President Reagan got it right when he said, “The most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I am from the government and I am here to help.’”
This quote seems to be even more relevant in the age of COVID-19. Government has tried over and over to “help” relieve the economic mess they created by shutting down the economy. With deceitful titles like “relief bill” and “CARES Act,” I think we can all agree that we just want the government to stop trying to help us.
This past week, the Democrats in the House introduced legislation to raise the federal minimum wage. And sadly, they are not the first to do so in recent weeks.
Recently, the Long Beach City Council passed a “Heroes Mandate” which forces businesses with more than 300 employees to pay an additional $4 dollars an hour per employee. This has been devastating for many businesses in the area, and it has forced Kroger grocery stores to shut down 25% of their stores in the area.
A company spokesperson hit the nail on the head in a statement about Kroger’s decision to shut down the stores.
“The irreparable harm that will come to employees and local citizens as a direct result of the City of Long Beach’s attempt to pick winners and losers, is deeply unfortunate,” the spokesperson said. “We are truly saddened that our associates and customers will ultimately be the real victims of the city council’s actions.”
The “Heroes Mandate” hurts medium to large businesses, the people employed by them, and the consumers who buy from them. And it does not allow any of the people that benefit from the businesses to have a say. Neither the employee who agrees to work for the wage nor the employer who agrees to pay the wage are given an option about this pay raise. If the employer cannot afford the pay raise, they must fire the employee or shut down their business.
And that is exactly what advocates of a higher minimum wage do not understand. Raising the minimum wage will not increase the pay for most workers, but it will cause at least some of them to lose their jobs. In fact, the same can be said for nearly every time the government tries to manipulate the free market.
As bad as the Heroes Mandate is, a federal minimum wage would be much worse. The country has recently seen an alarmingly high unemployment rate that a higher minimum wage will only exacerbate — it will raise the cost of living, and it will hurt small businesses that cannot afford to pay their employees $15 an hour.
In The Tuttle Twins and the Food Truck Fiasco, Ethan and Emily learn basic economic principles and how government interference — no matter what the intention — negatively affects markets.
I hope the people in government will eventually realize that every time they try to help, they cause more damage and that the best thing they could do is step out of the private and consensual actions of their citizens. However, I would rather spend my time educating the next generation to hold politicians accountable for this kind of “help,” and I think one great way to do that is through Tuttle Twins books and curriculum.