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So What If Some Black Teens Suffer? Many White Teens’ Wages Will Rise!

Posted By Don Boudreaux On March 3, 2014 @ 10:48 am In Seen and Unseen,Work | Comments Disabled

Hypothetical Scenario: Suppose the government grants to everyone who is at least as tall as 5 feet the privilege of stealing the property of all adults who stand shorter than 5 feet.  Because the percentage of adults today who are shorter than 5 feet is very small, the number of people who would benefit from this government policy would greatly exceed the number of people who are harmed.

“Of course some people suffer,” concede supporters of the “Your Property Is Protected Only If You Reach Some Minimum Height” statute, “but these unfortunate losses are outweighed by the great and humane benefits that our policy bestows upon the larger number of people whose annual incomes are raised by this well-meaning legislation.”

….

So here’s another question for supporters of minimum-wage legislation, and especially to those many supporters who justify this legislation on the grounds that the income gains to those workers whose wages rise as a result of a hike in the minimum wage justify the resulting forced imposition of losses – namely, long-term unemployment at annual incomes of $0 – on those workers who lose jobs because of the higher minimum wage: Do you support the statute described in the above Hypothetical Scenario?  If not, why not?  Or – if you would oppose a policy such as that in the Hypothetical Scenario, why do you continue to support minimum-wage legislation?

Note that I’ve made matters a bit easier for you in the Hypothetical scenario by granting your presumption that the number, or percentage, of people who gain from the policy is greater than the number, or percentage, of people who lose as a result of the policy.

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