As the local campaign for a living wage heats up, I thought I would share some of the perspectives of the opposition. Below is a missive from the President of the Santa Barbara Tax Payer’s Association, Joe Amendariz. Joe is also a member of the city council in nearby Carpinteria, California. He sent this out as part of his “taxpayer’s bulletin”. Some colleagues forwarded it to me. It’s quite a read.
Sun Tzu, the Chinese General who wrote a collection of essays known as: "The Art of War", said every battle is won before it is ever fought. Sun Tzu must have also been a prophet, because no better example of his thesis exists than with the upcoming "battle" over a co-called "living wage" in Santa Barbara.
The Santa Barbara City Council, which recently engineered a huge raise for themselves, with the help of the very same people/groups urging them to impose a living wage on local companies doing business with the City, have been check-mated by these clever and politically agile social/economic "activists", and they either already know it, or they are all walking around blind without a cane. I suspect it's the former.
Now, I seriously doubt the local proponents of a "living wage" have Read "The Art of War". Indeed, from some of their comments in the following NP story, it would seem the only book they have ever been exposed to is the "Communist Manifesto". Consider the following epiphany by one of the "living-wage" proponents: "Poverty wages hurt people," said Mr. Larimore-Hall, also a member of the Democratic Central Committee and PUEBLO. "If market forces dictate poverty wages then something needs to be done to intervene in the market. Market forces can do a lot of good things in a society but market forces don't care about the environment, people (sic) rights or a sustainable community."
Memo to: Mr. Larimore-Hall: Nobody, at least not anyone who is in the United States legally, is forced against their will to earn so-called "poverty wages".
Nah, Mr. Larimore-Hall just doesn't get it. Wages, whether they be "high", "low", "good" or "bad", aren't an amorphous phenomenon created by a cadre of greedy businessmen, sitting around a shiny black table, in a smoke filled room in Crawford Texas. Wages, like other "prices", are units of information. They [wages] allow Mr. Larimore's fickle market forces to accurately communicate to consumer(s) of labor, as well as to provider(s) of labor, what the real value of that labor currently is to the rational forces that comprise the market.
What determines the value of that labor? It's decided secretly by Richard Pearle, Dick Cheney and Halliburton; everybody knows that! Actually, its determined by a variety of things, such as: skills; education; experience; the demand for the product/service the labor helps bring to the market; the supply of labor needed to bring a product/service to the market; the demand for the product/service; the supply of the product/service; etc. Oh, I almost forgot; and the government regulations imposed by benevolent politicians who can't seem to grasp any of the above.
And this is where the Mr. Larimore-Hall's of the world come in. People like him are instrumental in helping shape political market forces. They do this by...how should I put it; by intervening in political campaigns that back the local politicians who understand none of what I have just explained here. And yet, it's also the case that these politicians are liberated from that truth because they simply couldn't care less. All they want is help getting elected. Once elected, they need intervention in the market forces that have, for some strange reason, determined that they are woefully underpaid for all that they do for the rest of us.
The even bigger tragedy, however, is when a few unwitting "Capitalists" ignore the warnings of those who seem to be able to predict these unfortunate outcomes in the first place.
(Memo to Mr. Amendariz: In fact, many, many people are forced against their will, by “market forces”, to earn objectively-defined “poverty wages”.)