For the incoming Congress, one of the first orders of business will be rewarding hardworking American patriots with an increase in the minimum wage
, currently set at $5.15 an hour (and last changed 10 years ago). Opponents have
used "labor demand curves" to argue that an increase would reduce the number of jobs, and brave economists who deviate from this politically correct line are threatened with "re-education"
from radical campus rightists. However, different studies find conflicting evidence on this point. It is time to move beyond such details and go forward on a new front: a Preventative War on Poverty.
But let's suppose the anti-patriot argument is correct, and the total number of jobs falls. The remaining workers would still be earning a higher wage than they were previously. Some of the lost jobs might be in households where both spouses held minimum wage jobs. True, the household might now only have one worker, but the non-working spouse can help keep down other costs, such as childcare and transport. Consider that a minimum wage job translates into a salary of $10,000 a year, and is liable for social security taxes paid into a system that family-haters on the right
want to abolish anyway. Who would not prefer an alternative of fewer but better jobs, with more childcare provided in the home to nurture a new generation of great American families?
--Dr. Frank Galton, D.Phil, Resident Scholar
Labels: family, minimum wage, poverty