Reality and the minimum wage

Dave 07December 7, 2015

My little blue Ford Fiesta was due for an oil change, so first thing this morning I phoned my mechanic and he said, “Bring it over.” Gorgeous morning, and it was going to take a bit of time, so I decided to hike over to my local McDonald’s and have a coffee. And what did I see? A brand new Rachel Robot.

When the Alberta NDP – giddy with their trouncing of the PCs – decided to install the first plank in their rebuilding of Alberta into a Social Democratic Paradise, they announced that over three years the minimum wage would be raised to $15 an hour.

I wrote that what they had just done was tell a lot of “new to the job market” teenagers, and immigrants with minimal English language skills that, under Rachel’s rules: “Unless you can find a business willing to train you, and pay you $15 an hour, you will not be allowed to work in Alberta.”

Well, apparently we’re on our way. My local McDonald’s that I’ve been going to for 15 years, and which had exceptional counter service – which included mostly well trained teenagers – this morning had just two adults behind the counter, and two self-serve ordering kiosks.20151207_091424

Eventually – also according to Rachel’s rules – this will result in the creation of jobs. If you believe that, you are a natural-born nanny-statist.

Ms. Notley apparently does not realize that the world does not operate by Rachel’s rules but by Reality’s rules. Albertans, and especially those trying to get into the job market, will be in for a rude awakening unless she has a rude awakening. (And she might, because as Milton Friedman pointed out about 30 years ago, you don’t have to have the right people in political power to get the right thing done; you just have to create the right conditions so that even the wrong people will do the right thing. Re bill 6: “Go Farmers!”)

Now, it has been pointed to me that we have no officially socialist governments in Canada. The new name is Social Democrat. But fundamental socialist philosophy dictates that government has a responsibility to control the economy of a province, state, or nation. Old-time socialists like Tommy Douglas in Saskatchewan felt it was necessary for the government to actually own the means of production, and so at one time the people of Saskatchewan owned a shoe factory, just like back in the USSR!

Saskatchewan still owns a bus company which loses millions, but modern Social Democrats don’t generally feel it’s necessary to actually own businesses. They simply control businesses by regulation, which in practical terms results in the same thing; i.e., market confusion and socialist level efficiency.

As an ex-Saskatchewanian, I wrote about how well it all worked in a blog called Socialism Remembered, in which I pointed out that Socialism, or Social Democrat-ism – call it what you will – invariably kills jobs and opportunity, especially for young people. I apparently struck a nerve and the blog went viral. It’s still on my blog site at

Of course, shortly after that blog was written, the NDP took over in Alberta and the only question now is how much damage they can do in four years. At the pace they are setting, probably a lot!

Rachel Notley’s New Democrats don’t own McDonald’s, or his farms, or the oil industry, but they are rolling out ideologically based rules – call them Rachel’s Rules – that will result in Alberta experiencing an old fashioned, Saskatchewan-like stagnation, or exodus, and probably both. I predict that moving van companies and luggage kiosks will do well!

At least that’s my perspective.

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Dave Reesor

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