Democratic Florida Senator Dwight Bullard has put forth SB 114 which, if passed, would raise the Florida minimum wage from $6.15 per hour to $10.10 per hour. Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has been $7.25 and Florida’s minimum wage is scheduled to rise to $8.05 on January 1, 2015 without Bullard’s bill.
We do not know if Senator Bullard owns stock in a robotics company or just wants to see unemployment rates in Florida soar, but many find his proposal misplaced. It has been proven in the real world that unemployment rates are higher where minimum wage laws exist and the higher the minimum wage is forced upon business, the higher the unemployment rate. Once a certain level is reached in the minimum wage, businesses find better, more efficient ways to get those jobs done with fewer employees. Robots and self-serve computerization become the norm when a certain nexus is reached between efficiency and cost of employees. There is evidence Bullard’s bill will have unintended consequences for Florida’s most economically vulnerable by taking them from gainful employment to becoming an expense on the government dole. So, while Bullard’s intentions are admirable, they are not rooted in reasonable, critical analysis, instead he is acting on emotion.
Wes Benedict of the Libertarian Party had this to say about minimum wage laws:
Government intervention in the free market is what causes unemployment. There are many examples of this, well known to many economists. Minimum wage laws cause unemployment. Government-mandated unemployment insurance causes unemployment. Welfare and food stamps cause unemployment. Occupational licensing laws cause unemployment.
“One especially destructive factor is government prohibition of at-will employment. Because the government won’t let employers hire, maintain, and fire employees on a truly at-will basis, it makes employment much riskier. Employers are scared to hire people because it can be so difficult to fire them if they don’t work out, and employers are sometimes even scared to interview people because they might be forced to hire them. The result? More unemployment.
“What about all the ‘stimulus spending’ we’ve seen during the last two administrations?
“Stimulus spending doesn’t create jobs, it destroys them. The government spends money by extracting it out of the productive private sector, which causes a net loss of jobs.
“Stimulus spending makes our future less secure, without doing any good in the present. It destroys jobs today, as well as down the road.
“Back in 2009, the Obama administration was worried that unemployment might reach 8 percent. So they pushed through a massive stimulus program, and unemployment went up even higher, to 10 percent. The stimulus program made our problems worse.
“And in 2008, George W. Bush championed a counterproductive plan to send $300-$600 stimulus checks to millions of people.
“Republicans and Democrats in the federal and state governments need to stop trying to help, because they’re only making things worse. Instead, they need to get out of the way and let us free Americans solve the problem ourselves.”