The real minimum wage is $0 (zero, nothing, nada) per hour

High minimum wages just help force a West Coast restaurant chain into bankruptcy, and it has already closed multiple locations.  This means that a growing number of the chain's workers will not be earning the legally mandated minimum wage of $15 an hour — and many earned more — but the economically realistic $0 per hour.  In other words, nothing.  Or for the multicultural and diverse politically correct crowd...nada.  That's Spanish for...nothing.  And many only Spanish immigrant (both legal and illegal) speakers work in the food service and restaurant industries.

And that's only a small example of the real-life effects of increasing the minimum wage: those most financially vulnerable, such as the unskilled, the least experienced, Afro-Americans and other "people of color" (sic), the young, the minimally educated will suffer the most.  Now, thanks to the do-gooders — i.e., lefty legislators, highly paid union officials, and other self-anointed moral regressives (often erroneously called progressive, but there is nothing progressive about them), who will not suffer from their public virtue-signaling, thousands of people will be unemployed.

Apparently, the highly paid legislators and union hacks have not read the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report, "The Effects on Employment and Family Income of Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage," which would have predicted this outcome.  Or maybe they did, did not like the facts that opposed their utopian — and vote getting — narrative, and so ignored it.  Or maybe they thought they could legislate economic law just as they have successfully legislated on, oh, say, climate.  And weather.  Or something.

Anyway, the CBO report states that with a mandated minimum wage increase, there is good news for many, but for those financially insecure, the low wage-earners that this law was supposed to help, there is very bad news. 

Increasing the federal minimum wage would have two principal effects on low-wage workers. For most low-wage workers, earnings and family income would increase, which would lift some families out of poverty. But other low-wage workers would become jobless, and their family income would fall—in some cases, below the poverty threshold. ...

Effects of the $15 Option on Employment and Income. According to CBO’s median estimate, under the $15 option, 1.3 million workers who would otherwise be employed would be jobless in an average week in 2025. (That would equal a 0.8 percent reduction in the number of employed workers.) CBO estimates that there is about a two-thirds chance that the change in employment would lie between about zero and a reduction of 3.7 million workers (see Table 1).

Oh, well — 1.3 million workers earning $0 per hour aren't really that many, are they?  And neither are 3.7 million workers who would suddenly be thrown back into the nether world of labor non-participation.  Or something.  And it is certainly easier to deal with the sure to increase automation as in, say, self-checkout lanes and other self-service options than cashiers, further reducing opportunities, isn't it? 

Welcome to McDonald's...without an employee.
Photo credit: Tdorante 10.

Well, isn't it?  And, as the saying has it, you have to break eggs to make an omelet.

But wait...there is more good news, bad news from the CBO about increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

• Boost workers' earnings through higher wages, though some of those higher earnings would be offset by higher rates of joblessness;

 • Reduce business income and raise prices as higher labor costs were absorbed by business owners and then passed on to consumers; and 

• Reduce the nation's output slightly through the reduction in employment and a corresponding decline in the nation's stock of capital (such as buildings, machines, and technologies).

On the basis of those effects and CBO's estimate of the median effect on employment, the $15 option would reduce total real (inflation-adjusted) family income in 2025 by $9 billion, or 0.1 percent.

Huh?  What did that last sentence say — increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would eventually reduce real income?  Oh.  But...but...but...isn't that, um, against the law?  Apparently not against the laws of economics and reality — the law of unintended consequences. 

And the more legislators interfere with these latter laws, the worse off we all are.  Zero dollars per hour in any language is still nothing.  So why don't legislators do what they do best: kiss babies to win elections and just stop legislating?  President Donald J. Trump (R) did something similar — eliminate burdensome laws once he was elected — and boom! according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' most recent report:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 224,000 in June, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 3.7 percent. Notable job gains occurred in professional and business services, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing.

 And all those workers are making much more than $nothing per hour.