The Left will stop at nothing to trash Mitt Romney, and their latest attempts to do so involve supposedly damaging testimony from Romney’s garbage collector and a handful of weak arguments about the plight of service workers.
Yesterday, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) introduced us to Richard Hayes, Mitt Romney’s garbage man. In a video on their website and an article on the Huffington Post, AFSCME attempts to paint Mr. Romney as insensitive toward and out of touch with blue collar workers like Mr. Hayes. AFSCME, of which Hayes is a member, has come out in support of Mr. Romney’s presidential election opponent, Barack Obama.
Hayes is attempting to tarnish Romney’s character, pointing out that unlike his neighbors, Romney does not come out to shake Hayes’s hand, thank him, or offer him water or Gatorade. Ignoring the fact that it is fairly ridiculous to expect somebody who has been running for President professionally for six years to be on a first name basis with his garbage collector, Hayes also touched on an economic fallacy that people can improve the lives of service workers by tipping them or giving them free goods and services.
If tipping increases the wage paid for a certain profession, more people will seek to enter that profession. That would drive down wages to the point where they would have been without the added compensation of tips. This is because in a market economy, workers are paid the value they add to the firm.
Hayes also discussed how his job is very physically taxing, and that he expects his body to break down near the age of 55 or 60. This point highlights another principle of economics: Compensating Differential. When people are asked to perform jobs that are particularly unpleasant or stinky, they are usually paid more than a comparatively pleasant job requiring the same skill set. At some point in his life, Mr. Hayes determined that he would willingly take on arduous physical labor in order to have more money.
The only way to make people earn more is to increase their real productivity. Mitt Romney did that for thousands of people when he helped restructure various companies during his time at Bain Capital. Such creative discovery only takes place when an economy is freed of the shackles of a large government. Part of this process is “creative destruction,” during which firms contract and even go out of business.
Unions such as AFSCME attempt to solidify their members’ position relative to firms. This implies resisting any sort of change in employment situations, even if it is beneficial for both the firm and society at large. Furthermore, AFSCME mostly represents government works, and therefore lobbies for a larger government. Government is the least adaptive and responsive entity to the economy and enlarging it only hurts economic progress.