Demagoguery and the Minimum Wage

On Monday, California governor Jerry Brown announced that he would sign a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15/hr. The increase from the current minimum of $10/hr. would be fully completed by 2022. Last year, New York passed legislation raising the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15/hr. At the local level, the city of Seattle has mandated a minimum wage of $15/hr. to be fully phased in by 2021. In the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have proposed raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $12/hr. and to $15/hr. respectively. Particularly among politicians of the left, raising the minimum wage has long been a staple as a campaign talking point. Mrs. Clinton and Senator Sanders claim, for example, that raising the wage floor is necessary to help people to move up into the middle class. The argument rests on the idea that if incomes are too low for some people to reach the middle class, a law mandating higher incomes is...(Read Full Article)