They Will Never Stop Trying to Ruin America

Richard Epstein

The Hoover Institution is out with more nonsense. If there's an organization out there that is more dedicated to the economic ruin of America, it would have to be the Republican Party.

This is what it looks like when they're barely even trying to make the case that anything that improves the lives of poor Americans is a bad idea:

Richard Epstein:

A recent New York Times editorial “Labor, Then and Nowunwisely uses the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington to renew its plea for a whole host of restrictions on the labor market, including adopting a $15-per-hour minimum wage, which would be an increase from the so-called “miserly” $7.25-per-hour minimum wage of today—a figure that is lower in real terms than $1.15 minimum wage in effect when the march took place. 

Similarly, New York Democratic mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio has made enormous headway in his current mayoral bid, clearly eclipsing the stolid Christine Quinn, with his unabashed call for a “progressive agenda” that includes a sharp rise in the minimum wage. De Blasio will try to survive on a minimum wage to show how insufficient it is.  

What is characteristic about these and other similar attempts is how little effort they make to understand anything about the underlying principle. For example, de Blasio’s stunt makes it appear that the test of a good minimum wage law is whether people can live on that salary. In so doing, he ignores all the non-pecuniary benefits that a job can give people: exposure to business, professional skills, networking, and the like. College seniors are eagerly seeking unpaid internships to gain experience in the work force. Why deny that opportunity to those from less privileged backgrounds who must contend with unemployment rates of 41.6 percent in the case of black teenagers aged 16 to 19?

If Richard Epstein paid attention to anything outside of the libertarian realm, and if he cared about those poor black teenagers, he'd be a firm advocate for raising the minimum wage. Raising it doesn't cause unemployment, and we've known this for years:

Opponents of the policy [raising the minimum wage] have often raised the potential disemployment effects, but this analysis shows that minimum wage increases do not price low-wage workers out of the labor market. The employment effects, while negative in some models, never reach anywhere near the level where the benefits to low-wage workers would be outweighed by their costs in terms of job losses. These findings, especially when taking into consideration the characteristics and incomes of minimum wage workers and their families, provide convincing evidence that the policy is effective in raising the earnings of low-wage workers, most of whom (though not all) reside in below-average income households. 

The minimum wage in this country should be about $15 an hour, if not more. That would relieve a great deal of the stress on state and local governments and it would push the costs for social services currently being carried by taxpayers onto companies that are reaping massive profits while paying little, if any, taxes.

If you are dedicated to the economic destruction of America, keep following the progress of Mr. Epstein and the libertarians and the Republicans among us. They are winning every argument because hating people and ignoring the facts are far too popular right now in our know-nothing, do nothing, learn nothing culture.

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