Walter Williams’ Response to an Oprah Show

A couple of weeks ago, my dad called me and asked me if I had seen the Oprah show that was just on. It was about people living on minimum wage and the struggles they face. I did not get to see the show but my dad said it was pretty pathetic in that Oprah really didn’t have anyone with any intelligence on the show. Rather, it was a typical gripe fest about how everyone “deserves” a minimum wage of something like $15 per hour and everyone should have health insurance given to them. I believe something like this has been done before. It’s called communism and it doesn’t work. Anyway, it sounded like it was a show that would get on most personal finance bloggers’ nerves. It got on mine and I didn’t even see the show.

Well, in today’s paper was an editorial by Walter Williams talking about that show. My wife read his comments to me and then she said, “I like Walter Williams.” I do too.

4 thoughts on “Walter Williams’ Response to an Oprah Show”

  1. I used to work for minimum wae before I went to college and have been moving up ever since. While I was young, health insurance and other benefits didn’t really matter much to me. My parents just moved here legally from another country and are tying to built a life for themselves. Of course all their vast experience they have, can not be applied here because they are not fluent in English and all their Diplomas and degrees are earned in another country. So, they are stuck doing low paying jobs. They don’t mind that, because they understand their limitation; but I find appaling the lack of any benefits that these jobs offer. Working as a maid or caregiver at kindergarden, my mom has no health insurance. The employer doesn’t provide one, or it is so limited it shouldn’t even qualify as one. The other option is for them to buy it outside work at a cost of $500 a month each. I can’t blame the emploer too much because they don’t have high margins in these type of business. But I have become a fan of universal health care, Massachuset universal health care type of coverage.
    Also, don’t bother trying to scare us with “C” (communisim) word. Let’s just stick to the facts please.
    While I don’t agree with the need to raise minimum wage so everyone can drive a nice car, I believe there is plenty of room for us to improve in offering benefits for these lower class.

  2. Actually, I liked Dr. Williams’ article specifically because he did stick to the facts. Minimum wage laws, whether that is the intention or not, tend to exclude low-skilled people from entry-level jobs. Sadly, so of those people are among some of the best potential employees in the long run. Someone who is willing to take a job at the bottom that promises opportunities for training and advancement is well worth hiring and promoting. However, the best way to distinguish between such people and less motivated coworkers is by seeing who takes advantage of the opportunities. A lower starting wage means that you can try out more people.

    I’ve never met a business person who wants to pay employees more than they’re work is worth. That doesn’t make sense. But there are plenty who want to pay their employees as much as they’re worth.

    I think that part of the confusion that this issue generates is about that word “worth”. What a person’s work is worth is a measure of the current economic value of what they produce with that work. In fact, the same work can be wirht differing amounts depending on the employer. The same employee doing the same job on the assembly line for GM or Toyota is worth a different amount to the two companies because an hour of his labor on each of those lines produces a different dollar value of end product.

  3. I’ve always liked Walter Williams; he is not afraid to speak his mind, and always backs up his intellectual arguments with facts.

    Arguing for more entitlements is the easy thing to do, and it feels good, but everyone ends up worse off in the end. Unfortunately, populist politicians (or TV hosts) know exactly how to play the populist card.

  4. Arguing for more entitlements is the easy thing to do, and it feels good, but everyone ends up worse off in the end.

    I don’t think it’s always that clear cut. For example, what about how much money is wasted because people have to wait for a condition to get so bad that they go to the ER to get treatment, when it may have been prevented by preventative care?

    I like what Massachusetts is proposing.

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