Jim Demint famously said a couple of years ago about the difficulty of presenting conservative arguments against the Left’s promise of government swag, “We’re selling vegetables and they’re giving away candy.” And he’s right in that respect – the Left’s arguments are stupid and emotionalist, but it’s easy to like stupid, emotionalist arguments.
Take the minimum wage, for example. The majority of the country wants to see the minimum wage increased, according to polls, though SEIU and the rest of the truly aggressive purveyors of stupid political arguments have overplayed their hand by trying to unionize fast-food workers around a $15 minimum wage.
The problem is, when you have an incredibly low labor participation rate to go with an ugly hidden inflation rate that has made the cost of things like food skyrocket, raising the minimum wage is the fastest way possible to worsen the employment picture, poison the job market, drive consumer costs up and probably cause a recession.
But those aren’t stupid and emotionalist candy arguments. They’re cold, reality-based vegetables. So it takes some effort at presentation to make people understand an issue like the minimum wage.
That’s why we really liked this piece put out by fee.org, the website of the Foundation for Economic Education. They’ve made the somewhat gassy intellectual argument about why the minimum wage is a bad idea a lot more concrete and understandable even by people who don’t use their brains all that much.
It probably doesn’t convince the people who really only care about what free stuff they can get from the government, but if it reaches folks in the middle then at least that will move the needle.