Friday, February 15, 2013

The Minimum Wage

Apologies for not posting for so long. Also, this is going to be one of the shortest posts I think I have written. I occasionally browse the Mises institute, although I am not an Austrian economist (they have some good points, but others are more questionable). This time round, I stumbled on an article on the minimum wage. This key passage was of particular interest:

The advocates of the minimum wage and its periodic boosting reply that all this is scare talk and that minimum wage rates do not and never have caused any unemployment. The proper riposte is to raise them one better; all right, if the minimum wage is such a wonderful anti-poverty measure, and can have no unemployment-raising effects, why are you such pikers? Why you are helping the working poor by such piddling amounts? Why stop at $4.55 an hour? Why not $10 an hour? $100? $1,000?
The logic appears to be simple and very clear. The 'piddling' amounts is because higher amounts would cause unemployment, and the advocates know it! I do not favour the minimum wage as I have always considered it a misguided tool (I will not go into all my reasons now). However, this single passage seems so simple and logical, it is difficult to argue with. Rarely in economics is there such a simple, concise and clearly expressed argument. Does anyone have a counter-argument to this simple logic, as I would be fascinated to hear it?  Maybe this is too simple?