Millionaire Actor Unhappy With Minimum Wage

Chicago- Actor Martin Sheen joined forces with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to lobby for a higher minimum wage. In his speech to a packed room at a South Side Church, Sheen cited Pope Francis and his Catholic faith as a reason for raising the minimum wage.

Sheen argues that the minimum wage is, “far less a political issue than a moral one.” Currently, Illinois mandates that employers pay at least $8.25 an hour to workers. Despite the fact that at $8.25 an hour, Illinois has the four highest-minimum wage in the country, Martin Sheen thinks it should be higher.

Governor Quinn has bee working for months to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour, and brought in Sheen to use his star power to push this economically disastrous agenda. Sheen asks the crowd, “who could argue with $10 an hour?”

Well Mr. Sheen, to start, how’s about a Nobel Prize winning economist? While the peddlers of a higher minimum wage argue that they are trying to help the poor, legendary economist and humanitarian Milton Friedman argued that a higher minimum wage in fact hurts the poor. The high rate of unemployment among teenagers, and especially black teenagers, is both a scandal and a serious source of social unrest. Yet it is largely a result of minimum wage laws.

The high rate of unemployment among teenagers, and especially black teenagers, is both a scandal and a serious source of social unrest. Yet it is largely a result of minimum wage laws.

The minimum wage law requires employers to discriminate against persons with low skills. No one describes it that way, but that is in fact what it is. Take a poorly educated teenager with little skill whose services are worth, say, only $2.00 an hour. He or she might be eager to work for that wage in order to acquire greater skills that would permit a better job. The law says that such a person may be hired only if the employer is willing to pay him or her (in 1979) $2.90 an hour. Unless an employer is willing to add 90 cents in charity to the $2.00 that the person’s services are worth, the teenager will not be employed. It has always been a mystery to us why a young person is better off unemployed from a job that would pay $2.90 an hour than employed at a job that does pay $2.00 an hour.

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What people like Martin Sheen don’t understand is that by forcing employers to needlessly pay their workers more, they are inadvertently cutting the amount of people the employer can afford to hire. A $10 minimum wage means that an employer can afford to hire half as many people as they could on a $5 minimum wage. A $20 dollar minimum wage means that an employer can only afford to hire half as many employees as they could on a $10 minimum wage, and a quarter as many people as they could on a $5 minimum wage.

Martin Sheen asks, “who could argue with $10 an hour?” The answer is that every employee and employer who have already agreed on less. If someone offers you a job for $7.00 an hour, it is up to you whether you take it or not. You can either decide that the amount offered is worth your time, or it is not. If you take the job, you have made the decision to exchange your time for that amount of money. You may want a higher pay, but you’ve agreed to do the work for that pay. For some a higher minimum wage means more pay, but for countless others, it means no pay at all.

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