ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Saturday, March 09, 2013

The unintended consequences of raising the minimum wage - again.

I love Peggy Noonan's columns, and in the Wall St. Journal today she wrote a column she calls:" The Anti-Confidence Man". 

This recession we are in - and the gloom and doom pronouncements from the White House that sequestering is going to have us fall down a deep cliff - is "a drag on everything, a killer of the spirit of guts and endeavor."

She says:

I'm in Pittsburgh, making my way to the airport hotel.  The people movers are broken and we pull our bags along the dingy carpet.  There's an increasing sense in America now that the facades are intact, but the machinery inside is broken. 
The hotel has entrances on two floors.  I search for the lobby, find it.  travelers are milling about, but there's no information desk, no doorman, no bellman or concierge, just two harried looking workers at the front desk on the second level.  The man who checked me in put his phones on hold when I asked for someone to accompany me upstairs.
As we walked to the room I felt I should explain.  I hold him a trial attorney had told me a while back that there are more lawsuits involving hotels than is generally known, and more crime, so always try to have someone with you when you first go to your room.  I thought the hotel clerk would poo-poo this,.  Instead he said, "that's why we put up mirrors at the end of the hall, so you can see if some one's coming."  He made it sound like an amenity....
Things are getting bare-bones in America.  Doormen, security, bellmen, people working the floor - that's maybe a dozen jobs that should have been filled, at one little hotel on on day in own town.  Everyone's keeping costs down, not hiring.
What that hotel looked like is America without is muscle, its efficiency, its old confidence.
What she doesn't say - and what I fervently believe - is that each time we raise the minimum wage, we are eliminating low-paying service jobs.   No longer do we have janitors in buildings, doormen at apartment buildings, (except the very wealthy) gas station attendants (my personal pet peeve) and bellman to handle your luggage for you at the airport, train station, or elsewhere.\

Riding Caltrain - no station master - coming back at night, it's spooky because there is no one to protect you if you need protection.  No one to ask a question of if you aren't sure of what you are doing.

We raise the minimum wage we throw jobs away and make our personal lives so much more inconvenient.  It's backwards!


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