In this column, economist Thomas Sowell explains why the minimum wage — having such a law at all, much less raising it to “living wage” levels as many activists now demand — is a bad idea. It keeps many low-skill people out of the labor market and that leads to very serious problems.

Sowell addresses the reason why unions constantly push for a higher minimum wage, namely that it reduces competition from low-skill workers for higher-paid union members. To that, I would add that minimum wage advocacy also helps to maintain the false notion that unions (like other special interest groups) are concerned about “the little guy.” They aren’t, but they want people to believe that they are.