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As noted previously, this newsletter has expanded its focus. In addition to issues related to the environment, we will now also include discussions of topics related to economics. As in the past, the newsletter will discuss relevant analysis done by the JLF and other think tanks as well as items in the news.

1. The history of minimum wage hikes and their impact on teenage employment

Several weeks back, this newsletter laid out the economic argument against raising the minimum wage. Indeed, it is an economic argument against having a government mandated minimum wage at all. What was pointed out is that the minimum wage prices those who are the least skilled in the workforce out of the labor market, i.e., it causes them to be unemployed. These tend to be teenagers, i.e. lower skilled workers who are not going to college and may have dropped out of high school.

The data depicted in the graph below was assembled by Kevin Erdmann and posted on the Idiosyncratic Whisk blog.  It shows the change in employment for 16 to 19 year olds over a 60 year period (the blue line). The black lines show the trend in teenage employment previous to minimum wage increases and the red line shows the trend immediately before and after increases in the minimum wage. With each increase in the minimum wage there is either a decrease in the slope of the trend or an outright change from positive to negative growth. This is exactly what would be predicted by economic theory.

2. The second coldest winter for the US in 35 years.

From Dr. Roy Spencer’s blog:

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