“If it were only so simple to pass a law and increase income and wealth. ‘One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than by their results,’ as the late free -market economist/educator Milton Friedman once said.”
The Houston Chronicle, as yesterday’s post documented, has gone from bad to worse in the hydrocarbon capital of the United States and world. The New York Times of Houston (the proper name for our supposedly hometown paper) seems to be at war with not only Donald Trump but also skeptics of climate alarmism and the free market more generally.
Along with climate-alarmist unsigned editorials, guest editorials, (selected) letters-to-the-editor, and cartoons, the Chronicle is all-in with Progressive notions. Consider the lead editorial on Labor Day, September 4, 2017.
$15 Minimum Wage for Rebuilding
In LABOR DAY: “Higher Minimum Wage Can Help Workers Weather the Worst Storm,” the editorial board called for “building a sustainable economic infrastructure that guarantees Houstonians who work a full-time job don’t have to spend their lives treading water.”
It ended: “A $15 minimum wage, more affordable housing, universal health care and a robust public education system all work to build a solid financial foundation that ensures everyone will be able to weather the next storm.”
Economics 101 explains how the real (above-market) minimum wage is zero (because an individual is no longer employed).
How does an all-or-nothing $15 per hour that help the victimized worker (often the youngest, the least experienced, and/or of color)?
What if the restaurant is a little more dirty or the surviving employees are worked too hard to make up for the shortfall? If some workers do get a higher wage, how is this morally superior to those workers that are terminated?
Artificially high wages also speed up the substitution of capital for labor–as by installing touchscreen kiosks at restaurants. Is this what the Houston Chronicle wants to speed up for Houston’s recovery?
Good Intentions Not Enough
The Chronicle editors’ case is based on need. Paychecks can not be enough (“These days, hard work isn’t always enough if your paycheck is little more than $10 an hour,” they say). Personal finances stretched by the recent storm require more income.
Nice thought, but ….
If it were only so simple to pass a law and increase income and wealth. “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than by their results,” the free market economist/educator Milton Friedman once said. He also cautioned:
A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.
The editorial board of the Houston Chronicle is not thinking in critical terms because its members are not intellectually diverse enough to provide close examination of each other’s arguments. The New York bosses of our paper (the Hearst Corporation) are no doubt pleased. But do Houston readers deserve better?