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Seems Cruel

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Here’s a letter that I sent yesterday to the New York Times:

Pleading for government to address today’s unemployment problem more vigorously, Paul Krugman writes that “The long-term unemployed can lose their skills, and even when the economy recovers they tend to have difficulty finding a job, because they’re regarded as poor risks by potential employers” (“The Jobs Imperative [2],” Nov. 30).

I’m confused.  Because Mr. Krugman here seems to understand that low-skilled workers produce less value per hour for their employers than do higher-skilled workers (or than does capital equipment that substitutes for low-skilled workers) – and because he recognizes that employers can get by profitably without hiring low-skilled workers – why does he, in other columns, support a higher minimum-wage?

Why does Mr. Krugman advocate policies that raise employers’ costs of hiring workers who, as he himself describes them, are “regarded as poor risks by potential employers”?

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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