The Minimum Wage Explained
Published on: March 5, 2013
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  • Jim.

    Does she explicitly state that to raise the minimum wage is to devalue the dollar against an hour’s unskilled labor?

    Your dollar can’t buy as much as it used to. Simple as that.

  • Peter

    Fellow readers:

    With reference to Dr Romer’s comments, and Mr Garfinkle’s post: “Compared to the redistributional benefits it may bring?” How does a minimum wage redistribute money? If wages are redisribution, then why is there talk about fairness resulting from taxation, which is arguably an instrument in the process of redistribution?

    Redistribution means distributing what has been distributed, and “redistribution” implies a distributor.

    If revenues to a business are an example of distribution, then wages might be called redistribution. But I don’t think anyone has called revenues a form of distribution.

    If revenues are a form of distribution of money to firms, asking for the money back, and distributing it in different amounts to the same firms, or simply handing it back in the same amounts, would constitute redistribution.

    What does the minimum wage have to do with this? Only if firms have a finite amount of wage money to distribute, have already handed it out to employees according to a salary scale, and then take it back and hand it out again according to a new scale, reflecting minimum wages, could this be called redistribution.

  • I take your point, but the quibble exceeds the normal use of language. The minimum wage redistributes capital in such a way that those poorer people who manage to get jobs have more of it than they otherwise would, meaning that everyone else–all else equal–has a tiny tad less. And that’s all it means. The merit of the Romer article, in part, is that it shows how things are never “all else equal.”

  • Mr_Write

    Ms. Romer of course should be commended for putting out reasonable, effective solutions to a problem (minimum wage) created by this irresponsible government, but nothing is ever going to change. No one is going to replace the minimum wage, because supporters of this ridiculous policy will simply call out the mass of low-information voters to protest any reform at all. We are doomed. (Sorry to be so negative, but that’s the facts)

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