Friday, December 6, 2013

On raising the minimum wage...

On raising the minimum wage...  This is something that has long puzzled me – it seems obvious to me that a minimum wage harms the very people the progressives claim to be wanting to help with it: lower income workers.  You really don't need to be an intellectual giant to realize that the existence of a minimum wage (at any level) for private jobs means fewer jobs (through elimination or automation) and raises prices.  What business is going pay a 70 year old retired guy $15 an hour to sweep the sidewalk in front of their shop?  They'll just eliminate the job.  It follows quite simply that the higher the minimum wage, the more jobs it costs, and the more it raises prices.  Additionally, I have a moral problem with the notion that if a person is willing to work for (say) $3 and hour, and a business is willing to pay for that work – that we, as a society, will say: “No, you can’t do that!”  What right have we to interfere in that private, voluntary business transaction?  Lest you think you're hearing the ravings of a committed curmudgeon, you should know this: economists have broadly agreed that a minimum wage (at any level) is a bad idea for, oh, about 100 years now.  Here's a discussion on this topic from Reason, and another from The Federalist.

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