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“Here, Bear this Extra Burden, You Low-Skilled Worker. It Will Help You!”

Posted By Don Boudreaux On July 26, 2009 @ 7:45 am In Myths and Fallacies,Reality Is Not Optional,Regulation,Seen and Unseen,Work | Comments Disabled

Plenty of politicians, pundits, and preachers [1] are applauding today's hike in the national minimum-wage from $6.55 per hour to $7.25 per hour.  Too few pause to ponder the fact that this hike means that Uncle Sam has arbitrarily raised the hourly cost of employing low-skilled workers by 10.7 percent — a policy move always unwise, but especially regrettable when unemployment is rising.

Each semester I ask my
principles-of-economics students if they think that I would rejoice if
Uncle Sam passed a minimum-salary statute for economists, mandating
that every economist employed be paid at least $300,000 annually.  (I would, of course, very much love to earn this much money annually by teaching economics.)  I then
explain that my more talented and accomplished colleagues, such as
Tyler Cowen and Walter Williams, would surely
benefit from such a mandate.  I, in contrast, would lose my job.

……

For those of you who will accuse me of being a benighted ideologue on this topic, I refer you to this post from June 2006 [2].

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[1] and preachers: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.minimum24jul24,0,413072.story

[2] this post from June 2006: http://cafehayek.com/2006/06/ideology_and_th.html

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