Friday, July 21, 2006

The Blogging Curmudgette on the Mininum Wage vs. the Earned Income Tax Credit

The Blogging Curmudgette wrote:
"The link you provided does not provide any statistics or projections about how much money an EITC would actually put into the pockets of minimum wage employees. Granted I did not click through all your links to see if you address that elsewhere and you are welcome to post that data here, if you have it, in another comment. But its hard to "respond" to a proposition that does not provide that basic information."
I can see where the Curmudgette might take issue with presenting my position in the form of a teaser that requires someone to do independent research, but I've found that form of advocacy to be quite effective on the blogosphere, as it helps me determine the bias of the individuals I am engaging.
"I will respond, however to what I read on the blog entry you linked to. For starters, a grammar lesson. . . . ¶ . . . ¶ To beg the question is to employ a logical fallacy known as petitio principii or 'circular logic.'"
As far as question begging goes, it's not a grammatical flaw to use "begging the question" in lieu of "raising the question," although it does invite ambiquity among those who are familiar with logical fallacies, something of which I was well aware when I used that expression. Even the Wikipedia article to which the Curmudgette directed me did not identify my usage of "begging the question" as a grammatical error. Rather, it noted that my usage of "begging the question" had become common usage and was criticized by proponents of limiting the usage of this expression to contexts where it took its traditional meaning.
"But as to the substance of the argument presented in that blog entry; that an employees wealth should not come from employers. I find this premise preposterous on its face. What exactly is an employer's responsibility to his employees if not to pay them for their labors?"
Speaking of logical fallacies, this one's a doozy of a straw man. Minimum wage laws have nothing to do with the obligation of an employer to pay his or her employees for their labors, neither does the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). What minimum wage laws do is intrude upon the contract between an employer and employee. Some would say that the end justifies the means. Assuming, arguendo, that the end does justify the means, the issue then becomes one of whether minimum wage laws accomplish their purported objective of helping the working poor -- which they do not -- or whether the EITC would be a much more effective way of helping the working poor.
"As I said in my article, CEOs now make 262 times what their lowest paid employees make. At it highest measure, before the collapse of the internet bubble, it was over 300 times. When did employers stop thinking it was their job to pay the people who work for them?"
Grasping at straw men, once again. (Please pardon the mixed metaphor pun.) And then changing the subject. I was not talking about pay disparity, nor was I suggesting that employers should not pay their employees; I did allude to the issue of whether it makes sense to let the government decide what an employee's minimum compensation should be. And, as I stated above: Assuming, arguendo, that the end does justify the means in this particular situation, the issue then becomes one of whether minimum wage laws accomplish their purported objective of helping the working poor or whether the EITC is a more effective way of accomplishing that objective.
"We are reverting to a feudal system, in which employers feel entitled to accumulate wealth, but feel no obligation to those who do the hard work that makes their wealth possible. Transferring that obligation to the government (taxpayer) is not an answer."
Oddly enough, the vast majority of libertarians would agree with you that the government has no business being involved in the redistribution of income and wealth. However, once again: Assuming, arguendo, that the end does justify the means, the issue then becomes one of whether minimum wage laws accomplish their purported objective of helping the working poor or whether the EITC is a more effective way of accomplishing this objective -- which it is.

I'm having this strang feeling of deja vu.

1 Comments:

Blogger Curmudgette said...

Speaking of logical fallacies, this one's a doozy of a straw man. Minimum wage laws have nothing to do with the obligation of an employer to pay his or her employees for their labors, neither does the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). What minimum wage laws do is intrude upon the contract between an employer and employee.

This is disingenuous of you. You know full well that I was responding to your proposition that it was an unfair burden on employers to pay an increased minimum -- otherwise known as a barely livable wage -- not the income tax credit, per se.

I did allude to the issue of whether it makes sense to let the government decide what an employee's minimum compensation should be. And, as I stated above: Assuming, arguendo, that the end does justify the means in this particular situation, the issue then becomes one of whether minimum wage laws accomplish their purported objective of helping the working poor or whether the EITC is a more effective way of accomplishing that objective.

Minimum wage laws are not simply a way to assist the working poor. They are about valuing work and insuring that people are paid a fair rate for the work they do. It's not charity. It's payment for work. And of course the government should regulate it, for the same reason the government establishes any law to protect the populace; in this case to protect employees from exploitation. Do you think we should suspend child labor laws, too? For that matter, why not get rid of speed limits. I'm sure drivers can regulate themselves just like the free market does.

Sorry. I just don't trust that all employers will jump at the chance to pay people what they deserve, and the evidence of current wealth distribution trends bears out that supposition.

6:13 PM, July 22, 2006  

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