Government rights-violating policies take on many forms these days. Below are a few issues circulating throughout Washington, the press, and the blogosphere.
The first piece is a wonderfully impassioned lashing against the Left and their refusal to acknowledge the economic reality that a minimum wage imposes on unskilled workers. Yaron Brook, Director of the Ayn Rand Institute attacks the false logic behind a minimum wage raise, and it has nothing to do with economics. Rather, it is coated with a thick malaise of altruistic do-goodedness. He hits the nail on the head:
“The economic case against the minimum wage is easy to grasp. When the government artificially raises the price of something, the demand for it goes down. Raising the minimum wage decreases the demand for unskilled labor (usually the young).
Raising the minimum wage feels good because it appeals to the prevailing altruism in the culture.
Many people understand that the minimum wage defies economic reality. What we need are more people to understand that the morality of altruism defies reality. Human life and happiness require freedom, including the freedom to compete on the labor market with lower wages — yet this is the very reality the altruists want us to ignore in the name of the “poor.” That’s why it’s impractical — and any policy based on it will be destructive.
To move toward freedom — to defeat the senseless and immoral absurdity that the minimum wage represents — it is altruism that must be defeated.”
Full Article here: The Minimum Wage vs. Reality
Michael A. Laferrara, writing for The Objective Standard Blog uses government taxation of American corporations overseas to define patriotism in terms of what is rational for a better America, not a more intrusive American government. “Rational patriotism does not mean throttling productive citizens for the sake of politicians and bureaucrats. Rational patriotism in America means loyalty to what America stands for: the inalienable rights of individuals to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Next is a rebuttal of Thomas Picketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Picketty argues that income inequality has increased because investments grow faster than wages. His solution? Legislate an 80 percent wealth tax on the rich. John Stossel at Reason counters that despite the Left’s concern over income inequality, income mobility in America is still very much alive. More importantly, economic mobility is a result of the free market, and thus, logically, cannot be legislated. It continues in spite of a natural inequality in living standards. The issue is then one of liberty rather than equality.
For a strictly Objectivist take on Picketty’s argument in Capital, see Yaron Brook’s response here.
Just as the government would like to legislate economic equality, the urge to legislate a nation’s collective living standard is akin to Obama legislating better healthcare. Don Boudreaux, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, brings this flaw of logic to light. Legislating universal access to a scarce item certainly does not guarantee any degree of quality. In fact, basic economics tells you that mandating a minimal quantity of any commodity will lower the quality of that item due to the basic law of scarcity.
Let us summarize these four issues and the government’s position on them. Let us mandate that employers pay wages higher than they would normally pay for a given skill set, forcefully redistributing wealth to less productive avenues. Let us tax successful corporations for being successful, forcefully taking and redistributing capital to less productive avenues such as the welfare state. Let us ignore income mobility, the manifestation of which is hope, focussing only on income inequality and turning what is a natural occurrence of diversity and freedom into a scapegoat for more taxation, spending programs, and laws. So we have forced redistribution of wealth, forced redistribution of capital, and a blatant denial of natural facts for smoke-and-mirror rationalization. Oh and let us not forget the Obama administration’s false equation of quantity of healthcare received to quality of healthcare produced.
Does this sound like a rights-respecting or rights-violating government?