consequences on that. It is a lie and it’s an issue where in no form, there’s any real compromise which is going to be economically very viable.
From that, let’s look at five ways you can change your friends’ minds and not come off like a complete prick.
Before we start, let’s look at the top three ways people should absolutely not approach being against the minimum wage.
3. Why not $100 an hour?
This one is the most common way conservatives and libertarians currently do it and it’s not really getting them anywhere. The reason it’s so commonly used is it’s a truth. Why is $15 good, but why not $50 an hour? Why are you so greedy to stop at $15? It makes perfect sense and is a perfectly valid point.
Problem? From experience, it’s just an easy attack to walk off. Most people in the left will look at that and say “I drink water to live, but too much and I’m drowning.” It’s just something which makes them think an extreme was met over a real discussion and enters realms of over simplicity. For that reason, it doesn’t work.
2. America Isn’t Competitive With $15 An Hour!
This was a Donald Trump reason in one of the Republican debates. The problem, however, is it just doesn’t make much sense. Go to a factory in America which is making hats, food products, or electronics, and everyone is making over $15 an hour. Go to a big plant such as Ford, GM, Apple’s American plants, or hundreds of others, and find workforces in factories making $20-50 an hour. It’s just an argument that doesn’t make much sense and only helps the left make the case that $15 is okay.
1. People need to work harder.
Do not go tell some barista at Starbucks making $10 an hour working 16 hour days that they just aren’t working hard enough. They probably are just a leftist loser, but just don’t do it!
Okay, now on to the five ways to make people hate the minimum wage.
5. Cost of Living
This is just a basic one, but it relies on being more of a counter instead of a method of convincing people. The way it works is that a lot of pro-$15 minimum wage people say that “Other countries have $15 minimum wages!” The simplest counter is just pointing out that $15 in Australia or Denmark isn’t $15 in Oklahoma. America’s cost of living is about 25-40% less than countries like Australia; making $15 there is more in tune with making $9-11 here. And that’s just averaging the cost of living in America as a whole. If we factor in a state such as South Carolina, Oklahoma, or Louisiana, the cost of living there results in them having about the same minimum wage as Australia or Denmark.
Also, $15 in America would mean that, in about half of the states, the cost of living gets people what would be about $23 in Australia, which is quite insane.
This one is sort of a compromise and not one I’m a big fan of, but it is a decent one. Point out how other countries such as Australia and certain European nations have lower minimum wages for younger workers and it seems to help low skilled workers. After they agree, it’s a good “gotcha” and moves someone supporting the minimum wage to admitting “Okay, the minimum wage can actually hurt some workers.”
3. Make Things Cheaper
This approach is basically a method of just moving on from the minimum wage debate and getting people to focus on other issues. When someone says “I want a $15 minimum wage!”, it is sometimes a better counter to just change the topic by addressing the problem and creating a new solution. A very clean and nice way to counter a higher minimum wage would be to say “I have researched the minimum wage and think raising the minimum wage is just too much of a risk; when I look at data, I see that it could cost the market jobs. Instead, I think we should focus on making reforms to lower the cost of energy, housing, food, healthcare, and education.”.
This just falls into a bit of a distraction method, but could just work to create a happier environment where they might still be pro-minimum wage, but won’t be so whiny about it.
2. Helping the Underprivileged
Every time the minimum wage has been hiked in American history, there’s been a hike in black unemployment. According to economist Antony Davies, raising the minimum wage just 20% would double unemployment for those without a high school degree.
A study on the $15 minimum wage found that the idea would result in a loss of five million low income jobs and that only 10% of people getting wage increases were from low income backgrounds.
These points help to show that the minimum wage is a tool which hurts the poor instead of helping it.
I don’t really love always using economic examples, because I’ve just noticed people don’t normally get it. So this is an example I use and I’d hope others can use it.
Let’s look at a business founded by a colonel, that serves something they try to pass off as chicken: KFC.
The average KFC pays $9 an hour. Currently KFC runs a labor cost of 25% for the business. The average profit margin on a KFC is about 10% for the business. The average checkout average per person at KFC is $10. This means if prices went from $9 to $15 by force on the minimum wage labor cost on a KFC is now about 40% for the business. So, if KFC randomly became a nonprofit, they’d still run a loss on the $15 minimum wage hike. KFC is now left with really no situation where they don’t just lay people off, cut other costs which likely cost jobs, cut profits which hurts jobs due to profit loss, or just raise prices hurting the consumers.
The simplest case to make is this: the minimum wage sucks, but keep it simple. Don’t be angry, sound fixated on hating the poor, and acting rude to the left. This is a pretty easy issue to counter at the end of the day, and it should be an easy fix for a liberal.
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