Public Square

Video: Bill Gates on the Minimum Wage

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When Bill Gates appeared on MSNBC on Tuesday morning, he shocked many viewers with his comments about raising the minimum wage.

When asked whether raising the minimum wage was a good idea, Gates responded,

“Well, jobs are a great thing. So you have to be a bit careful: If you raise the minimum wage, you’re encouraging labor substitution, and you’re going to go buy machines and automate things — or cause jobs to appear outside of that jurisdiction. And so within certain limits, you know, it does cause job destruction. If you really start pushing it, then you’re just making a huge trade-off.”

Gates’s comments were particularly interesting in light of DC’s recent minimum wage increases, and his words highlight the the importance of considering the possible unintended consequences of any policy.

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  • Erika

    already have made huge unnecessary trade-offs in that direction, such
    as Librarians, Super Market Checkers, Bank Tellers, Mail Carriers, Food
    delivery personnel (drone delivery?) and these all have unforeseen
    consequences. Bill did not really answer the question but stated a
    already known fact! These people do not have, nor are they going to
    offer any type of solution for humanity, unless it involves filling
    their pants pockets with more millbilltrillions!

    • keshelman

      Erika, I’d love to respond to your comment, but would you first mind clarifying what the tradeoffs and unforeseen consequences are that you are referring to so that I can better reply?

  • Richard G. Sneed

    Someone should link this story to the White House.

  • Laura

    The HUGE tradeoff Bill Gates warns of in raising the minimum wage wouldn’t mean the destruction of jobs if maximum profits weren’t demanded by the few at the top. How many homes, cars, jets and islands does one man need to own, on the backs of hard working men, women and children who are hardly eking out an existence?

    • keshelman

      Thanks so much for commenting. First of all, I would argue that from a biblical standpoint, it’s not wrong for the rich to have wealth. People like Bill Gates contributed to society and they deserve to be rewarded for what they did. That being said, the rich need to steward that wealth wisely because the Bible is also very clear that we had a responsibility to the poor and needy. It’s for them to decide how they will do this (Bill and Melinda Gates started a foundation) rather than government mandates.

      To address your other point, if there are minimum wage laws, companies will drive prices up and be more selective about who they hire because companies exist to make a profit. Whether or not this should be the case does not change the fact that it would be an unintended consequence of a minimum wage raise that will ultimately hurt the poor.

  • Laura

    I am wondering what happened to the comment I posted ~ it was very civil and pertinent to the article. Thanks, Laura

    • keshelman

      Hey Laura,
      I have to approve the comments before they go up just to make sure we don’t get any spam. That’s why you didn’t see it go up right away. Sorry for the delay!

  • LibertyNow

    Why doesn’t Gates just speak English……what gobledegook! … can speak so it means something….do you want people to be impressed by all that crazyspeak You made computers, for God’s sake! Get real!

    • keshelman

      LibertyNow, I thought what Gates said was pretty clear. If you specify what was unclear to you, I’d love to discuss it!

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