When most libertarians rail against the minimum wage they typically channel economic arguments. A Skeptical Libertarian article, for example, rounds up all of the usual suspects: Facts, figures, evidence, examples and statistics, along with diagrams, graphs and charts, while quoting Frédéric Bastiat, Thomas Sowell and James Buchanan as economically-inclined libertarians would expect them to do.
Businesses faced with a mandatory wage increase will have to do one or more of the following: cut workers hours, lay off workers, hire fewer new workers, replace workers with machines, and/or raise prices for all consumers (including those minimum wage earners who everyone seems to forget are also consumers) while forcing the least skilled workers right out of the labor force entirely.
What this and similar articles never really get around to addressing is the difference between a business and a corporation and how they operate.
a corporation is a business that has signed up for a government-created bundle of legal goodies that results in protecting the owner’s profits, sheltering owner’s and investor’s personal incomes from liability lawsuits, capping damages in cases of wrongdoing (the $75M for the BP Gulf oil spill was a government-gifted cap, far below actual cleanup costs), receiving special interest laws that shield them from competition, funnels millions in taxpayer subsidies to them and bails them out when they screw up because politicians have invested their own ill-gotten under-the table graft in the corporations, magically making them “too big to fail.”
In short, a business must compete with other business to succeed; a corporation buys politicians so they won’t have to compete.
Although libertarians make a point of differentiating businesses from corporations they’re better off simply advocating for a free market, period. Refreshingly, however, the commentary from A Libertarian Future by J. Wilson takes a seldom-seen look at the minimum wage: Corporations love the minimum wage and actively advocate for it.
Big corporations can easily spread a small rise in labor costs across their entire operation, often absorbing it without any of the problems faced by small companies with razor thin profit margins. What this does for corporations is kill off the millions of small businesses and mom-and-pop ventures that make up the bulk of their competition.
Being that politically-created corporations and corporate-owned politicians are obviously buried deep under the bedcovers together, the minimum wage is great PR for both and a national disaster for everyone else.
Liberals who hate big business but love big government, and conservatives who think in the opposite direction, see only one side of the statist-corporatist scam.