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minimum wage watch
Evidence Mounts: Minimum Wage Hikes Cost Jobs

The evidence continues to mount that minimum wage hikes have economic costs: A Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco review paper recently found that minimum wages had “directly reduced the number of jobs nationally by about 100,000 to 200,000.” And now a new survey of recent data by Jed Graham of Investor’s Business Daily (h/t RCP) found that minimum wage hikes seem to have taken a toll on hiring in some of America’s major metropolitan areas:

Hiring at restaurants, hotels and other leisure and hospitality sector venues slowed markedly last year in metro areas that saw big minimum-wage hikes, new Labor Department data show [. . .]

The big shortcoming in the available data for 5 of the 6 cities is that they cover broad metro areas, far beyond the city limits where wage hikes took effect. Still, the uniform result of much slower job growth in the low-wage leisure and hospitality sector, even as the pace of job gains held steady in surrounding areas, sends a pretty powerful signal.

It’s important to remember that most of these hikes are much more modest than the $15 dollar minimum that is now officially part of the Democratic Party platform. A hike of that level is unprecedented in American history, so the real impact on job creation is anyone’s guess.

Even a piece published today at the New Republic stated:

Nonetheless, economists themselves have debated how minimum wages affect employer decisions for many years.

In 1994, economists David Card and Alan Krueger were the first to provide some evidence that such effects may be small. But more recently, a consensus has generally emerged that changes to minimum wages have strong effects on jobs growth.

It may be that minimum wage boosters will ultimately be forced to the argument enunciated by Robert Reich, a sharp thinker and a sometime TAI contributor: Yes, dramatic minimum wage hikes might risk destroying large numbers of jobs, but that is a sacrifice worth making so that all workers can be safely out of poverty without government assistance. But that position still doesn’t fly: Severing low-skilled workers’ connection to the labor market—where they could ideally attain the skills they need to earn a higher-paying job—is cruel, even if it is undertaken with the best of intentions.

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  • Dale Fayda

    Liberal idiocy is a bottomless well.

    Not my quote – someone else on this site posted it recently, but when material works, it just works.

  • CapitalHawk

    Here’s what I don’t understand – if raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour is going to be so great for “the economy” (whoever that guy is) and everyone else, why stop at $15 per hour? Wouldn’t $30 or $100 be even better? I think the Republicans are missing a golden opportunity to (a) get credit for “caring for the little guy” and (b) prove that the liberals economic views on raising the minimum wage are correct (or not). The Republicans should start campaigning on a minimum wage of $30 per hour or more.

    • Diggsc

      You are thinking way too small. I think the minimum wage should be $150,000.00/hr. That way, after just one eight hour shift, a worker would be a millionaire. They could work one or two more days, and then retire. Instead of paying no taxes on a measly $12,000.00/yr job, they’d pay much higher federal income taxes, and we could retire the federal debt in one year. If workers retire after, let’s say, one week on the job, huge numbers of workers would be required, so the unemployment rate would drop significantly, if not completely. I don’t see a single downside to the idea of a minimum wage set at $150,000.00/hr.
      -signed
      The average Bernie Sanders supporter

  • Rick Johnson

    Is Reich really that stupid?

    • Jim__L

      Yes.

      • Andrew Allison

        Unfortunately, he’s not stupid, just an utterly shameless “progressive” partisan.

        • f1b0nacc1

          That is not entirely fair. He IS a partisan, but largely because that is the fastest way to his ideologically determined goal. He is a fanatic, and that is why he is a partisan.

          Mind you, that might be (in my mind, IS) worse…

          • Celsius1939a

            Still, it is stupid to push a view that you know to be wrong. It will come back to bite you sooner or later.

          • Nick

            You forget the evil component. They push this so that the US will day by day be a bit more ready for full communism. Why do you think that commie Bernie is doing so well?

          • f1b0nacc1

            Sadly, I rather doubt that he is convinced that it is wrong. He is captured by his ideology and thus blind. He really believes this drivel.

    • dawnsblood

      I heard the same argument from my instructor in both Macro and Microeconomics last year. I suspect it is a wide spread belief among the left, it just isn’t one they want to make out loud yet.

      • f1b0nacc1

        “You cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs”

        VI Lenin

    • f1b0nacc1

      Actually, he is stupider than that. The particular argument quoted here is one of his *better* ones.

  • Andrew Allison

    Who knew that artificially increasing wages above the market value would reduce employment! I’m beginning to believe that “progressivism” is a religion, i.e., immune to logic and reason.

    • Fred

      I completely agree that “progressivism” is immune to logic and reason, but if you think religion is, or at least necessarily is, might I suggest Augustine, Aquinas, Suarez, or for more recent examples, Feser, Oderberg, Plantinga, and John Paul II (specifically his encyclical Fide et Ratio).

      • Andrew Allison

        I apologize if I gave offence. I was referring to religion in the sense of unshakable belief regardless of evidence to the contrary.

        • Fred

          No worries. I was probably too quick to take offence. With all the gnu atheists infesting the interwebs it’s easy to misconstrue a statement like that.

          • solstice

            This infestation calls for an extermination campaign akin to the Albigensian Crusade to cleanse the interwebs of heretical gnu atheist filth.

          • Fred

            And exactly where did I say any such thing? The fact that they are sometimes exterminated is not the only salient feature of pests. They are also very annoying. That’s the feature I had in mind when I made my comment. But hey, if putting words in my mouth reinforces your false sense of moral and intellectual superiority, knock yourself out.

        • solstice

          There is no need to apologize for stating the truth, Andrew. The only people who are offended by the expression of opposing points of view are those who feel insecure in their own positions.

          • Fred

            Calling someone irrational is not disagreeing with him; it’s insulting him. I’m not the least surprised that you can’t tell the difference.

  • FriendlyGoat

    If restaurants and hotels hired fewer people in any city, it’s because fewer were needed to operate the restaurants and hotels which are sufficient to meet demand in those cities.

    • f1b0nacc1

      You really need to get out more…

      Talk to the folks in those cities (many of them extremely “progressive” complain about how this HURTS their business. Are they all lying?

      • FriendlyGoat

        People who are “extremely progressive” do not defend the ideas of not having a minimum wage, or having it unrealistically low, or only agreeing to raise it—-by 25 cents every few years—-behind the curve. That’s not “progressive”.

        If I recall correctly the descriptions you have made of your own occupation, you are not in a business dependent on poverty-level workers and there is no compelling reason we have to operate restaurants and hotels in that manner either.

        • Dale Fayda

          You want wages to rise organically, without the government sticking its rat claws into it and mucking everything up like it invariably does? Stop flooding the country with the dregs of the Third World and lower the corporate tax rates, so the money stays here instead of sloshing around overseas. There, solved most of the problem for you.

          You’re welcome.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I didn’t ask for wages to rise “organically” (your inventive new code to supposedly justify the regular right-wing call for high-end tax cuts). I am merely differing with this article’s contention that reasonable minimum wages cannot be contemplated for fear of job losses in restaurant/hospitality.

          • Dale Fayda

            No one is “contemplating” anything – this is being IMPOSED by government fiat. I’m sure you know the difference.

            These job losses were predictable and predicted. As the minimum wage increase increments continue to kick in, the losses will mount. Why wouldn’t they?

            Once again, reality kicks liberalism dead in the face and as usual liberals pretend it’s not happening.

            Truly, liberalism is a mental disorder.

        • f1b0nacc1

          I am extremely fortunate to be in a line of work where the marginal value of what I produce is high enough to afford me a comfortable living. With that said, the same cannot be said (however much we might wish it to be otherwise) for those in retail, hospitality, food, etc. A fast food worker probably produces a marginal value of about $5-7/hr, certainly nothing like $15+benefits. That might not make you happy, but it is true. If you price those workers (by fiat, which is essentially what you are proposing) high enough, businesses will find ways to make do with fewer of them, and continue to press for ways to become even more efficient. That will lead to more unemployed, and less opportunity for those individuals who would otherwise have the opportunity to develop work habits and then move up the ladder from there.

          A big part of what I do involves robotics and AI design, and I can tell you that the more expensive you make labor, the more incentive you give businesses (especially those whose biggest expense is labor) to find ways to automate. My firm has a headquarters of 200 people and a worker staff of about 2800. If we were forced to increase their wages by say, 20%, a significant number of them would be displaced by automation, as the capital costs of introducing those systems would be offset by the higher labor costs of not doing so. That automation opportunity gap is shrinking very rapidly, and the idiocy of the left in pushing these foolish initiatives is shrinking it still faster.

          This isn’t a choice between paying fast food workers enough to have middle-class lives and some sort of Dickensian nightmare. Both scenarios are ridiculous. Entry level positions are just that, and workers who cannot generate value will not remain employed for long, no matter how much you may dress it up in the rhetoric of justice of virtue. If you want workers to be better paid, make them more productive and their work more valuable….there is simply no other way.

          I don’t doubt your intentions, but we know where those lead all too often. King Canute would have a wonderful lesson for you, if you would look for the meaning…

          • FriendlyGoat

            I find myself believing that an “unmitigated” contest between supply and demand may be nature’s course in economics, but that it produces skewed notions of what “value” or “value produced” actually is.

            We are all aware of the poverty earnings of people in much of the “global south”, yet are invited to believe that somehow the entertainers, traders, CEO’s and trial lawyers in America have actually “produced values” which are equal to the wealth accumulation they (some of them) receive.

            Without attempting to destroy free enterprise, I believe in “mitigating” the other-wise natural extremes. Some of the ways we have done that successfully is with minimum wages and various aid programs to help the low end and income/estate taxes to trim the high end. The more we hold onto those, the better the society we will have. This does not mean that fast-food workers should be paid the SAME as your company’s average wage for AI work. It probably DOES mean that fast-food workers should be paid as well as tattoo artists. We could argue that fast-food workers are a dime a dozen and good tattoo artists are rare and “in demand”, but that would be one of those skewed notions of what “value” is. Come Sunday, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton will be giving us another opportunity to ponder what “value” is (IF WE BOTHER to take into consideration what taxpayers will be spending on security around the whole super-bowl town)

            Minimum wage does not have to be “to the moon”, but the concept absolutely does need its liberals (like me) arguing its defense at all times. Otherwise, it would disappear into the fog of misplaced ideas which governed all of economic history up to the very recent centuries when we learned to think more rationally about economics.

          • Boritz

            “very recent centurieswhen we learned to think more rationally about economics”

            The genius of communism written up as a manifesto from a very recent century.  It made even Germans hungry in a way they hadn’t been for centuries prior.  So much for our modern enlightened economic thinking.  The recent contributions have been lacking.  Perhaps just over-thought.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m going to guess that you, or your family members, or your friends (as is the case with MOST conservatives, period ) have been in employee status at times your lives as beneficiaries of wages with a minimum floor, federal fair labor standards and an array of benefits. All of those things are products of relatively-recent economic thinking and products of a struggle by labor movements to attain them.

            This constant carping in the tone of your post to me is just nuts.

          • SDN

            Bad guess.

          • FriendlyGoat

            How the heck would you know? You’re not Boritz.

          • f1b0nacc1

            You say you don’t want to destroy free enterprise, but in your next clause you make it clear that you do. Fast food workers don’t make as much as tattoo artists because the latter is a skill that is relatively rare and is much in demand (how regrettable!), while the former requires little or no skill and thus the supply far exceeds the demand. You can sneer at the notion of what ‘value’ is, but that is in fact precisely what it means….demand vs supply, without some self-appointed expert to determine what it is. Command economies fail without exception, and this is precisely why. Who are you (or I, or anyone else, for that matter) to determine what a service is worth? If Cam Newton (I prefer Peyton Manning myself…grin) can convince Jerry Richardson that he is worth $25 million a year, good for him, it is a private transaction among free individuals. Why should this be different for anyone else? You keep talking about fairness as if there is some sort of absolute truth of fairness, when there simply is not. Value is the same…it is what you can convince a free buyer to pay for it…nothing more, nothing less.

            This is vital to understand, as once you argue it is not, you are mandating that someone else (the government?) must make that choice, and that is the road to tyranny. Oh not immediately, but through regulatory capture, graft, etc., it is the way it ends up. Take a look at what happened to Detroit, or much of Europe, or for that matter the old Soviet Union. Sooner or later, control over the economy is revealed to be what it is, control over life by whatever group captures the government….and the economy suffers as a result.

            As for the relative merit of hedge fund traders (are they the villians of the week? do you have someone you hate more?) vs fast food workers at the Super Bowl, when the latter convinces purchases that they need more money, they can charge for it….but if not, they they are SOL. As for the former, if they don’t produce value for those who engage their services, why are they paid? Ah yes! They actually generate wealth through their services….hence they are well-compensated. Want to see what happens to 401Ks and other retirement funds without hedge fund managers?

            As for minimum wages, they are a serious mistake and those at the bottom of the income ladder are paying the price for them. You are watching jobs disappear, which locks real people into unemployment and dependency, and yet you continue to defend this insanity on principle….

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, you have done a good job defining the economic philosophy of modern political conservatism, but you have not caused it to necessarily make real sense or even work well in practice. Assuming you have always lived in the USA, then you and I are both the products and beneficiaries of a “much-mitigated” (per my post above) “free market” in the post-WWII era. You will argue until the cows come home that the various forms of USA governmental mitigation (not the Soviet ones) have made matters worse for people taken as a whole, and I will argue they have made matters better. Nothing new here. It’s where we always end up.

            As for tattoos, you mentioned once that you work with young people.
            Going waaaayyy out on a limb here, I’m going to guess that you have not spent much time arguing to kids that they should “invest” in acquiring personal body art. That’s how I know that the tats are a lesser or more questionable kind of “value” produced in our economy.

            As for Super Bowl 50, I will agree with you to prefer Manning and the Broncos. We both live geographically closer to Denver, the political climate of Colorado is marginally better than that of the Carolina area, and it would be nice to see Peyton go out with a win. Nothing against Cam Newton. He is a phenomenon.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Government intervention typically does make things worse, in the US or elsewhere. There are times that it can be argued that this is in the service of a nobler goal, but that clearly is a value judgement and not a factual argument. Thankfully, I don’t share your values, and believe that it is better to respect individual rights rather than worship at some notion of ‘the common good’, which always seems to be defined by people least likely to be affected by those policies deemed necessary to achieve it. Whether you like it or not, government intervention does tend to grow over time, and as it grows, it becomes more corrupt. This may be a worthwhile risk (if you value the outcomes), but to pretend otherwise offers an amazing ignorance of history.

            On tattoos, I find them revolting, and in the few cases where I am asked, I point out to those with them that unless they are in an environment whether most people share the owner’s tastes, showing them off is a major mistake. Translation: I don’t like them, and when asked, I do suggest that others avoid them as I think that they have negative value. With that said, it isn’t my choice, and the fact that others have differing tastes/values is precisely why markets are necessary. There isn’t any such thing as value absent a market, and while I don’t care for tattoos (an excellent example of this, by the way), others enjoy them and are willing to pay a great deal for them. That is why having some ‘expert’ make decisions is such a very bad idea. Who am I to make the choice for another free human being?

            I dislike Cam Newton intensely, but I respect his talent. My ONLY reason for rooting for Denver is my hope that Peyton Manning (who I have tremendous respect for as a student of the game and a gentleman) will be able to retired on a high note with a victory. Other than that, I don’t have a lot to choose between the two teams, and if forced to choose between the two states, I far prefer the Carolinas (despite the fact that they don’t have real BBQ!)

          • FriendlyGoat

            I guess you’re saying tats are neat “economic development” to be sold to those who—-for whatever reason—-have less sense than yourself.
            The same can be said for the legal products of alcohol, tobacco, casino gambling, state lotteries, consumer fireworks and Halloween garb from China, and perhaps for the illegal categories of opiates, meth, and prostitution. On the seller side, they all have market demand and give sellers something to make and sell. So that renders them “good” for the economy if sufficient numbers of chumps will buy, no?

            The conservatives, as a group, have no problems with “value judgments” which conflict with “factual arguments”. Some (most) of them still think that high-end tax cuts create jobs, for instance. I’ll stick with the “nobler goals” and those who pursue them.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Actually I don’t have any objection to products purchased by free adults, and that includes pretty much the entire list that you presented. Why do you think that I would? I am more of a libertarian than conventional conservative, and while I have no difficulty with selling those products or buying them, I would also have no problem with education and social pressure to dissuade those who consume them from doing so, just so long as the rights of the buyers are not infringed upon.

            Regarding high end tax cuts and jobs, you can dispute it from now until doomsday, but the job creation and innovation record of the US vs Western Europe while tax rates are low speaks for itself. Keep in mind that as tax rates INCREASE, those numbers are depressed, which is precisely what we have been doing over the last 15-20 years. As a side issue, I also believe if large scale deregulation….grin…

            Finally, so you have found a list…well, lets look at the list of countries with robust first amendment rights, or any number of other characteristics….lists mean very little without context…

            On the positive side…looks like Peyton is going out on a good note!

          • JR

            “You are watching jobs disappear, which locks real people into unemployment and dependency, and yet you continue to defend this insanity on principle….”
            People who defend this insanity on principle never have to suffer the unemployment and dependency of the kind they bestow on others. Our progressive elites make damn sure they are suffering as few negative consequences of their policies as possible.

          • JR

            I think you are missing a critical point for a left-winger here. You create a class of over-paid workers who are thankful to you for making them money (there is a number of people who will be employed at $15/hour that they don’t deserve). At the same time, you create a class of lifetime dependents who will vote for whoever promises them more benefits. Two for the price of one. As long as there is some sucker (in this case taxpayers and consumers) to pick up the tab.

    • Anthony

      FG, TAI post avers evidence mounts but evidence to contrary also exists:

      “The United States is currently in the middle of a grand experiment in wages. On January 1, 14 states officially raised their minimum wages…Will raising the minimum wage actually kill jobs? That the argument among opponents of wage increases, who assert that an artificial floor will squeeze out more low-income workers than it helps.” Restaurant workers are particularly susceptible due to their status according to that argument. However, expressed anxiety may be little more than political blustering given research of Have Minimum Wage Hurt the Restaurant Industry?

      “How to explain this discrepancy? Lynn and Boone (authors of Cornell University report/research) write that there’s evidence the negative effects of wage hikes are an artifact of chance coupled with publication bias against positive effects or are confounded by regional differences in economic and political variables that are unlikely to be affected by the minimum wage – labor economists see the post-hike employment fluctuations as an econometric certainty; for Lynn and Boone, it’s exigencies and political obstinacy.”

      The report illuminates your case (evidences no negative effect): http://www.psmag.com/business-economics/a-case-for-raising-the-minimum-wage

      • FriendlyGoat

        Thanks. It’s good to see researchers confirming what so many of us actually suspect. And yet, a great deal of counter-sentiment resides in the mind-sets of those like f1b0nacc1 and Dale Fayda below.

        • Anthony

          A pleasure. But as CEPR (center for economic and policy research) implies, factors of regional differences as well as economic and political views may color interpretations sans complete data.

      • LA_Bob

        The take-home message from the article is, It’s complicated. And I think that’s right.

        It occurs to me that the demand for restaurant food may be less price-elastic than opponents of minimum wage assume. Enough consumers might be willing to suck up any price hikes that overall employment is not noticeably affected. If so, this means the minimum wage debate probably should be conducted in a broader context of what wage levels are sustainable and why.

        The study cited in the article also was based on “past minimum wage hikes”. The current drive to $15 / hour is far more ambitious than what has been pushed in the past.

        I still believe a mandated minimum wage is a distortion of the market with the potential for many unknown and unintended consequences. One sad reality is that it probably cannot be “rolled back” if it is reasonably found to be detrimental (it’s politically difficult to reduce most government benefits). You might argue that the benefit should never be rolled back. If so, it might take a long time for inflation to restore the economic environment that supported the current employment levels in the first place. What do you do with the displaced workers in the meantime?

        • Anthony

          Quite simply as Lynn and Boone infer, policy may play differently in some political, economic, and social systems – e.g., nuanced and complicated as you suggest.

          Still, the long and short is that compared to past experiments on the federal level this state level wage tinkering may yet provide a better appreciation of the macroeconomic impact of a higher minimum wage going forward.

    • Andrew Allison

      You’re right of course. The question is whether the reduced demand for service industry labor is due to companies going out of business because they can’t afford to pay the minimum wage and/or getting rid of excess labor by making those remaining earn their higher wages, or to reduced demand due to the fact that real wages and workforce participation are at levels last seen 40 years ago.

      • FriendlyGoat

        I’m inclined to think that if demand for restaurant and hospitality is going down, it is mostly because of the last factor you mentioned. We do have to understand, though, that there are both high-end and low-end consumers in that sector. It’s very hard for me to imagine that paying the maids a little better ruins the hotel business in a convention city. It’s very hard for me to imagine that paying the fast-food workers better ruins the demand for the better menu items at even McDonald’s and Wendy’s if they end up raising the prices somewhat to cover the increased pay—-because the prices are already quite high for much of the menu ($6, $7 and even $8 “combo” meals, remarkably enough) and people pay them anyway.

        I CAN imagine that if the fast food places double the prices of the “dollar menu” to two dollars that they will lose some previous customers, but most of the food business does not exist to sell $1 burgers (even though they all are obliged to have a few of such items).

        • SDN

          Or they’ll just replace as many people as possible with robots, since the cost to automate has been driven below the cost of employing people.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Fine. Go for it.

      • Jim__L

        Or restaurants will change their business model from something like Coco’s to something like Chipotle’s, to cut down on the number of people they need to hire. And the ones that don’t change will go out of business, no matter how many people are “needed” to meet demand.

    • CosmotKat

      If the minimum wage is raised and the demand for labor decreases it means the restaurants and hotels will demand more productivity from a smaller staff or reduce services.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Under the “law of ever-increasing (or at least never’diminishing) return on capital”, perhaps you are right. The laborers always have to ask whether that is a real “law” or not. The idea that fancy can go to fancier, that reasonable profits can go to bigger profits, and minimum wage must seldom change is really a questionable “law”.

        • CosmotKat

          Never heard of the “law of ever-increasing return on capital”, but there are other economic laws I understand. I suspect what your comment boils down to is people over profits. Do I have that right? The idea behind the minimum wage law at it’s inception was discrimination.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The “”law of ever-increasing (or at least never-diminishing) return on capital” is the one in operation in the minds of those who insist that corporations MUST and WILL continue to make as much or more in profit as they ever have at any time in the past. It is often cited (unknowingly) as the reason why corporations will do something awful to all people if either wages or taxes they pay are forced upward. I think the law everyone cites but no one can name—-needs a name.
            So I just gave it one.

          • CosmotKat

            Like I said earlier your ideology is people over profits which is pretty much doctrinaire socialism, no?

          • FriendlyGoat

            I prefer to think of it as “people over incorporated entities”. Once upon a time, as you know, we had employees loyal to their companies (who then were making sufficient profits)—-AND—-companies loyal to their employees (who then enjoyed more security and benefits at work than they do now).

            So when that mutual loyalty is broken, what are people to do?
            Worship the companies while ignoring the plight of themselves and their families?

          • CosmotKat

            Goat, your view on this subject appears quite narrow and you seem to be evoking the fashionable socialist dogma that pits employee against corporate (or labor vs. capital) and altruism against profit. Private companies are in business to earn money for their owners while employing the non-risk takers to work for them at an agreed wage. How is that problematic?
            I agree there does seem to be a new dynamic at work where loyalty to company and company to employee has diminished, but that dynamic works both ways. More employees (most specifically those in the white collar professions) get their resumes built up early with one employer and when the time is right they jump ship to greener pastures. There is a huge cost for the employer who, if he wishes to replace that employee, incurs great cost to retrain and the loss of that resource to a competitor may adversely affect their competitive position in thier market. There is evidence there is more job hopping today than in the past. I also agree that employers are often quick to placate their investors by jettisoning workers when the chips are down with an eye toward protecting share price which often times translate into huge bonuses for highly compensated upper management. Investors are risk takers too and every corporate leader must protect his investors. Employees do not share the risk in most cases, but often demand a larger share of profits in the form of increased wages and benefits. Private sector Unions are a prime example of the increasing demand for larger share of corporate profits creates less demand for their services at the cost they demand.
            There is a real downside to the compensation packages that emerged in the 80’s and 90’s where compensation has been tied to stock awards and share price and corporate CEO’s have lost site of the value of longer term vision by managing stock prices for short term goals and awards creating an unhealthy business environment especially when viewed from the employee/employer pay ratio. However, “unfair” this all seems and the clamor and hate toward these huge pay days no one complains about celebrity athletes and highly compensated actors and studio heads. I never hear anyone agitating over a $20M dollar pay day for an actor in a film that tanks at the box office or the athlete that gets a $200M contract then performs horribly. Where’s the outrage?
            I am a victim of being downsized at an age and time when finding a decent new job was difficult. I earn less than half of my previous income and struggle, but I do not wish for a system that is built upon legislating the winners and losers which is the fundamental ideology of the current white house regime and the ideology peddled as “fairness” when it really is nothing of the sort. There is an ideological chasm that is growing and competing rigid ideologies only exacerbate the gulf between the two IMHO.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I, for one, am outraged at the amount of money flowing to entertainers, including sports, as well as to trial lawyers, CEO’s and various kinds of financial traders (those who mostly just trade.) Everyone is paying for this upward flow of money that is not really justified for any particularly good reason other than—-hey, look, they got away with it.

            Much of your post above, including your personal story, makes the case for “my side’s” approach (which some consider more socialistic than “your side’s” approach—–when all I really want is for decent people to not be cast aside in the economy). I really don’t understand why you’re so stuck on political conservatism when its low and lower taxation actually encourages the “downsizing” you endured. By your own account, it mistreated you at an older age in the workplace. Who or what in the world are you defending other than some crazy need to “identify” with a political tribe? Fox News does not care about you. Neither do the churches falling over themselves to elect Republicanism. Neither does talk radio. Neither does Sarah Palin. Neither does the RNC. Neither does Donald Trump. Neither does Ted Cruz. Neither do Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito and Kennedy. As far as I’m concerned, too many individual conservatives just don’t get that they are Charlie Brown, and Lucy (the “right wing” of politics) just NEVER stops pulling the football away from you.

          • CosmotKat

            I feel sad for you goat. As I said earlier your world view is narrow and rigid. You are incapable of viewing the world beyond your ideological blinders. You demonstrate class envy, resentment and hate which is the heart of who you are. You have misunderstood the personal story and wove it into a partisan ideological rant which missed the point by a country mile. Your rebuttal was the classic progressive two-faced political argument. I keep telling you that, but intellectually it is beyond your grasp.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Don’t cry for me CosmoKat. I’m not unhappy. I wish that the conservative tribe you want to hang out with actually gave a hoot about you and the entire universe of working people.

            I didn’t misunderstand your personal story. You were “downsized” by your own account at an advanced age when you should have been retained for your greater experience and celebrated for your long service. You think it’s okey-dokey when that happens to anyone else, as well. AND, you love your captors so much that you want to give them a GIFT of big tax cuts for cutting your earnings in half.

            Here’s the deal. Either you are not telling me the truth or you’re nuts.

  • ljgude

    I think Dale Fayda’s comment points out the elephant in the labor market – it is heavily diluted by aliens legal and illegal. I don’t think you can anymore have a free market in labor with willful importing of labor to keep wages down with H1 B visas and open borders than you can if the government intervenes and mandates a minimum wage. The minimum wage is is just one of the tools FDR’s used to create the Blue Model. As WRM has discussed many times the Blue Model is no longer working very well and tweaking a single variable like the minimum wage is unlikely to help. I agree with those commenters here who say it will mean less people hired and accelerate automation. More effective would be to do what FDR did and mandate a shorter work week, draconian overtime laws and then a minimum wage. But that is just trying to bring back the Blue Model whole rather than piecemeal. The only part of that which has any chance of working is the shorter work week but that isn’t going get people a living wage. In my opinion the artificial oversupply of labor has to be faced first to give the market a chance to operate.

    • Jim__L

      A shorter workweek, plus triple time for overtime — not a bad idea, although that assumes that you have one person / one fulltime job arrangements, instead of one person, multiple part-time job arrangements.

  • jacknine

    So raising the price of a service reduces demand? Wish someone had thought of that concept sooner.

  • m a

    The real minimum wage is zero.

  • emersonushc13

    As part of the larger Cloward-Piven strategy the more people out of work the more “free” benefits need to be shoveled to the permanent unemployed class who will vote “D” in exchange for more benefits.

  • JimB

    Let’s see…we’ll set the minimum wage at $15 or so, then let in millions of illegals without skills to compete for the jobs. Yep, that’ll work.

    • YouPoorVictim

      “.we’ll set the minimum wage at $15 or so, then let in millions of illegals without skills to compete for the jobs”

      You’d prefer a lower minimum wage and less private control over hiring? I don’t get it.

  • http://whenfallsthecoliseum.com/author/kwatson/ megapotamus

    $15? Why not $20? Why not $40? Why not $400? Hey, that’s what fancy lawyers make. Are you telling me some amoral mouthpiece for RJ Reynolds is worth more than a guy dropping chicken into hot grease? I refuse to believe it.

  • wolfie773

    The minimum wage fallacy is easily testable. Go down to your local Home Depot and see what the day laborers are willing to work for. I guarantee it’s well over the minimum wage. That is a small micro labor market unto itself. Their day’s wages will be set according to a mutual agreement between you and them; there is no government mandate that needs to be in place to set that wage level.

    The minimum wage fight is set forth by those who want the value of their labor to be greater than it actually is and the politicians who use them for votes. It’s a perversion of the labor marketplace.

    • CosmotKat

      Labor unions agitate for a higher minimum wage since their contracts are designed to be automatically raised whenever the minimum wage is raised. They have a vested interest in the outcome so their support is hardly altruistic.

      • wolfie773

        They exist to sustain themselves over any other purpose

  • CosmotKat

    “Yes, dramatic minimum wage hikes might risk destroying large numbers of jobs, but that is a sacrifice worth making so that all workers can be safely out of poverty without government assistance.”
    In this comment therein lies the left’s ignorance and it taints Reich’s credibility, if he ever had any. One should ask those who are to be the sacrifice for the so-called greater good if that sacrifice is worth it. After all the large number sacrificed will likely fall back onto government assistance. Minimum wage policy has always been discrimination by another name.

    • LA_Bob

      Am I the only one who find’s Reich’s statement unbelievably contradictory?

      “wage hikes might risk destroying large numbers of jobs” but this sacrifice is so that “all workers can be safely out of poverty”.

      Huh? I suppose it might help workers to remain safely out of poverty, but the non-workers (read unemployed), whose jobs were destroyed in large numbers? Well, they’re safely out of jobs, aren’t they?

  • feastfirst

    Democrats have invented this mythical creature who works full time, at minimum wage, to support his family, on one income, without any government assistance and without hope for improvement.

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