Economics 101: Nothing is free

Sister Toldjah tweeted:

Which brings us to this one:


An 8.25% “Living Wage” surcharge? But, but, but I thought that increasing the minimum wage wouldn’t hurt consumers! It would only be those greedy capitalist CEOs who might have to make do with less.

Most amusing, though, is an article on Sis’ site, about a good-hearted liberal from Austin, Texas, who has “voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better” but now “can’t afford to live (t)here anymore.”

Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist, has seen her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year. I prefer to look at it as $708.33 a month, on top of her mortgage payment. Or, put another way, assuming a full-time job, with no overtime, her taxes come out to $4.09 per hour. It’s difficult for me to have much sympathy for her, given that she voted for all of the stuff that requires tax dollars to pay, but I do have some sympathy for the poorer people of Austin, who have also been saddled with higher local tax bills due to Miss Gardner’s votes.

Nor is it just the homeowners: renters pay property taxes just like homeowners do, as their landlords have to pass on their taxes in the rents that they charge. In fact, since landlords have to account for the expenses of vacant properties — the taxes don’t stop accruing just because an apartment is vacant — a smart landlord is going to calculate what his average vacancy rate is, and make sure that his total tax bill is covered by the rents he can expect at his normal occupancy levels. Thus, renters will be paying not only the property taxes on the units they occupy, but a premium to cover the taxes on vacant units!1

As we have noted previously, the end consumer, for anything, pays all of the costs for whatever it is he is buying. Everything for which Miss Gardner voted has to be paid for, and it has to be paid for by the taxpayers of the city .  .  . and that means everybody.

This is why we have said that liberals do not understand economics; if they did, they wouldn’t be liberals anymore!  Miss Gardner is getting, has gotten, a very hard lesson in Economics 101, that nothing is free, that somebody, somewhere, has to pay for everything.  It’s not always someone else; sometimes it’s you!

  1. The same logic applies to cities as well. City officials know that they will not be able to collect 100% of taxes due, so when they set tax rates, they must set the rates high enough that the anticipated percentage of people who actually do pay their taxes pay enough to cover the needed revenues. If the city can increase its collection rate to higher than what was anticipated, well, that’s just gravy.


  1. I am shocked, shocked! Whoda thunk if the government increases costs of doing business that prices would have to rise to compensate. It’s crazy I tell ya.

  2. What a bunch a Left Coast Far Gone Idiots. Economic Business Principle No. 1, When your Business Costs GO UP, cost of Product Sold GOES UP+. It’s not only the wage that increases, it’s the Business share of Taxes, Insurances, Unemployment (State & Fed) and a few other costs. So, say an employeeswage goes up $7.50/hr, the cost to the owner could be $12/hr. And watch the complaints when the worker’s State, Fed taxes increase along with Social Security. Sorry Seattle, there are no free coffee beans. And wonder how many customers will vote with their feet?

  3. I’ve written but left unplaced and festering a post on John’s site concerning the right to be an employee, i.e., to have a “job”.

    That is not of course to be confused with the right to work or own property or tools or to labor on one’s own behalf. But rather the “right” presumed by some, to have someone else provide one with a time occupying activity which one finds both congenial as well as yielding of a rate of compensation which one deems acceptable.

    The other, to put it a little too emphatically, is assumed to not only have the implied duty to engage in the risks and burdens entrepreneurship which the employee declines, but to provide the stupid, the behaviorally incontinent, the emotionally unstable, and the unambitious and timid with a comfortable nesting place no matter what the free-market economic value of the work.

    The entrepreneur is then imagined as being a social engine upon with others have a right more than merely contractual, to attach themselves to. The master in the old master servant-relationship [which is what employment, as opposed to free agency, was legally] becomes the servant of the servant.

    I’m all for paying people a “living wage” if the work can be arranged to justify it. In fact, if somehow it worked out that 5 highly motivated and industrious full time workers could collect all the remuneration otherwise spread among two dozen of a mixed bag, I’d be all for it.

    Unfortunately, burger slinging is an activity that is in a somewhat sinusoidal daily demand.

    Of course, the inherent and destructive contradictions and built-in incoherence of the progressives’ presuppositional template as it applies to the free-market and entrepreneurial framework, is for the organisms of the left, a feature, not a problem. It’s a feature which in order to become coherent rather than incoherent, must be applied to a reconfigured economic base: the social ownership of the means of production. The social justice ideological tail then, will be used to wag the economy into a form of welfare statism or socialism.

    And that is precisely what these moral defectives of the left are aiming for in the first place.

  4. Pingback: Perhaps the left’s ideas about addressing income inequality might not be the better ones? | The First Street Journal.

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  6. In fact, if somehow it worked out that 5 highly motivated and industrious full time workers could collect all the remuneration otherwise spread among two dozen of a mixed bag, I’d be all for it.

    I’ve tried that in the restaurant business DNW, it doesn’t work. It starts out well but I always ended up getting screwed when one left or took a day or even a week or two off and I was caught short handed. I found it’s better to give 10 employees 20 hours a week than 5 employees 40. But that’s the nature of the food business. If you have 5 waitresses waiting 20 tables you have good service. Cut to 4 waitresses then people start complaining. Same thing with cooks. Everybody has to be able to overlap schedules or the House can get jammed up.

    Now when I have a financial services company, 5 really good salesmen could run rings around 10 crappy ones with less guidance and a lot less management. Then, they were on commission! And they gave personal attention to each client which reflected in the products they sold.

  7. The other thing DNW, progressives ( I hate that word they’re damn leftists) never seem to own or operate a business which requires the intensity of labor the rest of us own. Yet they seem to act as if they know exactly what each of my employees are worth and what each “should” be paid. It has always amused me that some half-assed politician in Harrisburg or Washington who has never owned a hot dog stand will presume to know exactly what working conditions I should provide and exactly what salary I should pay for each and every job I hire a person to do. Man, they must be some really, really smart people, ay?

  8. Man, they must be some really, really smart people, ay?

    Problem is, they’re not. They’re just a face regurgitating what some lobbyist of bigger money is stuffing in their hands that are behind their backs.

  9. Pingback: Economics 101: The #minimumwage, and pricing labor out of the market | The First Street Journal.

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