Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Say No to a Minimum Wage

I have a new journo who I like - Tim Worstall of the Technology, Commerce and Society or TCS Daily. His latest offering, Spinimum Wage is a fascinating critique of the much-hyped letter from economists demanding an increase in the federal minimum-wage. He points to studies suggesting that the minimum wage is a relatively inefficient instrument to alleviate poverty, when compared with other federal programs. The reason: very few of those in poverty actually work full-time. Those few who do would move out of poverty with a minimum wage hike, but they would lose federal benefits such as Medicare. The net result: zilch! But no, actually negative, because the elevated costs would cause a reduction in the number of jobs available.

Liberals love to crone about how great Europe is, and how the US needs to be more like them, never mind the economic prosperity and low unemployment rates enjoyed by those of us on the right side of the ocean. In another piece here, Worstall points to data from the liberal Economic Policy Institute to show that for all the cries of how bad the poor in America are, the poor in America perform comparably to those in Europe. True, the disparity is greater, because the rich in America do so much better, but switching to a repressive regulatory regime like Germany would not improve the lot of the poor in the US, only serve to make the rest of the country see their standard of living to come down. Oh, and take this:
Wouldn't it be interesting if we were urged to adopt some other Swedish policies? Abolish inheritance tax (Sweden doesn't have one), have a pure voucher scheme to pay for the education system (as Sweden does), do not have a national minimum wage (as Sweden does not) and most certainly do not run the health system as a national monolith (as Sweden again does not). But then those policies don't accord with the liberal and progressive ideas in the USA so perhaps their being glossed over is understandable, eh?

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