It’s excellent that the Wall Street Journal has broken the public silence on a critical issue of our time: young people are being all-but completely shut out of the workforce and thereby being denied crucially important life skills at a time when their job prospects after college are also being seriously diminished. The work ethic and work competence of a generation is being demolished. This is truly tragic and evil, and it’s good that the WJS has spoken to the issue.
The Journal places the blame on the high increases in the minimum wage that have been passed by Congress, and surely this is one major reason for the shutout. There are other reasons too: the higher costs of hiring due to taxes and liability, the recession, the near absence of new small businesses that can hire anyone, the difficulty of firing, and the risky business environment generally due to regime uncertainty.
Nonetheless, the WSJ is under assault for merely having mentioned the minimum wage as a source of the problem. This site wags the finger at the paper for daring to suggest such a thing, pointing out, for example, that businesses, under federal law, do not have to pay the minimum wage for the first 90 days provided “their work does not displace other workers.” In other words, if the employee is essentially useless, you can pay only $4.25 and only after 90 days, at which point they become useful and thereby displace some other hire (?), they must be paid $7.25. Brilliant! What liberality our federal masters have afforded American business! You would have to be a blogger who knows nothing about real business life to think that such an exception can really mean anything in the real world.
What could possibly be the point of a wage floor except to exclude those workers who fall beneath it? I mean, it is not rocket science here. Clearly there is a point to this legislation and it is precisely to exclude young workers who would likely compete with existing workers. This is why labor unions have always pushed for minimum wages; they want to firm up the cartel. We are naive if we think that the effects of a wage floor are not understood by everyone who pushes for them. In other words, these laws are working precisely as they were intended to work.