Buddy Nevins wrong about George Moraitis

Goerge MoraitisUsing a classic “straw man” fallacy as his argument, BrowardBeat’s Buddy Nevins slammed state Rep. George Moraitis because he voted for a bill that would repeal Broward’s living wage ordinance

Nevins’ straw man is his claim that this is a “home-rule issue.” Nevins is off-base because the living wage movement is primarily a free market vs. labor-unions issue, designed to mandate that governments and private companies pay more for unskilled labor than the free market calls for.

The modern living wage movement was launched by the disgraced Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known as ACORN, now disbanded because of criminal activities. Unions took up the cause.

What Nevins doesn’t tell readers is that the living wage typically is at least 50 percent higher than the minimum wage. Living wage ordinances cost taxpayers a heap more money because vendors must pass along their added costs to local governments.

Advocates of the living wage say it reduces poverty. But it does more harm than good, because studies plainly show that such mandates eliminate jobs at the lower end of the economic ladder. Job opportunities for teenagers and 20-somethings are wiped out.

Living wage ordinances are economically unfair. They prohibit market forces from determining pay levels. Free markets are meaningless when the interests of unskilled employees are put above other considerations.

When counties get to create their own ordinances, the unions move from city to city, picking them off one at a time.

Broward County may not realize it, but its taxpayers and small businesses are being hurt by its living wage ordinance.

“When labor costs rise, new entry level jobs that would have been created never materialize, and employer-provided benefits such as health care and on-the-job training are scaled back to absorb the increase in labor costs,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been quoted as saying.

Broward stalls its economic progress when it puts a lid on the ability of businesses to make a profit. Higher costs mean businesses can’t grow or hire as many workers. Government mandates don‘t work because there must be a correlation between what workers are paid and the value of the work they perform.

George Moraitis understands these real-world dynamics. Buddy Nevins does not.

John R. Smith

John R. Smith is chairman of BIZPAC, the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County, and owner of a financial services company.


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