If Missouri State Representative Steve Hunter (R-Joplin) has his way, Missouri teachers are about to get a quick lesson in basic economics. Hunter has introduced legislation to “increase the minimum salary for teachers from $23,000 per year [sic] to $31,000.” That’s a whopping 34.7% increase in the minimum wage for teachers. That’s comparable to raising the federal minimum wage from the current $5.85/hour to $7.88 or the Missouri minimum wage from the current $6.65 to $8.96.
Anyone who’s had a basic economics class should be able to predict the effect of such a large increase in the minimum wage with ease – a major increase in unemployment. Hunter wants to give teachers what “they deserve,” reminding me yet again of that Mencken quote about people getting “the government they deserve – good and hard.” That this is targeted solely at a single profession means that the effect is likely to be even worse for marginal current members of that profession as the higher wage draws better qualified newcomers (or returning members who left the profession).
It will be interesting, at least, to see the effect of a basic education in the laws of economics on an overwhelmingly liberal profession. Suddenly faced with loss of income at the hand of the unintended consequence of a seemingly well-intentioned bit of legislation, will Missouri’s teachers (and teacher’s unions) temper their love of big government and perhaps even teach their students that the general minimum wage is a bad idea? Or will they simply seek more regulations and taxes, pushing us further down the Road to Serfdom? I suppose that depends whether their level of education, and Hunter’s professed opinion of their value, reflects their intelligence.
Hat tip to The Turner Report