Minimum Wage v. Global Warming
Also sponsored by Earth Pendant at PeacefulJewelry
I was walking along the cliffs by the Pacific Ocean in the new National Monument at Point Arena when it hit me: I might have to come out against raising the minimum wage.
Oh, the horror. I have been a leftist since I was 17 (I am now 60) and I know what happens when you point out there is something wrong in leftingtown. People get mad, and they do everything they can to make sure your voice is not heard. Which is not any different than within the right right (or some faction of the right), the center, a religious group, or a business organization.
There is almost always a spectrum within which argument is allowed, even within a Stalinist political or cultish religious group. Stray outside that fence and the dogs will be at your throat.
Nevertheless, here goes.
Raising the minimum wage would boost the economy and provide some material justice for the worst-paid workers in our society.
But raising the minimum wage will increase consumption. At the low end of the economic spectrum, more purchasing power means more purchasing.
More ability to buy cars and gas. More ability to crank the heat up in the winter and air-conditioning in the summer. More clothes, in quantity and quality. More dining out, more fish and meat instead of bread and potatoes. Bigger and better housing units, so higher demand for wood, steel, and concrete. More electronic devices and entertainment. Even more children.
All of that means: more greenhouse gas emission. More deforestation. More loss of species.
Oh I know the Green Party, from Jill Stein down to the local occasional Green voters. Good people, but they want to promise everything to everyone who might vote for change. I've seen them go into mad dog attack mode against environmentalists who point out that the Green Party policy of unlimited immigration just might have a negative effect on the environment of the United States.
At best, they will argue that other parts of the Green Party program will offset the increase in demand I am talking about. Like tilting at windmills. I mean, building windmills to generate electricity, and paving the world with silicon solar cells. Of course that won't work, because it takes a lot of energy to manufacture solar cells and the metal for windmills, and the population of people who want a higher minimum wage just keeps growing to offset any offsets of the offsets.
But mainly the Socialists (not just the Greens) will just denounce me as a right-winger. Because that is easier than talking about the issue, looking at it objectively, and finding a solution that would work if humans chose a political and social-economic path that would allow it.
Governor Brown, now pretty much of a right-wind asshole when it come to budget matters but about as good of a governor as we could expect in a state with about 35 million incredibly greedy and vain citizens, learned the lesson long ago. When he was first governor, back in the neolithic, he tried to get Californians to Think Small. That went over like a Baptist preacher at a whiskey distributors convention. People want the earth and the environment saved, as long as it does not get in their way of acquiring personal wealth and comfort.
Maybe instead of raising the minimum wage we could lower the wages of the rich and middle class (see why I am not a popular politician, or even blogger?). A 90% tax on all income over $1 million (including capital gains "marked to market" at the end of each year) and a 50% tax on incomes over $100,000 would make it a lot easier for the rest of us to stop feeling so poor. A 100% tax on luxury cars would also help by clearing the roads of most obvious affronts.
It's all relative, so why not do what is right for the environment? Turn off the air-conditioners except for medical emergencies. Relocate people who need housing to cities where there is spare housing (mostly in the old rust belt) and order, that is right, order bigger companies to relocate jobs to those cities.
On the whole we need to create a national economic plan to shrink the economy about 2% per year until it reaches an environmentally sustainable level. Those who are already making minimum wage should be allowed to stay where they are for a decade or so until the rest of us catch up with their heroic efforts to have a minimal negative impact on the earth.
More than anything, we need a one-child policy until the U.S. population shrinks back to where it was around the time of the Civil War.
Or we could just wait for the zombie apocalypse. Bound to happen sooner or later.
Agree? Disagree? You can comment on this post at Natural Liberation Blog at blogspot.com
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