A commenter to a recent post seems to be confused as to what the problem is. If a person tells me that they don’t understand a concept that I am putting forward, I will always take the time to fully explain my position.

Let’s start with my original statement:

CVS announces that they will no longer have education requirements for jobs that don’t require a government license. They will also be increasing wages by 36 percent for the uneducated morons they will be hiring. Those who DID get an education? Not so much.


Guy then replied (after a bit) with this:

I guess I’m lost on where this is bad. If they’re no longer requiring a degree where not required by law they’re allowing people with actual life skills who may not have gotten a useless degree (useless as in, not required for a job) to get employment they could be qualified for.

And not saying they’re heroes, or that I want minimum wage increases, but a company voluntarily giving more money to people in the low end of their payscales seems to be good, unless you’re assuming they’re all fat black shaniquas. Some might be just, ya know, people.


So to understand why I have a problem with this, you need to understand what is happening. The company has announced that they are going to pay people without skills $30,000 a year simply for showing up to work, where they used to pay $22,000 a year for the same skillset. That represents a 36% increase. For reasons that you should already understand, this policy is inflationary.

The people who already work there and who already have skills and experience will receive the same minimum. This is known as pay compression. It isn’t happening because of the free market, and CVS isn’t doing it out of the kindness of their heart. It is happening because of the nationwide push for a $15 minimum wage, and because the Federal government is demanding that anyone getting Federal dollars do so. Remember that Medicare and Medicaid rule the medical field in this country.

This completely removes incentive for anyone to gain in skills or experience.

In 2000, a new paramedic in the Orlando area was starting at $14 an hour. New medics now are starting at $13 an hour. As these minimum wages increase, it will soon be that there is no reason for a person to go to the two years of school that it takes to become a licensed paramedic. Why? To get the same money as a person who didn’t even finish high school?

Some would argue that, in a free market, paramedics would get more money. The problem is that it isn’t a free market. Ambulance companies are paid by Medicare and Medicaid. The reimbursement rates for ambulance rides haven’t increased to keep pace. There is no room for pay raises.

So to sum it up, increasing pay at the bottom end without a corresponding increase above that means higher prices, stagnating wages, and is overall bad economically. It also serves to remove incentive for an educated workforce. This is the reason why the Indians and the Chinese are kicking our asses when it comes to the STEM and medical fields.

Guy, your earlier attack on education by equating all education with gender studies tells me that you likely don’t have an education. (If I am mistaken, please accept my apologies, I am not trying to offend.) All education isn’t gender studies. There are plenty of STEM, medical, and other degrees that are needed and important. Not only those, but trades and skills are important if this nation is to not slide into third world shithole status. We can’t all be high school dropouts who only work at retail and service jobs, but that is exactly where policies like this one will take us.

Policies like this tear at that educational foundation and will see this nation slide into savage obscurity.

Categories: economics


Guy · September 12, 2021 at 6:45 am

I appreciate the thoughtful reply. And I apologize if I was overly critical in my reply, I read you frequently and don’t comment, in those cases I just silently agree and so when I might have a niggling disagreement and comment I should be more friendly.

You are very correct that I do not have a degree, and I agree not all degrees are equally worthless, perhaps medical schooling tracks are different. I hire and fire people with degrees in chemistry, environmental engineering, biology, biochemistry and environmental science. Each of those degrees might have large variations in value generally, but I have not found people coming in the door with a lot of retained knowledge. Maybe the real learning doesn’t start until grad school.

There are political and economic forces incentivizing bottom rung pay bumps, we cannot get interviews in the door without doing so now, and our growth has been slowed by the past year’s events so that across the board pay increases would be damaging.

The push for a higher minimum wage is one of those forces, but it seems to me the unemployment pay and the rampant inflation lately are bigger problems. Those are the forces squeezing the pay for people with skills. I’m surely no “fight for 15” guy, but some of the best employees I have ever had were unskilled and untrained and learned everything they did on the job. There are good people in that category as well who are being squeezed harder by the same forces the skilled people face. Not that they all don’t need more money but if you’re trying to run a business and get people in the door, while at the same time trying to give your employees the ability to support themselves, it’s a tough position to be in these days.

CVS is most likely doing this for political purposes and in that case then I have a problem with it as well.

Ultimately though I have to say I agree with your point on the whole. I think it’s just important to not overstate the value of a degree in making a good hire (or deciding who deserves money) when, except in some very specific circumstances, it does not seem to in my experience (and often can indicate the opposite).

Guy · September 12, 2021 at 7:36 am

Also, I did originally miss your larger point, that this was driven by the medicare and medicaid money they’re getting. That is going to skew the market greatly. I think the inflationary pressure is less from this than from the direct injections by the fed into the market, but any manipulation like this is very bad.

Skid Marx · September 12, 2021 at 10:24 am

The egalitarian workers utopia will eventually see what the Great Reset Leap Forward really entails as the mailroom clerk gets promoted to brain surgeon.
Edumacation is already destroyed as part of the Long March to burn it all down and it is meaningless besides the Marxist U. license plate virtue signal because Becky and Jaden are unique just like everyone else who attended the isolation from reality over the years.
As we are all digging in dumpsters or roasting rat kebabs over 55 gallon drums while wearing sandals made from old tires with the sound of the rolling shootout nearby…at least the glorious equality will be achieved for all comrades of the glorious peoples unity collective.
To each according to his need, workers of the world unite and throw off those first world living standard chains of the capitalist patriarchy.
Forward! Yes we can!

Don Curton · September 12, 2021 at 3:01 pm

Going back to the original link about CVS, I having a slightly different take on the education thing. Back when I was part of the minimum wage workforce (early 80’s as a teen), most jobs I applied for and worked required either high school diploma or currently going to school with passing grades. Now did anyone think you actually needed a HS diploma to stock grocery shelves? No, absolutely not. But it was a great tool to weed out undesirable employees. Nothing racial (hell, I was the only white kid in the store many times), but it really helped keep out gang members, hoodlums, and drug addicts. So in that regard I don’t think the education thing is really aimed at college degrees, but rather high school.

That said, they also said they were removing the GPA requirement for the actual pharmacist. So all those D- students should start lining up. Yay.

Finally, Guy, you talked about engineers (and so on) coming in your door without a lot of retained knowledge. As a 30+ year engineer who mentors new engineers, I’ve found that schools do an absolutely shit job at teaching kids what engineers actually do in the field. We usually figure 6 months to a year before we get anything back from them in terms of value. Some companies used to run a 6 month intensive training school for new engineers in order to get them up to speed. It’s been this way for at least the past half-century from what I can tell. This is a reflection on the schools, not the students. I’ve found most kids who go to the trouble of getting the engineering degree are highly motivated and results oriented.

And Divemedic is absolutely correct about wage compression, I’ve experienced it at several levels and it really screws people who are just one or two rungs up the ladder from entry. I’ve been there.

    Burnt Toast · September 12, 2021 at 10:30 pm

    Training enineers right of college?

    It’s called internship.
    Four years minimum.

      Eric Wilner · September 13, 2021 at 4:53 am

      Yeah, for those who follow the usual route.
      I overlapped my (paid) internship with college (summer job, and working during a year off from school), so by the time I staggered through to a degree I was up to speed on the job that was waiting for me. Which, being with a small company, was a mixture of electronic engineering, programming, arcane equipment repair, helping move furniture, and whatever else was needed at any given moment.
      Even back then, university CompSci wasn’t good preparation for any sort of practical work; very little of what was taught had any bearing on things I ended up doing during my career.

AC47spooky · September 12, 2021 at 6:40 pm

Minimum wage … pick a number — $25 – $30 per hour. TPTB do not want a “minimum” they want whatever the number is to be the wage. That will be what you get no matter how long you’ve been around or how much you know. And that, friends, is equity. Got it?

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