25 thoughts on “The Minimum Wage”

  1. “It’s almost as though they want to blight the lives of the young and working poor.”

    Of course they do. More people on welfare == more votes for socialist parties.

  2. I glanced through the NBER paper referred to by Jack Salmon’s article. From the conclusion:

    This paper has shown that the imposition of the U.S.-level minimum wage to Puerto Rico distorted the Puerto Rican earnings distribution, substantially reduced employment on the island, reallocated labor across industries, and affected the characteristics of migrants to the United States. In addition, we argued that, absent migration of the less skilled, imposition of a U.S.-level minimum on the island would have raised unemployment so much as to call into question the viability of such a policy. Thus, migration was a prerequisite for the high minimum wage. Our estimates indicate further that migration was a major contributor to the growth of real earnings on the island. All told, the massive migration from Puerto Rico demonstrates both the interplay between domestic labor market policy-in this case, imposition of a minimum wage with a bite-and migration and the potential contribution of migration to the growth of real wages in a source economy.

    In other words, a lot of unemployed people left for greener pastures on the US mainland and that helped make the federal minimum wage less destructive. This does lead to an interesting possibility. Namely, that a higher universal minimum wage might accelerate migration to the more economically successful parts of the country.

  3. I’ve read that the economies of American Samoa and Northern Mariana Islands were severely affected when Congress raised their minimum wages. I suspect it’s a lot more expensive to move to the continental US from those territories, and not quite as convenient as they are not US citizens (but they are US nationals, and have a much easier path to citizenship than other non-citizens).

  4. America had a good run… too bad it’s over with nowhere to flee.

    Poverty kills which makes the demagogues the equivalent of murderers. That we can’t marginalize them means America’s days are over. It’s just a matter of time w/o some radical changes.

    People know this in their gut.

  5. “It’s almost as though they want to blight the lives of the young and working poor.”

    Of course it is. That’s the whole point. Increase the welfare rolls, increase votes for the progressives.

    1. I wish someone making this claim would name names. All the progressives I know have good intentions. Of course, that should be utterly unpersuasive to you, but similarly, your claim is completely unpersuasive to me. Who is being crass? And is it just one or two people, or is it the whole Democratic party except for one or two people, or what?

      If you can’t name names, perhaps you should consider the speech House Speaker Paul Ryan gave last month: “In a confident America, we also have a basic faith in one another. We question each other’s ideas—vigorously—but we don’t question each other’s motives. ”


      1. Grassroots progressives just have to believe the cult leaders are right, and that non-cult members are evil.

        But even the direct quotes from leadership will be taken as “Misspeaking” or “Out of context.”

        “Gas prices will necessarily skyrocket.”

      2. I don’t really care about your intentions. The Nazis and Soviets had, by their lights, good intentions. There’s an old saying about paving materials and a road to a certain destination. What I do care about are your actions and those of your ideological fellows. These have been almost entirely destructive, on net. Yet your side will not acknowledge even obvious and flagrant failures of your favored nostrums, economic or otherwise. You just double down on stupid and try to make even the act of pointing out your serial stupidities a crime.

      3. “or is it the whole Democratic party except for one or two people”

        This has been my personal experience. From what I read in Democrat press, the popular media run by Democrats, speeches and statements by politicians, college professors, aging hippies, the militant activist base, and right on down to middle aged and younger individuals being crass, uncivil, authoritarian, and highly bigoted are all extremely mainstream traits with only a few exceptions.

      4. ” All the progressives I know have good intentions. Of course, that should be utterly unpersuasive to you,….”

        Rest assured that it is. Mainly because – whether you know them or not – there are progs who do not have good intentions.

    1. Make the “minimum basic income” sufficient to live on and you’ll find a lot of people dropping out of the work force. … then the cost of living going up from the labor shortage and taxes to support the system.

    2. The bottom 45% of wage earners already get a pass on paying income taxes. The bottom 20% already qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, effectively giving them a negative tax rate. On sites like Reddit, I frequently hear people calling for a universal basic income for everyone. Using $1000 a month for adults and $300 a month for kids under 18, all it would cost is about $3.2 trillion (with a “T”) each year to finance their pipedream. How would we pay for that?

    3. You already have the right now. Walmart knows that the government will not let people starve to death on the streets. So they pay the lowest wages possible and then they let the federal and state systems pay welfare to their workers. That is the same thing as a negative tax. If you passed a negative tax I would would slash workers wages and let the negative tax make up the difference.

      1. So [Walmart] pay the lowest wages possible

        To the extent that is true, they are paying above the federal minimum wage. Further, their lower salary means people can afford to shop at Walmart. Raising wages across the board won’t magically change the equation. The only way to fix the problem is to come up with a flat wage for all labor and confiscate current wealth. That’s been tried before, and for the most part is being tried in Venezuela. It’s a dumb idea, but at least if you suggested it; you’d be honest.

      2. “Walmart knows that the government will not let people starve to death on the streets. So they pay the lowest wages possible …”

        If we didn’t have 20-30 million illegals taking those jobs (when they are not just slurping up the welfare and sitting around at home) then American Citizens would get those jobs. There would be a labor shortage – not surplus like we have now.

        Do you know what happens to wages when there is a labor shortage?

  6. “It’s almost as though they want to blight the lives of the young and working poor.”

    As that rock song Instapundit frequently quotes, “They want to turn us all into beggars, ’cause beggars are easy to please.”

  7. Sad we all know what the left is trying to accomplish but have no solution to stop it (education not working.)

    BUT WE HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS (so how is the right different from the left? Practically speaking.)

    1. The conservatives are different because we:

      1. Want education to work. Not by using unions, but by letting parents make a choice (vouchers) and states/communities setting up proper educational standards (no common core, ability to weed out trouble-makers, make college school again, not young-adult day care).

      2. Get rid of ILLEGAL workers and let Americans and those here legally work those jobs.

      3. Stop over-taxing American companies so they can afford to pay more to workers (instead to Uncle Sam). Stop the government re-distribution of wealth.

  8. One item that these progressives keep forgetting is that the vast majority of big corporations are publicly held enterprises. This means they have a fiduciary responsibility to their share-holders to keep the value as high as possible. They can’t just ‘dip into their pockets (earnings)’ to give the workers more money.

    They really sad thing is that so many people need these companies to do well as their retirement (in form of mutual funds, stocks, 401k, etc) depend on them and crippling them financially would be tantamount to retirement suicide.

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