Since President Obama mentioned hiking the minimum wage in his State of the Union address, it has been a hot topic on the econ blogs. Does it reduce jobs? Does it help the poor? Does it hurt them?
As I’ve read the plethora of blog posts about the minimum wage over the past few days from liberty-minded economists and bloggers, who have greatly influenced my thinking, Grant’s comment kept echoing in my mind.
The best (and only argument that should be required) against the minimum wage is liberty. Grant wrote:
As a human being, I have an absolute right to make arrangements between myself and another so long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.
Why should someone be able to prevent me from accepting a wage, if I so choose? If it is agreeable to me and agreeable to person willing to pay it, who cares?
Grant’s comment echoed in my mind as I read those blogs because so rarely was the case for liberty mentioned. They’ve taken the bait. Nearly all of the blog posts I read try to disprove the ‘greater good’ argument, rather than state the case for liberty.
Also, credit to The Pretense of Knowledge blog for including with other ‘minimum wage’ blog links, a link to a post about Dr. Higgs’ essay on the moral case for liberty. I commented on that essay here.
Besides there are also really good reasons to be skeptical about ‘greater-good’ arguments. They usually are wrong or, at best, inconclusive. Why violate liberty for that?