Maybe it’s an act, but sometimes it’s almost comical how little progressives understand economics and how unable they are to think of other people as, well, people trying to make the best decisions they can under the circumstances. Oh, they say they have empathy for this group or that, but anybody who responds to actual incentives in the real world slips immediately into the bad-guy-who-gets-no-empathy column if they conflict with progressive fantasy. Consider:
States and cities whose lawmakers proudly passed “living wage” laws are finding it difficult to make sure employers actually pay their workers accordingly.
Here’s a thought: Maybe the employers are finding it difficult to pay their employees at the level “lawmakers” decide suits their own ignorant vanity.
And many workers — especially those in precarious situations — fear they’ll be fired if they speak up.
And maybe those “firings” wouldn’t be retaliation so much as the simple calculation that government has forced on the employers. See, wages before the increase were the rate that employers’ ability to pay matched employees willingness to work. Progressives dehumanize workers by insisting that they can’t actually be making rational decisions to work for what they accept, and they devalue work by assuming it gives those who do it well no leverage — that they’re at the mercy of their employers.
If one imagines these interactions from a more empathetic point of view, the scenario can be one in which employers tell their employees the honest truth that meeting the arbitrary demands of government officials will put them out of business or at least force them to lay off employees’ coworkers and insist on more work from those who remain, leading the workers to voluntarily stick to the pay that they were already willing to accept.
How instances of that positive scenario balance out against instances of the evil-people scenario that progressives prefer is almost immaterial. Politicians who pass these dumb laws are forbidding adults from making such decisions.
So, progressives double down on stupid:
“It’s pretty shocking how common the violations are,” said Donna Levitt, director of the labor enforcement office in San Francisco, which began ramping up to $15 an hour last year. …
The new laws are meaningless without proactive enforcement, labor advocates say, citing research that shows roughly one in four businesses nationwide already cheat their workers out of minimum wages.
What comes to mind is the IRS practice of aiding and abetting illegal immigrants who are committing fraud with Social Security numbers because, “It’s in everybody’s interest to have them pay the taxes they owe.” So, why isn’t it in everybody’s interest to let people work for what they’re willing to work for?
The government would rather make it more difficult for people to come to voluntary agreements that ensure that they have some income. That way, the taxes of those who actually keep their jobs can be used to make politicians and bureaucrats feel good about themselves, again, when they hand out welfare benefits.