Capturing A Pawn… By Sacrificing Your Queen

I’m of two minds about the Hobby Lobby decision.

It’s always good when a branch of the federal government acknowledges (in effect) freedom of conscience and choice. On the other hand, the possibility of these types of endless specialty niche carve-outs from what is a clear mandate of the law, seems to just tie commercial interests even more closely to a begging-for-favors scheme with the Feds.

And even worse, this is *bad law* and these kinds of small wins may actually be counter-productive. They may take what was a clear overreach into private exchange and commercial transaction decisions of individuals and organizations, and transform it into a measured step towards more central control and planning of our lives by government overseers.

People react to clear overreach, but measured steps in the wrong direction becomes like the frog in pot. Just a little more heat… Just a little more heat… Just a little more heat…

I know the legal fight to overturn this whole shebang as an illegitimate use of government authority already lost once and forcefully, but people should be guarded in their celebration of these subsequent “victories”. They may simply modify the enforcement of the legislation in a way that camouflages what a true disaster it really is.

Two Burger Trucks

So Seattle just passed a $15/hr minimum wage and my question is, are people really that stupid?

I’m not talking about understanding the economics of price floors, or shortages, dis-equilibria, or any complicated theory on the voter side. I’m saying that aside from all of that, you have to be working with the assumption that employers and employees are GARGANTUAN IDIOTS to think that a minimum wage is anything but nonsense.

Maybe a little parable would help… This isn’t about detailed economics, it’s about extremely simple small business finance.


Bob and I used to own two comparable burger food trucks. Both of our burgers were really good, and we found over time that at $5/burger we had solid lines from 11am to 11pm everyday. The only restraint on our total income was how many burgers we could make during those 12 hours, and what determined our “profit” was that total minus the cost of ingredients and the wage we paid to the cook. Continue reading