Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Glade Sun

December 11, 2013

SCOUT REPORT: Getting what you pay for

CROSSVILLE — Few things draw the ire of progressive scorn like “income equality;” after all, class warfare is a central tenet of their ideology. It is a tool they use to manipulate the masses into ceding their own self-determination. For the idealist, everyone should make the exact same amount – regardless of qualifications, skill level or work ethic, for that matter – because every individual is a unique little snowflake designed to be celebrated. In a perfect world, no one would have to work for a living, leaving them free to spend their time traveling the globe, playing the African drums, writing poetry and making love. Sadly, our world is not perfect.

President Obama has had his sights set on increasing the federally mandated minimum wage for quite some time, and now that Obamacare is running ever-so-smoothly [cough], it appears as though he's about to pull the trigger.

Minimum wage is a progressive construct – devised, promoted and simultaneously scorned all by the same flawed brand of thinking. The Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938 under about as much contention as the Affordable Care Act. Anyone who has read The Grapes of Wrath understands that there must be some level of oversight in the private sector. But anyone who understands business must also realize that there really isn't a way to legislate a “fair” system of pay. Businesses will always outsmart regulations, because staying in business requires innovation. Businessmen and women are, have been and will always be smarter than the politicians trying to control them. Therefore, the only way to ensure fair wages is through the invisible hand of the free market system. In a free market system, wages should not determined by fiat; rather, they should be governed by the laws of supply and demand. Wages should be determined by the amount of value that an employee creates for the employer.

Let's be honest, everybody wants to make more money, but not everyone deserves to. In a world of special little snowflakes, it's not surprising that so many have an egocentric mindset that leads them to believe employers exist to cater to them. In reality, businesses hire people for the sole purpose of creating value for their company. Competition drives people to be at their best. Wages are at their highest when businesses have to compete for the best people. So the key to this puzzle is competition. 

Let's, for a moment, think of business in terms of a party, where fun is the currency. The host (employer) wants their party to generate as much fun (money) as possible. In order to maximize these profits, they need fun partygoers (productive employees). Nobody wants to throw a party with a bunch of lame-os. So, it's a symbiotic relationship: the more fun a party is, the cooler (more productive) the people are who attend, which in turn makes a party generate more fun. If the party is lame, the productive people aren't going stay, they'll leave to find a better party. If everyone leaves, then the host has wasted lots of time and money, has a damaged reputation, and is left alone to clean up the mess. The point being, there's much more risk and responsibility involved with throwing a party than there is in attending one. Higher risks deserve higher rewards.

There are several negative consequences that result from determining wage values artificially. For one, businesses have a whole slew of costs. The costs of operating determines the prices of goods and services. Payroll is a cost of operating. If payroll costs go up, the prices of goods and services goes up, which, in effect, nullifies the gains made by increasing wages. That's pretty simple economics, though apparently too complicated for progressives to understand. The same thing applies when you increase the taxes a business has to pay, but that's a topic for another discussion.

Another consequence is that, contrary to popular belief, a minimum wage can actually depress wages. It sets a low bar whereby employers can coordinate low wages rather than having to compete for workers. Moreover, by trying to protect workers, law makers have raised barriers that hinder entrepreneurship and cripple talented workers who seek better opportunities through their own self-employment.

I can sympathize with those who want to increase the minimum wage. I've worked for employers who pay the bare minimum and don't give raises no matter how much extra value their employees create. It can be demoralizing. However, it can also be the motivation one needs to seek greener pastures for themselves. Eventually, good people will find an employer that appreciates them, or they will strike out on their own. If they don't, that's on them. Work is a necessary evil of life; having a job that satisfies you is a personal responsibility. It's not up to the government to make you happy.

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Glade Sun
  • County residents urged to vote

    Cumberland County has around 39,000 registered voters, as well as a strong reputation for voter participation.  However, as of press time on Tuesday, only 4,300 residents had taken advantage of early voting for the Aug. 7 primary and general elections. Local officials are predicting less than 50 percent of registered voters will cast their vote in the 14 days of early voting, plus election day. Only 23 percent of registered county voters participated in the May elections.

    July 30, 2014

  • Board amends by-laws

    At the July meeting of the Fairfield Glade Community Club, the board of directors approved a vote to amend the club's bylaws regarding uncontested elections of board members, effectively declaring Bob Diller and Steven Smith new board members.

    July 30, 2014

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    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

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    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Read the latest edition of "The Bulletin"

    The Crossville Chronicle-Glade Sun also publishes a newsletter called "The Bulletin" in which you'll find a schedule of Glade activities and events, a restaurant and dining guide, golf information, and even tour schedules. Click here for the latest PDF edition of "The Bulletin."

    April 21, 2010 1 Link

  • Patches of Life: The replacement years

    I need a new refrigerator. There are some other things on order too as we seem to be in the replacement year of our life. Everything from the light bulbs to the computer seemed to agree that this is the year of replacement.

    July 30, 2014

  • Abacus Column: Tennessee the third most corrupt state in the U.S.?

    According to a recent article in Time magazine, Tennessee is ranked third among U.S. States in political corruption. I am not sure how they measure such crime in order to make such a charge. Does some purveyor of statistics identify the number of elected officials proved guilty in a court of law; or merely charged with corruption?

    July 30, 2014

  • A Time 4 Paws celebrates pet adoption after 3 1/2 years

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    July 30, 2014

  • A Time 4 Paws collecting shoes to help Soles4Souls in fight against global poverty

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    July 30, 2014

  • FFG Treasure Hunt set for Sept. 5

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