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Minimum Fail

By Jesse Taylor
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 15:33 EDT
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Why, if you’re looking at the current state of the economy, might you think that teenage employment, heavily focused in the retail and restaurant sectors, was down this summer? You’d probably think that it had something to do with the economic recession, coupled with the insanely high gas costs and rising commodity costs for many such businesses. You’d probably think this because you paid more than two fucking seconds of attention to the news without sticking your fingers in your ears and focusing really intently on the new HDTV you were going to buy to watch John McCain’s victory speech on November 4th.

If you’re Ed Morrissey (I’m really sorry), it’s because of the minimum wage. Yes, the minimum wage. And here, friends, is why:

We’ve repeatedly debated this issue at Hot Air and at Captain’s Quarters for years. The unemployment spike this summer among teenagers should have confirmed this. Most of the working poor make more than minimum wage, and for good reason: minimum wage positions are starter jobs. Even those positions only pay that rate at hire, not permanently, making the “they deserve a raise” argument ludicrous.

Unless, of course, like many low-paying jobs, you’re paid X dollars (or, more likely, X cents) over minimum wage, thereby ensuring that any rise in the minimum wage raises your salary. Having worked multiple minimum wage jobs over the years, I can not only confirm that this is true, but that it’s also greatly appreciated – and usually resulted in that raise simply buying more things and thereby helping the economy.

The entire point of the post is to promote a new book declaring that minimum wage increases decrease employment opportunities for poor people. If you notice, Morrissey then spends the entire post pointing out that the minimum wage doesn’t decrease employment opportunities for poor people, which is kind of like arguing that waiting for marriage is key, and you’ll hang out naked in bed with your significant other to prove it.

Commenter crr6 truly gets it:

Most of the people making minimum wage aren’t poor anyway — they’re students and part-time workers who have to watch as opportunities to make extra money get narrowed by government-imposed rate increases.

I’d like to see statistics to back this up. Still, the point of the book is well taken. I’ve never understood why Democrats consistently support minimum wage increases, especially because it is their constituents the (minorities, working poor) who are disproportionately hurt.

“I know the one thing I’m saying completely contradicts the other thing I’m saying, but I’m trying to hate gays over this shrimp cocktail and really having some issues, m’kay?”

Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
 
 
 
 
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