A touch of sanity in Santa Fe

A touch of sanity in Santa Fe  2/15/23

Last Monday, two Democrats joined four Republicans to table a bill that would have increased the minimum wage in New Mexico. The House Commerce and Economic Development Committee voted 6-4 to table House Bill 28 which would have raised the minimum wage based on the consumer price index. 

This is something I never would have predicted. Furthermore, one of the Democrats, Rep. Linda Serrato, D-Santa Fe, stated that: “Minimum wages shouldn’t be determined by a legislative body.”   

She’s a Democrat I could vote for! 

Minimum wage laws suffer from two problems: The first is that they put the economic cart before the horse. Minimum wage laws say that for every hour worked, a worker should be able to consume “X” dollars’ worth of goods and services.  For example, a $15 an hour minimum wage says that for every hour worked a worker will be able to consume $15 worth of goods and services. 

If the worker doesn’t produce $15 worth of goods and services, under most circumstances, the job can’t exist. To quote Russian dictator Leonide Brezhnev, “It is an elementary fact that a society cannot consume what isn’t first produced.”  

What this means is, if we want people to earn more, we have to increase their productivity.  The first place to start is with education. New Mexico is 50th in the nation when it comes to educational outcomes. That’s the place to start, not with the government mandating wage levels workers can’t earn.             

Which illustrates the second problem of minimum wage laws, something I call the Camelot effect, or the “Government is God” syndrome. To quote the lyrics from Camelot, paraphrased slightly: 

A law was made a distant moon ago: July and August cannot be too hot.  

And there’s a legal limit to the snow here In Camelot.  

The winter is forbidden till December And exits March the second on the dot. By order, summer lingers through September in Camelot.  

I know it gives a person pause, But in Camelot Those are the legal laws. 


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