This morning we have thrown the critical ISME eye on the report from TASC, the self-styled ‘progressive’ think tank who asked, as part of a ‘Behaviour and Attitude’s’ omnibus survey, a series of questions about where taxes should be spent and what the minimum wage should be.
Shouldn’t you ask the wage payer what the minimum wage could be?
But here’s the fatal flaw. They asked a 1,000 adults these questions including those people who came under the heading of ‘self-employed’ but they didn’t ask the category that we know and love, the employers, about what they thought the minimum wage should be. Self-employed is certainly not the same thing as an employer.
Ask the right question and you’ll get the answer you want
Ask 1,000 children would they prefer sweets over broccoli and the answer will come as no surprise. Ask a 1,000 people who they prefer an icy dip in the Irish Sea or to sit in the afternoon sun? The answer is obvious. So why wouldn’t those who don’t have to pay it say that the minimum wage should be higher?
A call for a 33% wage rise when there’s no inflation
77% of those surveyed said that the minimum wage (€8.65) should be the same as what they call the ‘living wage’ which TASC claims to be €11.50 per hour. That’s a rise of 33%. Inflation in this country is in the negative figures for the past seven months. TASC lists 50 economists on their website who provide specialist advice to the TASC Research & Policy team. How can any one of them stand over such arrant nonsense?
Raising wages by 33% will increase employment. Yes or no?
We are the broken record on this issue. Paid work is what lifts people out of poverty. We are ‘coming out’ of recession. We are not ‘out’ of recession. We are in recovery. This year will see a net increase of jobs of 40,000 plus. But we still have over 200,000 unemployed. A useful question for TASC to have asked was whether the public thought it was more or less likely that these people would get work if employers had to increase wages by 33%.
Populist politicians giving away what they don’t own
The most insidious issue with these meaningless surveys, which are not tempered with possible consequences (i.e. if the minimum wage rises by a third 50,000 could lose their jobs; is this what you want?) is that they are reported on, in the main, uncritically. This uncritical view of the minimum wage versus a living wage enters the public debate as if it is something that politicians can deliver on. Populist politicians then join in the clamour to give away something they don’t own, a business’s money and therefore a business’s ability to stay in business.
How to get 200,000 people back to work?
The one figure in the survey that ISME take some heart from was that 85% agreed that the Government should do more to reduce economic inequality in Ireland. And ISME’s recommendation on that? Get people back to work by staying away from the minimum wage.