Diary

Are we starting to look like the UK?

Mises.org celebrated Labor Day by pointing out

On July 24 this year, the government raised the minimum wage to $7.25, which is another way of saying that unemployment is mandatory for anyone who is otherwise willing to work for less. You have no freedom to negotiate or lower the price for your service. You are either already valuable at this rate or you are out of the game.

As many of you know, this has had a devastating effect on “youth unemployment” such that

August data show that more than a quarter of teenagers looking for work cannot find employment at the existing wage floor. Many have just stopped trying. The teen unemployment rate is nearly three times the national rate and it is four times the rate of skilled and experienced workers over the age of 55.

This is the highest rate ever recorded in the United States. The data have only been kept since 1948, but we can be quite sure that never in US history have so many teens been so alienated from gainful employment and work experience.

Hewing to the law of unintended consequences the author points out that these are the prime years that kids, as my Dad used to put it, “learned the value of a dollar” as well as successful work habits they need to carry through a lifetime.

But reading this what really struck me is what I believe I heard Mark Steyn say on the radio the other day, that fully 30% of the under 25 population of the UK had never had a job. It also reminded me of this piece which explains how going on disability had become such a career move that 2,600,000 Britons were now–theoretically– disabled. That’s a full five percent of their population. In the US that would be the equivalent of the population of NY and LA “disabled.”

Our model, their model, doesn’t matter — it’s a one way trip to a long-term disaster.