Let me take a moment to express my gratitude to all of you who read this blog on a regular basis. You are the fuel that keeps the fire going. Furthermore, I personally believe that you are a cut above the herd (several cuts, actually) and I wish all of you served in elected office. The country would be much further ahead if we had thinkers instead of talkers running the show.
I received several comments via email about the Minimum Wage post which I put up yesterday. Of course, you realized that this was tongue in cheek humor – but I plead “nolo contendere” as I had just finished watching several Marx Brothers movies and their spirit of light-heartedness overcame me.
Several serious questions were raised in your emails which I want to address in this post.
Q: If we raised the minimum hourly wage to $50.00 for all American workers, wouldn’t that require us to re-define our base for what constitutes the “poverty level?”
A: This is an excellent and insightful observation. If your lowest paid American were now earning $100,000 per year, that would become the new poverty-level baseline. Instead of paying athletes $10 million a year, we would have to increase their salaries to at least $30 or $40 million a year – just so they could keep up. That doesn’t seem like a bad thing – especially if we taxed them at, let’s say, 90% of their income just to keep the social programs we have designed running. And that would certainly ease the consciences of a Bill Gates and Warren Buffett who believe that they and those in their asset class are under-taxed.
Q, Wouldn’t raising the minimum wage to $50.00 per hour create inflation?
A. Yes it would – and that, of course, is a good thing. Just think of the benefit to our farmers for a moment. If they are able to sell their tomatoes for eight dollars apiece, consider how much value that would add to the GDP. Now you may say that if they’re selling tomatoes at eight bucks a pop, the consumer would pay at least thirty dollars each – and that is true. But the fact of the matter is that Americans don’t eat a sufficient quantity of fruits and veggies now – so the impact of this price escalation should be minimal.
Then there is the matter of the National Debt – rapidly approaching $17 Billion. There is no way that we can ever pay that off. Furthermore, our debt is clearly the fault of foreigners – primarily the Chinese and Japanese who hold the bulk of it – who through their purchases have encouraged our economic malfeasance. I mean, come on – we always give these Orientals credit for being smart and shrewd – but look at all this worthless paper they’re holding. If that one fact alone doesn’t shoot a gaping hole in the theory of the superiority of the Oriental mind, I don’t know what will.
So if we merely inflate our way out of our debt, making it worth, let’s say, only a quarter of what it’s present nominal value is, then we can declare ourselves in default and only say that we wrote off about $4 Trillion and thus we will save about $13 Trillion worth of face. That’s something our Oriental friends might actually admire.
Why we let our Japanese/American citizens out of our WWII interment camps is beyond my understanding. And it’s truly a pity that we don’t need to import any more coolies – but all of our railroads have been built.
Q. Where would we get all the money we need to pay everyone a $50.00 per hour minimum wage?
A. (I referred this reader to an excellent book on 15th century Germany). With the greatest invention of all time, the printing press, Guttenberg set central bankers free to do as they will with their currencies. We simply print more as we need it.
Now being someone who is ecologically concerned, it occurs to me that the quantities of money that we would need would probably exceed the number of trees that exist on planet Earth. While I would be willing to chain myself to an old growth redwood in our Pacific Northwest, I really don’t have that on my “to do” list. So, instead of doing things the old-fashioned way, why don’t we have the government just issue credit cards – like the ones that they give to people on public aid and as part of the SNAP program?
It’s been years since we attempted having solar power, via Solyndra, get established as a reliable source of affordable, renewable energy. We could develop credit card production facilities in Nevada and Arizona using this technology. That would help us out in Nevada with the highest unemployment rate in the nation – and it might just cut down on the number of illegals selling drugs imported from our southern neighbors by offering them nine to five regular jobs. Besides, I read where our star is entering the phase of its eleven year cycle in which it spews out the greatest amount of energy. Think of all that sun power just going to waste.
Q. If the Federal government implemented your suggestions, wouldn’t there be a great deal more waste than we already know exists?
A. Well, in the first place, it’s hard to conceive that it is possible to have more waste than already exists. And in the second, do you think we are Germans and efficient? This is America and we’re mostly all Americans here. Waste is good. It creates jobs which then requires more people to repair the damage that was initially created. Don’t you understand the concept of unionism? Capitalist pig.
Well, dear readers, I’ve fielded the questions that were posed in response to my earlier post. Of course, I welcome any further questions which you might entertain and will do my best to address your concerns.
Faithfully yours in economic conundrum,