WURTZ: Minimum wage laws have failed for over 4,000 years

Posted by on February 15, 2015
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Minimum-Wage

On February 10, 2015, the Kentucky House passed HB2 (56-43) increasing the minimum wage rate from $7.25 to $10.10 by July 1, 2017. Republicans opposed the bill and Democrats championed it.

The LRC Newsletter quoted Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo (D), “Governor Steve Beshear (D) reports that Kentucky opened 340 new businesses and brought in 15,000 new jobs last year alone. No one should believe that this bill is going to cost anybody any jobs.”

Is Stumbo telling the truth? Were 15,000 jobs created last year alone in Kentucky? The Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that this is inaccurate. In January 2014, Kentucky’s employed was 1,887,323. In December of 2014, employed declined to 1,874,356. That’s a drop of 12,967 jobs. Why would anyone believe any of his “stats” or minimum wage predictions?

At least NBC’s Brian Williams was suspended for not telling the truth. Republicans in the House should demand that Speaker Stumbo apologize for providing false data.

So is Stumbo telling the truth that government minimum wage controls are not costly? I did some painful research into the history of wage and price controls. Every civilization pursues these controls in the false progressive spirit of compassion, fairness and equality. In the end, each was pursuing power, control and money and each one failed.

Babylon

Over 4,000 years ago, the Babylonians believed in rigid wage and price controls. They developed a “fairness doctrine” called the Code of Hammurabi. Here a few of its codes:

“257 – If a man hire a field-labourer, he shall give him 8 gur of corn per annum.”

“269 – If an ass has been hired for threshing, 10 qa of corn is its hire.”

“274 – If a man hire a son of the people: pay a potter – 5 grams of silver, pay a carpenter – 4 grams of silver.”

As hard as its government centralized-planners tried to control wages and pricing, their economic system failed.

Monarch Henku (Egypt)

In 2830 B.C., Henku had inscribed on his tomb, “I was lord and overseer of southern grain in this nome.” He controlled the price and distribution of grain. He knew that whoever controlled the food controlled the people. Whoever controlled the people controlled everything.

As hard as its government centralized-planners tried to control wages and pricing, their economic system failed.

Confucius (China)

Around 552 B.C., Confucius is quoted as saying, “Government interference is necessary for economic life and competition should be reduced to a minimum.” DEMO-RINOs must love this guy. I think Confucius was very confused.

As hard as its government centralized-planners tried to control wages and pricing, their economic system failed.

Kautilya (India)

In 321 B.C., philosopher Kautilya preached for “just” wages for each occupation, “Wages for the works of other kinds of artisans shall be similarly determined.” Thousands of years ago, Kautilya defined the Hooker Wage Control Policy:

“The superintendent shall determine the earnings… expenditures, and future earnings of every prostitute.” He provided an important footnote to show he was an enlightened philosopher, “Beauty and accomplishments must be the sole consideration in the selection of a prostitute.” Finally, a bureaucrat who selected talent based on merit instead of political correctness.

As hard as its government centralized-planners tried to control wages and pricing, their economic system failed.

Lagid Dynasty

In 306 B.C., government used torture to maintain their wage and price controls in order to control the supply of food.

As hard as its government centralized-planners tried to control wages and pricing, their economic system failed.

Aristotle (Greece)

Aristotle also championed price controls, “To see to it first that the grain was sold in the market at a just price, that the millers sold meal in proportion to the price of barley, that the bakers sold bread in proportion to the price of wheat that the bread had the weight they had fixed.”

The Athenians also implemented a policy of ridding society of surplus citizens so their regulated economy could be sustained. I’m not sure, but I believe they aborted the babies of the irresponsible members of society and established death panels for the elderly. Thank God something like that could never happen today.

As hard as its government centralized-planners tried to control wages and pricing, their economic system failed.

In 1776, a bunch of farmers and merchants came together and decided to do the opposite. Instead of government controlling people, wages and pricing, they decided the people would control government. It was radical, new and the United States of America changed the world.

  • They created a representative government.
  • They trusted people over government.
  • They believed in free markets instead of centralized-planners.
  • They limited government intrusion.
  • They defined individual freedoms the government could not limit.
  • In less than 200 years as a nation, the U.S.A. was the most successful, most free and powerful nation in the history of the world.

Today, Democrats believe it’s time to throw all that freedom and free market success away and return power to government centralized-planners. They’re again screaming for minimum wage price-fixing.

For over 4,000 years, government wage and price controls dictated by centralized-planners have failed and resulted in chaos, torture, poverty and mass murder.

It would be better for all parties if minimum wage laws were eliminated. Let’s give the free market an opportunity to reclaim its greatness by eliminating government’s price and minimum wage control policies.

Please urge your Kentucky senator to vote no on HB2!

P.S. – Watch this short video Capitalism and Greed (2:23) from the 1970s. Capitalist Milton Friedman gives a major smack down to liberal T.V. host Phil Donahue. Classic!


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Tom Wurtz

President at Tom Wurtz Consulting
Tom Wurtz is the President of Tom Wurtz Consulting and former President & COO of a $70 million consulting firm in Cincinnati, OH. He’s a leadership & profit consultant, keynote speaker, trainer, columnist, founder of the Eagle Leadership Academy and author of three books. He has published over 900 business and libertarian/conservative political articles. In 2012, he unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Congress in Kentucky’s 4th District. Tom resides in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky and has been married to his third-grade sweetheart for 38 years.