Saturday, February 03, 2007

USA Today on the Minimum Wage

It gets tiring rebutting the silly things said in support of a minimum wage increase, but I suppose it has to be done.

A USA Today editorial says:
The arguments against the minimum wage are familiar and unpersuasive. Critics argue that it will cost jobs, but the economic literature suggests job losses are a minimal threat. The last increase in 1997 was followed by a surge in low-wage employment.

Well, that's certainly worded with careful vagueness, but it's pretty callous nonetheless. Job losses are "a minimal threat"? No doubt the threat to to USA Today editorial writers is minimal. But that's not much consolation to those who do lose their job or don't get hired -- and the statement effectively acknolwedges that this will be the case. Sure, there's a question of how many. But there's no doubt it will be quite a few.

USA Today goes on to say:

Some opponents argue that wages should be decided exclusively by the free market.

But the nation decided otherwise in 1938, when Congress created the minimum wage so the poorest workers would have a chance at a decent living. And it's hard to recall similar free-market complaints about the tax code, which is all about picking winners and losers - homeowners over renters, for example, or investors over workers.

This part is just embarassing. Is the writer really unaware of the widespread free market criticism of the tax code? I suspect the answer is yes. When you only talk to like minded people, you simply never hear the opposing view.

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