Ludwig Von Mises would disagree with this statement because he believes that societies need government to protect life, liberty, and property and anything it does beyond this is a violation of its boundaries. When the government intervenes in matters such as the market, specifically the wages of workers in this case, it creates unintended consequences since it put its hands on an issue that it was never intended to solve.
According to Mr. Offenheiser, here is what would happen if the minimum wage were raised:
- Stimulation of the economy: since workers would have more money in their pockets, they would turn around and spend it, sending more money through the economy
- Less dependence on social programs: since workers would have more money, they would slowly rely less and less on the government
- More jobs: the workers would spend more which would result in businesses earning more money and would therefore be able to hire more people
- Equal distribution of wealth
In response to the assertion that a higher minimum wage would reduce dependency on government programs Mises argues that an increase in itself is a reliance on the government. People waiting for the government to give them higher paychecks is clearly dependence on the government, simply in another form.
Mises argues that an increase in minimum wage would not result in an influx of jobs. He believes that markets are self-correcting, if untouched by excessive government involvement, and that government intervention in this case would result in the opposite of the expected outcome. Raising the minimum wage and hoping that the workers spend the extra $3 per hour instantly to support the economy is unrealistic. Even if it were the case, businesses also tend to save so if they experienced higher profits, the first move would most likely not be to hire a bunch of new employees. It would be something more along the lines of investing, improving advancements and technologies, or saving. Raising the minimum wage would mean that businesses would have to let people go. It is the same scenario as when a business cannot sell a product because it costs them too much. Do they keep that product or do they trash it? With labor, the same concept applies. If it costs more to keep that labor that isn't producing more output for that raised cost, they will be let go.
Lastly, Mises disagrees with the assertion that a raise in minimum wage will level out income inequality because he realizes that in a capitalistic market system, the rich are rich because they invested time, money, energy, and hard work into an innovation that the masses benefit from. The poor are poor because they have not made such investments, or if they have, it was not as big of an investment. If everyone got paid the same amount, innovation would go extinct. Why would the inventor of the iPhone go through all the tedious, difficult, tumultuous travails that come with creating a cell phone if his income matched that of the cashier at 7/11? It is much easier to punch a few buttons and put money in a drawer, so if everyone got paid the same, everyone would do the same amount of work. Mises says that the government sticking its hands into this aspect of the market will not level out the income "inequality." It will result in more people not having an income at all.
In all of these examples, the government actually creates a new problem without solving the original one. This is Mises' view towards government intervention: although it sounds nice, it never satisfies.