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Vote No On The Referendum!

No, not that referendum.  This one.

Among the (hopefully) multiple ballot questions Belmar’s voters will face in November is perhaps one of the stupidest economic policy proposals ever put forward in this state.  And that’s saying a lot.  The public will decide whether to enshrine in the state constitution a minimum wage with cost of living increases.

I was glad in January when Christie vetoed a minimum wage passed by the legislature.  Now I wish he had signed it.  Laws can be repealed.  Repealing a constitutional amendment is much more difficult.

I’ve written a few times about the folly of minimum wage laws, most recently here.

But one important point I missed in that post is that the reason countries around the world are inflating their currencies is that they want to force a pay cut on their workers.  Inflation is a pay cut.  This is how they hope to make their home industries “competitive”.  But how can we have government inflating and at the same time mandating pay raises tied to inflation?

The United States will be entering a period of price inflation.  All the newly-created dollars that are sitting in the banks or are tied up in treasuries will be spent eventually.  People don’t save for the hell of it.  People postpone consumption so later they can consume even more.  But all money is eventual spent.  Actually even now inflation is quite a lot worse than the government’s bogus CPI numbers indicate.

When real inflation hits, the minimum wage could surpass what many of us make now.  Maybe we’ll all be working for minimum wage.  Maybe CEOs and sports stars will be too.

Or maybe the government will just continue to pretend that there is no inflation.  Who knows?  Basically the whole economy will eventually be based on, and all our livelihoods will depend on, the whims of a bunch of politicians and bureaucrats.  The passage of this referendum would certainly be a giant step in that direction.   It shouldn’t even be on the ballot.

But, you say, you’re all for letting the people decide on building a two-story Taylor, or on the $7 million bond to pay for it.  Let the voters decide the minimum wage too!

There’s a fundamental difference between these initiatives.  The Belmar referenda are the people protecting themselves from the use of force.  The government wants to force us to build a banquet hall, to live with it, and to co-sign the loan needed to build it.  Through the referenda, we are trying to prevent that use of force.

The minimum wage referendum is the exact opposite.  It’s proponents want to use government force to take money from some people (employers) and give it to other people (their workers.)  In a free republic, the majority can not vote to strip rights away from the minority.

Good referenda, like the ones proposed regarding the Taylor Pavilion, or the one I threatened a few years ago to stop the red light cameras from coming to Belmar, protect us from force.  Bad referenda, like the one on the minimum wage, or on various open-space initiatives, authorize the use of force against against peaceful citizens who have harmed no one and just want to be left alone.

It’s important to recognize the distinction.


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