Sunday, May 13, 2012

Paying a Living Wage

In this WP article, Alabama farmers are complaining that they can't find Americans to do low-wage agricultural work now that illegal immigrants have been scared off, and their fields are rotting. In the comments section, readers are exhorting the anti-American farmers to pay a living wage so as to attract Americans to do the work.

The problem with the living wage hue and cry is that, if wages go up, most likely prices do to. And in a open borders environment this means that tomatoes, etc. will be grown in Mexico or elsewhere where costs are cheaper.

When the U.S. largely gave up on the idea of tariffs (except for movies, drugs, and software) it also gave up a way manage its economy in a way it had done for well over a hundred years. Just yelling at employers to pay higher wages kind of ignores the reality of what much of the American economy now is. Low productivity, low-wage, and weak competitiveness globally.

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