Minimum-Wage Malarky

by Don Boudreaux on November 24, 2004

in Myths and Fallacies

This letter in today’s Wall Street Journal is a beautiful specimen of ugly economic thinking.

The belief expressed by Domino’s Pizza chairman and chief executive, David Brandon, that the minimum wage shouldn’t be raised is just incredible ("In the Lead: What Top Executives Would Tell Bush if They Visited the Oval Office," Nov. 16). The minimum wage hasn’t been changed since 1997. I wonder if Mr. Brandon’s total compensation package has remained unchanged since then?

Bob Estlin

Wages are set by markets. The so-called minimum wage is an arbitrary, government-enforced floor on wages. Mr. Estlin is mistaken to suppose that the wages of some class of workers are set by minimum-wage legislation – and, hence, that these workers’ wages rise only when the legislated minimum-wage is increased.

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