Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Great article by David Kendall on minimum wage

Link here

This article is from 2007, but it's just as relevant today:

You should read the whole thing, but here are excerpts:
In 1964 I turned 15 and landed my first real summer job washing dishes in a restaurant. Somehow, I got the job over several others who also wanted it. My first wage was 80¢ an hour—45¢ below the $1.25 federal minimum wage that year. 
It might take an army of lawyers to figure out whether my employer was breaking federal law by not paying me minimum wage. But legal or not, I was thrilled to work for 80¢ an hour. That summer I learned a lot about holding a job, personal responsibility, and forgoing summer fun with my friends. I even got a raise to 90¢ an hour after the first month. More important, I earned about $385 over the summer, an enormous sum for me at the time.

Who gains and who loses if Congress raises the minimum wage to $7.25 and hour?  Supporters in Congress clearly gain by doing what appears to be a highly visible “good.”  Some voters like the idea of guaranteeing higher incomes to low income earners.  But the good comes at the expense of others in the labor force who earn even lower incomes.  The losers are generally willing, hardworking people with the poorest educations, the lowest skill levels, and the least ability to help themselves.  Fortunately for Congress, the harm done is evidently out of sight to most Americans. Better still for Congress, the losers don’t make campaign contributions, and many of them seldom vote. 

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