Earlier in the campaign Ben Carson was favorably disposed toward the minimum wage. He now is much less favorably disposed. Unlike many political flip-flops, I believe that Dr. Carson’s change of mind is genuine (and it is certainly welcome). I believe that his change of mind is genuine because, first, the minimum wage is very popular, even among Republicans. (“Raising the minimum wage improves the well-being of poor workers” is one of the many myths that have long been commonly held by the economically uninformed man-in-the-street. And it still is commonly held.)
Second, one of Dr. Carson’s economic advisors is my colleague Tom Rustici. Tom, in addition to being a man of principle, is also one of the finest economics educators working today. It is quite understandable and forgivable that Dr. Carson – who had no reason as a physician to ponder carefully the economics of the minimum wage – once shared the man-in-the-street’s ignorance of the minimum-wage’s ill-effects on low-skilled workers. And it is applause-worthy and encouraging that Dr. Carson, no doubt having learned some economics from Tom Rustici, now sees the ravages that minimum-wage legislation inflicts on the poorest of poor workers. Good for him!