In summary, economists are not unconcerned about unskilled workers, we are actually very concerned about those workers. And it is because of that concern to maximize employment opportunities that economists oppose the minimum wage. Simply put, we would rather see unskilled workers employed at a market wage – even if that wage is only $5, $6 an hour – that allows them to gain valuable work experience and on-the-job training, than to be unemployed at $0.00 an hour. And unfortunately, a $15 minimum wage maximizes the probability that an unskilled worker will be unemployed at $0.00 an hour instead of being gainfully employed.
In my latest column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, I note that saying you want something is no evidence that you really do want that something in an economically meaningful way – or in any way that should be taken seriously . A slice:
To truly want something is to be willing personally to incur whatever costs are necessary to acquire that thing. The person who says that he “wants” to learn to play the piano but who hasn’t spent the time necessary to acquire that skill is merely engaged in cheap talk. If he really wanted to learn to play the piano, he would have done what countless other people have done — namely, put in the time and effort to learn to play the piano. The fact that this person hasn’t paid the price of learning to play the piano means that he doesn’t really want to learn that skill.
Looked at another way, the word “want” has two different meanings. By one definition, a person “wants” only those things that he is willing to pay for, and he doesn’t want those things that he’s unwilling to pay for. I would surely have enjoyed drinking that bottle of 1961 Chateau Cheval Blanc for sale at the restaurant, but because I was unwilling to pay the astronomical asking price for it, I informed the waiter that I didn’t want that particular bottle of wine.