The Cruelty of the $15 Minimum Wage

Reason posted this over the weekend. It’s a good review of why the $15 minimum wage, which Clinton has now embraced, is insanity.

Boudreaux gets into an aspect of the wage hike I didn’t: that he thinks the gradual increase is designed to conceal the effects. If the economy does well for other reasons, the Democrats will then claim the $15 minimum wage is having no effect on jobs.

Here’s the thing: the Democrats are claiming, based on a grand total of one study that doesn’t say what they think it says, that we can raise the minimum wage without increasing unemployment. Let’s pretend that this point is up for debate and that we are, in effect, engaging in a massive gamble on the laws of economics. What is the downside risk if they’re wrong?

As I noted in my last post, long-term unemployment is one of the most damaging things that can happen to someone. It can repress earnings for a lifetime, it can affect health and happiness and, as we’ve seen in Europe, masses of unemployed young men can become a hotbed of crime and extremism. That’s the risk if they’re wrong.

The Democrats are gambling the futures of millions of people on this will-o-the-wisp idea that the Law of Supply and Demand is magically suspend for labor because … well, because the unions want it to be. If they’ve gambled wrong, they won’t be paying the price. Millions of poor people and minorities will. If the $15 wage causes mass unemployment, the effects will last for generations. It may not be reparable in our lifetime.

I’m glad the Democrats have a few pet economists who will tell them this is a low-risk bet. But it’s yet another illustration of how the Democrats “help” people by holding their heads underwater. I have no doubt that they think they are being compassionate. But gambling someone’s life on crackpot economic ideas is not compassion.

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  1. AlexInCT

    Believing they want that $15 minimum wage to fix¬†anything is where things go wrong. The people that want this are only fixing something in the sense that crooked people rig something to favor them financially or otherwise. Oh sure, they devote an inordinately large amount of time trying to convince you their intentions are noble, but that’s just them taking advantage of the naivete of the mediocre masses.

    Whenever you hear some scumbag tell you they want something to fix something they feel is wrong or unjust, look for the angle where they will be gaining something for the real reason they want what they want. The entire war on poverty – a conflict the left will make sure is never won – is basically a sham for them to corrupt the system in their favor. More wrong and evil has been done under the pretense of trying to fix inequality than in the name of any other cause. Over 100 million people were killed for opposing these people, and more than half of this planet’s populations have lived, live, or are heading for a future where they will live in the worst conditions imaginable because of these SJW types.

    Life is unfair, but beware the people that tell you they want or can fix that. They will cause far more harm than whatever they are supposedly trying to fix, and history backs that up with ugly facts. The saying “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” exists because of these types.

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