by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor, John Locke Foundation
Forgive the framing of the question. I’ve borrowed it from the chest-thumping rhetoric used by those seeking a massive hike in the minimum wage.
The minimum wage has well known negative effects; in fact, its negative impacts on the poor and low-skilled are among the things about which economists are in greatest agreement with each other.
Milton Friedman called it the “most anti-black law on the books of this land“:
The people who have been hurt most by the minimum wage laws are the blacks. I have often said that the most anti-black law on the books of this land is the minimum wage law.
But oh how the media and the ‘morality’ scolds push for a hike — loudly, angrily, full of self-righteous fury against their opponents.
It reminds me of Carl Sandburg’s axiom, “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”
But I’m perplexed why those who make such a show out of having compassion for the poor, least skilled, and minorities are so deliberately, truculently, and hyperaggressively in favor of hiking the minimum wage. Which is something empirically and historically harmful to the poor, least skilled, and minorities.
It’s enough to make one wonder if there’s something else behind their advocacy than what they say it is.