We are presently in a crisis of our own making. Many of our young people are rejecting the Free Enterprise System for Socialism. Why? “Because the Free Market isn’t fair. . .”, or “I am entitled to my Free Stuff. . .” and so on. In other words, many of our young people have fallen for the Great Promise of Socialism to get something for nothing. Healthcare, higher education, reparations due to slavery more than 150 years ago, dental, reduced rent, minimum or “living” wages, the list can be endless. But, as a Libertarian, I say that “just because I am alive does not mean that you owe me anything,” and it’s true. To that end, I present two timeless realities for your consideration. The first is that none of these things are free, which means that someone must pay for them. And the second is that every time the government inserts itself into the marketplace, the cost of the goods and services goes up and the quality goes down because the ability of the pricing system to distribute goods and services competitively is seriously weakened.

So please pass these realistic thoughts along to our young people and ask them to stop and think about them. The great economist Thomas Sowell taught us that back in 1948 when, as a practical matter, there were no minimum wage laws, the unemployment rate among 16 and 17-year-old Black males was under ten percent. But after minimum wage laws were raised repeatedly for political reasons between 1971 and 1994, their unemployment rate was never under 30 percent – and in many of those years it was between 40 and 50 percent. Why? Think present-day McDonalds! Where before we would order our Big Mac and fries from a cashier, today we place the order through a computer. The reason is, of course, the government has made the cost of labor of these entry-level jobs higher than the value that they bring to the employer. So those jobs are lost. And no one can move up the economic ladder unless they can get up on the first rung! Furthermore, it is far better for society to have, for example, 100 young people working for $10 per hour than 65 people working for $15 per hour. And once those people gain work experience and a track record of reliability, their work product will be more productive which will, in turn, enable them to earn higher wages. That is the way the real world works.

Thought for the week: If a cow doesn’t produce milk, is it a “Milk Dud,” or an “Udder Failure?”

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.) Superior Court of Orange County, California 2012 Libertarian Candidate for Vice President

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