Numerous studies have “shown” that minimum wage laws don’t hurt people who want jobs. Minnesota Public Radio has a good summary of the pros and cons. They start with an argument against by using the new minimum wage in Washington state: $9.04 per hour! Yikes!
The piece goes on in the standard way, ending with a strong argument in favor. Clever. For those listening and just perking up to what the topic is, this is the message they are left with: minimum wages hardly hurt anybody, what’s the big deal, those getting the increase like it.
Last summer, though, from CBS of all places, an article appeared on teenage unemployment, which was a staggering 24 percent! According to their research, eleven years ago the rate was just over 12 percent. Nothing to do with minimum wage though, right?
In California in the summer of 2011, the jobless rate was 34 percent. The people looking for work really needed the money, but few jobs were available. The most hopeful note in the story reported by Bill Whitaker was about a senior in high school who had designed toys and sold them. The young entrepreneur had already earned $1,000.
But perhaps a better question to ask is: is this the proper role of government? Drilling down into the minutiae of business operations to make laws about what employees should be paid? We think not.
Investment lesson: programs purporting to help “the poor” don’t. You can only count on yourself to get ahead. Everything else is just luck.