Bob is using Facebook on his phone. He shares a graphic about the minimum wage on facebook with the caption: “Oh. Em. Gee as in GOODNESS! Have you seen this?! The average person needs to make more than $35 an hour just to afford rent! We need to raise the minimum wage!” Seamus comments: “Bob do I need to explain what’s wrong with this meme to you?” Bob blocks Seamus A user named “Not Seamus” with a profile picture of Seamus with a mustache comments. “I can explain it instead!” Bob: Is there no escaping this pedantic crank?! “Not Seamus” comments: “No” (Opening logo) “Not Seamus” comments: “It’s easy for people to manipulate statistics. And comparisons like this fail for a number of reasons. First of all, in a country as large and diverse as America, calculating the “average rent” for the whole country is basically pointless. Not only do rental costs vary dramatically from state to state, they vary dramatically within each state depending on whether you live in the city, in the suburbs, or in a rural location. And that’s not to mention the obvious flaw of measuring a minimum wage against an average rental cost- you should compare average wages to average rental costs and you should compare minimum wage to minimum rental costs.” Bob comments: “Go away.” “Not Seamus” comments: “Moving on! This graphic, like many others, strongly implies that a large number of adults are acting as sole income provider for their family while making minimum wage. But only 3% of all wage earners make minimum wage, and the majority of them are young people! And the vast majority of them move on to higher paying careers later on! Bob comments: “I will report you.” “Not Seamus” comments: And why are we assuming these people are living alone? Having a roommate or two can dramatically reduce the burden of rent and utilities each month! Bob comments: But some people are relying on minimum wage jobs to feed their families. If a business can’t afford to pay its employees a living wage, they don’t deserve to be in business! Roommates? Yuck! Clean up your mess Bob, stop clogging the toilet Bob, pay your half of the rent Bob! Having roommates is the WORST! People shouldn’t need roommates, rent should be lower! “Not Seamus” comments: So if a company can’t afford to pay its 16-year-old burger-flipper enough to have a middle-class lifestyle all by himself, they should close up shop and not have any employees at all? Well, if you really think rent should be lower, you should support easing zoning laws so more houses can be built! That would increase the supply of housing and result in lower rent for everyone! Bob: I DON’T WANT A SOLUTION THAT MAKES SENSE! I WANT TO BE ANGRY AT THE SYSTEM! Consider yourself BLOCKED and REPORTED and I am CALLING 911! Cut to Seamus standing next to “Not Seamus” who is revealed in this final shot to be an actual person. Seamus: He blocked you too? Not Seamus: It’s thankless work.

Common Sense Soapbox

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About this show

Short videos with a punchy, comedic tone and entertaining Socratic characters taking on trending issues and important concepts from a classical liberal perspective, written & animated by Seamus Coughlin.

March 26, 2019

When Bob shares a meme about raising the minimum wage based on a bad argument around average rent in the US, Seamus and a friend help him see the error of his ways.

Learn more here: https://fee.org/articles/minimum-wage-memes-what-they-miss-and-how-they-mislead/


Written by Seamus Coughlin & Sean W. Malone
Animated by Seamus Coughlin
Produced by Sean W. Malone