Talking about wage restrictions

In a recent email I noted that it's easier to support "public" schools which aren't run by the government (i.e., schools that are open to the public, just as any restaurant open to the public is a "public restaurant") than it is to advocate for "private" schools.

  Here's another idea for using language more accurately and effectively. Criticizing laws requiring a "minimum wage" is going to sound to some people like criticizing motherhood or apple pie. Instead of talking about "the minimum wage," better to talk about "wage restrictions." Here's an example of how one might approach it.

  Say you're talking with a leftist friend. Ask her, "If they wanted to pass a law tightening the restrictions on what types of wage you're allowed to earn, would you support that?" If she asks for further clarification, you might explain " Well, for example, last month San Francisco passed Proposition L. It cost a lot of poor people their jobs and added new restrictions on people looking for entry level work by making jobs paying less than $8.50 an hour illegal." ("Restrictions" is plural because each job an employer cuts or chooses not to add because of the increased cost of having an employee is an additional restriction on someone seeking to enter the workforce, i.e. "Because of this government law, you no longer have the choice of working there, there, there, or there.")

  If she says, "Do you mean raising the minimum wage?" reply, "Some people use that term, but it's more accurate to say 'wage restrictions,' because the only people whose wages get raised are people who already have work and don't lose their jobs when the wage restrictions get tightened. What this kind of law really does is restrict jobs paying less than a certain wage. That means people on the bottom of the economic ladder lose their jobs unless their employers are willing and able to pay them more, and many people who are already unemployed have a harder time finding work because some job positions are no longer available."

  Let her respond. Then, take a moment to get in touch with whatever strong emotions you feel when you see government programs hurting the same people that politicians like to say they're helping, and other people *just not getting it.* When you're feeling that emotion, ask your friend (either in a tone of solidarity if she agreed with you or an incredulous tone if she didn't), "Doesn't it make you *[name your emotion here -- sad/angry/amazed/etc.]* that they would pass a law cutting jobs for the poor and increasing unemployment just so other people can earn more money?"

Yours in liberty,
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