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A Note On Minimum-Wage Justifications

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Whenever I encounter anyone – especially an economist – who explains that the minimum wage is actually good for low-skilled workers (because it corrects for monopsony power, or whatever), I have the same reaction that I have whenever I read of white antebellum southerners in the U.S. who explained that slavery is actually good for blacks (because it protects them from the vagaries of freedom, or whatever).  Of course it’s always possible to concoct far-fetched reasons for why government compulsion that limits one’s employment options is good for those whose employment options are thereby limited, but such concoctions smack of clever reaching to justify a favored policy of coercion rather than of any genuine intellectual effort to understand the actual and full consequences of the policy.

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