Minimum wage is dumb

Whether raising the minimum wage, or having one, helps or hurts is something economists disagree on.

Few economists, however, think whether it helps or hurts is irrelevant. If they think it helps, they support it. If they think it hurts, they don’t.

But, that’s the wrong way to look at it. It’s dumb either way.

If you don’t like a job, quit. You are not entitled to a job.

If the minimum wage is relevant, why does any employer pay more than the minimum to any employee?

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5 thoughts on “Minimum wage is dumb

  1. The same reason why an employer would hire and pay some people less than the minimum wage if there wasn’t one – because it’s consistent with what they can produce. Please note all the ramifications – it permits the low productivity worker to actually work (rather than remain unemployed) and gain some skills, it frees up money so that the employer can either lower his prices (so that more people can afford his products – this means more “poor” people can afford his products) or pay more money to those employees who are highly productive (sort of like the raise that Russell Wilson will get for his demonstrated productivity – anyone have a problem with that?).

  2. Like so many things in politics, it’s effects are perverse. Politicians claim raising the minimum wage is about helping the poor, but it’s really about helping themselves. If it could be proved that the minimum wage reduces economic opportunity and mobility, politicians would reject the proof and continue to champion it in order to mobilize their core voters.

    I read something several months ago about how internships discriminate against the poor. The only people who can afford to take internships, and thus learn valuable skills, build networks, and open up future opportunities, are those who are already well off. The poor cannot afford to give their labor away and so they miss out on the incredible opportunities and mobility that good internships can provide. The minimum wage increases the use of internships and helps reinforce this kind of economic class rigidity.

    And the politicians get to revisit the issue every decade or so, keep going back to that well and benefiting from the public’s gullibility. It’s kind of brilliant politically.


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