Writing in today’s Baltimore Sun, Marta Mossberg correctly argues that a proposed “living-wage” bill for Baltimore will hurt the poor. This unintended effect is the inevitable result of prohibiting workers from accepting any wage lower than $10.57 per hour – a wage well above the hourly value that many unskilled workers are capable of producing for employers.
So why are so many people enthusiastic about statutes such as this one?
Proponents of such legislation are economic creationists. They do not grasp the fact that beneficial economic arrangements emerge – and emerge almost exclusively – without being designed by an altruistic higher power (supposedly, government). Widespread prosperity and economic order are taken on faith as resulting from the conscious intercession of a sovereign superior whose incantations, ceremonies, and commands work miracles. And, too often, persons who challenge this creationist dogma are accused by its True Believers of being devils sent from the underworld to disrupt the heavenly work of the creating angels.