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Well, If THAT’S Its Only Ill Effect….

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

In his superb article “’Secular Stagnation’ and the Cheap Burger” (Jan. 24), Holman Jenkins quotes New Yorker columnist John Cassidy’s curious defense of minimum-wage legislation – namely, Cassidy’s observation that the negative impact of such legislation is “usually confined to teenagers and unskilled workers.”

Well duh.  Is Cassidy unaware that the core of the case against the minimum wage is precisely that it prices out of jobs many teenagers and other unskilled workers?  Of course the minimum wage negatively affects only workers so unskilled that they cannot produce enough value to justify their being employed at wages as high as the government-mandated minimum.  No opponent of the minimum wage has ever argued otherwise.

Mr. Cassidy’s defense of the minimum wage on this ground makes no more sense and has no more moral merit than would have a defense, one hundred years ago, of Jim Crow legislation on the ground that the negative impact of Jim Crow is usually confined to ex-slaves and other blacks.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030


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