Monday, November 9, 2020

MADNESS: Portland, Maine Voters Approved an $18.00 Minimum Wage

Despite opposition from Portland’s mayor, seven members of the Portland city council, and dozens of Portland businesses, voters there passed, with 60 percent of the vote, a measure that will raise the minimum wage in the city to $18.00 per month under current circumstances.

The minimum wage referendum that passed the city raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024, and it also increases pay for those workers during any declared emergency, like what we're in right now, reports WGME Channel 13.

 Right now, the minimum wage is $12 an hour, which means pay would jump to $18.

How economically illiterate can the Maine masses get?

Raising the minimum wage increases unemployment. To increase the minimum wage when so many businesses are fighting for survival at this time of lockdowns is particularly bizarre.

"In the last 7 months business has dropped from 30 to 50 percent and food costs have skyrocketed. This added increase on a business already depressed due to the pandemic is tough,” one Portland business owner who declined to speak on camera told WCSH, an NBC-affiliate. “We may have to either cut employee hours or cut back on business hours."

I discussed the more complex problems with minimum wage laws in this 2017 video  (11 minutes and 56 seconds):


 -RW -


  1. Well it's obvious they've been reading their Rothbard. The only trouble is, they didn't take Latin in school and don't know what the heck "ad absurdum" means.

  2. I'm for abolishing minimum wage laws, but maybe RW can do a video where he tells us that mass immigration is great and how 'muh cheap labor' mentality raises everyone's standard of living.

  3. If the minimum wage were framed properly by those protesting it, it wouldn't pass. Instead of telling voters that their costs will rise or that businesses will fail, which most will discount as alarmist, just frame it properly for what it really is, which is a floor on who can have a job. An $18/hr minimum wage simply says those people whose labor value is not worth at least $18/hr to a prospective employer, should not be allowed to be employed.

    1. Economists have been "framing" this issue correctly for years, even decades. Dozens of studies; hundreds upon hundreds of op/ed articles; clearly written books and eloquent videos (Sowell, Friedman, etc.) it has made little to no difference. Every ballot test or referendum on raising the min. wage (even here in Florida) passes. The general public simply cannot be educated on this issue. Let me go further and argue that the general public has not really been educated on ANY public policy issue of any importance. Do they understand that the Fed monetizes government debt and that keeping interest rates depressed misallocates resources? Not a chance. Do they understand that the antitrust laws are based on incorrect theories of competition and monopoly and that the case evidence in the classic cases cannot rationalize "vigorous" enforcement of the the laws? Never. Do they understand the the case for free trade and do they support politicians who advocate such policies? Are they against zoning laws? Do they want a free and competitive health care market? Do they favor closing down the public school system and returning taxpayer monies? Never, never, never. Let's face facts. Either we have not made the arguments for liberty persuasive enough (I don't believe that for a minute) OR the political system, with rationally ignorant voters, is incapable of turning out a liberty outcome (except, perhaps, on pot reform).

    2. You're right, of course. I'll add this:
      People will always vote in their self-interest (at least as they perceive it).
      If they have no skin in the game, they'll vote for whatever makes them feel good.
      You can bet that small business owners voted against the minimum wage hike, but other voters pulled the lever for "the little people"

    3. What the rationally ignorant voters don’t understand is everyone has skin in the minimum wage game. You are either one of the lucky few that are employed at inflated wages or you are not able to be employed at the inflated wages. But everyone will pay more for the goods and services. Some businesses will closes so we all have less choices.

  4. I assume that the legal issues regarding government wage control of the private sector has been decided by lawyers in robes but, I can’t see how it is legal based on the US and probably all states constitutions. Of course the same could be said about most “laws.”