The Case for Capitalism, Conservatism

When it comes to highlighting liberals’ wrongheaded economic thinking, nobody’s been better at it than Milton Friedman. This video is a great example of Friedman’s wisdom:


Friedman’s wisdom on the subject of minority education is playing out in big cities daily. First, Friedman said that nothing traps young people in poverty more than underperforming “government schools.” That’s being verified by the fact that the DC Opportunity Scholarship program has far more minority applicants than scholarships. The documentary “Waiting for Superman” highlights parents as they attempt to rescue their children from government schools by getting them into charter schools. In St. Paul, a healthy portion of the families wanting their children in charter schools are minority parents.

Time after time, minorities are hurt by government schools. What’s worst is that the teacher unions and Democrat politicians protect bad schools. New York City is famous for its Rubber Room:

Educators accused of breaking rules, abusing kids, or simply failing to provide students with a decent education, will be paid a stunning $22 million by the city this year for doing absolutely nothing.

Charter schools aren’t restricted by union rules, which gives them more latitude to innovate. Charter schools can get rid of underperforming teachers quickly, something government schools can’t do.

Here in Minnesota, Republicans included a Basic Skills Test requirement in the Omnibus Education Bill that Gov. Dayton signed. This year, with the DFL running state government from A to Z, Democrats repealed the Basic Skills Test requirement. It wasn’t surprising that Gov. Dayton didn’t hesitate in signing the requirement’s repeal.

The message that sends to teachers is that competence isn’t required, that a union card is what’s important. That cheats students by telling parents, students and teachers alike that union membership is more important than high quality teachers.

Friedman also explains why increasing the minimum wage hurts minorities. Mitch Berg’s post highlights why increasing the minimum wage is actually keeping unemployment high:

The inevitable result of across-the-board minimum wage hikes? Fewer minimum wage jobs.

Case in point; as minimum wages around the country rose during the 2000s, McDonalds started pre-cooking its hamburger patties, so they’d only need to be reheated in the stores. This got rid of most of the traditional “burger-flipper” jobs, the ones that liberals sneered at but provided hundreds of thousands of opportunities for teens and others entering and re-entering the workforce to learn how to show up for work on time and do a good job at something.

Democrats will argue that increasing the minimum wage doesn’t affect hiring. They’re wrong. It’s accurate to say that increasing the minimum wage doesn’t always affect unemployment. Democrats think businesses owe it to society to hire people. That’s wrongheaded thinking. Entrepreneurs hire people if they think it’ll makes them money. Period.

If hiring a person at minimum wage will hurt profits, businesses won’t hire people. It’s that simple. The benefit must exceed the expense. If it doesn’t, unemployment is the result. It’s that simple regardless of what Rep. Winkler and other Democrats say.

The move is designed to boost efficiency and make ordering more convenient for customers. In an interview with the Financial Times, McDonald’s Europe President Steve Easterbrook notes that the new system will also open up a goldmine of data. McDonald’s could potentially track every Big Mac, McNugget, and large shake you order. A calorie account tally at the end of the year could be a real shocker.

The touch screens will only accept debit or credit cards, adding to the slow death knell of cash and coins. This all goes along with an overall revamp of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide aimed at projecting a modern image as opposed to the old-fashioned golden arches…

While it’d be pushing it to say that McDonalds is installing these touch-screen ordering kiosks because of the minimum wage, it isn’t a stretch to say that installing those kiosks will help McDonalds avoid dealing with minimum wage employees. Rep. Winkler isn’t interested in increasing the minimum wage to help the working poor. He’s interested in it because many union wages are based on the minimum wage.

Limiting government’s size and influence isn’t just an ideology. It’s a time-tested method for ushering in lengthy periods of prosperity. Capitalism is still the greatest weapon in fighting poverty and creating upward mobility.

Comments welcome at Let Freedom Ring.