When we spend a dollar on a good or a service we say we obtained a dollar’s worth of value in the exchange. If we make a similar purchase later, but the price has gone up, we say the dollar doesn’t go as far as before. When this happens broadly we call it “inflation.” The dollar has been cheapened.
This is exactly what happens when political forces upset economic forces. For example, government officials demanding that employers purchase labor at rates that are higher than the value the employees actually contribute to the enterprise. To remain solvent those businesses must pass the increased labor cost to the prices they charge for goods in the marketplace. Consumers then conclude that the cost of living has gone up; employees being paid in cheaper dollars begin clamoring for a “living wage.” Opportunistic politicians are more than happy to oblige with further escalations in the minimum wage, and the cycle repeats.
This is the sort of quixotic fantasy being pursued by the Linn County Board of Supervisors. Their belief that they can simply legislate increased value is naive. A more sensible approach is to foster an environment in which employers can cultivate expanded skills in their employees, enabling them to contribute value commensurate with a living wage.
Republicans have a better grasp of economic cause and effect than does the heavily Democrat-weighted current board. Come November let’s elect Republicans to restore fiscal common sense to the board.