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Minimum Wage Editorial – Updated With the Reveal

Home - by - February 16, 2013 - 00:03 America/New_York - 25 Comments

This was a 1987 editorial in the NY Times

The Right Minimum Wage: $0.00

The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable – and fundamentally flawed. It’s time to put this hoary debate behind us, and find a better way to improve the lives of people who work very hard for very little.

An increase in the minimum wage would restore the purchasing power of bottom-tier wages. It would also permit a minimum-wage breadwinner to earn almost enough to keep a family of three above the official poverty line. There are catches, however. It would increase employers’ incentives to evade the law, expanding the underground economy. More important, it would increase unemployment: Raise the legal minimum price of labor above the productivity of the least skilled workers and fewer will be hired.

If a higher minimum means fewer jobs, why does it remain on the agenda of some liberals? A higher minimum would undoubtedly raise the living standard of the majority of low-wage workers who could keep their jobs. That gain, it is argued, would justify the sacrifice of the minority who became unemployable. The argument isn’t convincing. Those at greatest risk from a higher minimum would be young, poor workers, who already face formidable barriers to getting and keeping jobs.

Perhaps the mistake here is to accept the limited terms of the debate. The working poor obviously deserve a better shake. But it should not surpass our ingenuity or generosity to help some of them without hurting others.

Washington could enlarge the existing earned income tax credit. This would permit better targeting, since minimum-wage workers in affluent families would not be eligible.

Training and education. The alternative to supplementing income for the least skilled workers is to raise their earning power in a free labor market. In the last two decades, dozens of programs to do that have produced mixed results at a very high cost. But the concept isn’t necessarily at fault; nurturing the potential of individuals raised in poverty is very difficult. A humane society would learn from its mistakes and keep trying.

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Who Wrote This Editorial?

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» 25 Comments

  1. Dr. Tar

    February 15th, 2013

    Its about productivity. If the worker is more productive than that worker becomes more valuable and thus worth paying more to keep.

    Giving people free stuff does not give them an incentive to become productive memebers of society – just the opposite as a matter of fact.

    Maybe if the gov took less from pay checks more people would be incentivised to be more productive and to make themselves more valuable to society.

    Just saying.

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +12

     
  2. Carlos The Jackal

    February 15th, 2013

    You want more ,money? Increase your skills, become more productive, MAKE yourself a valuable asset to your employer.

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +14

     
  3. Unruly Refugee

    February 15th, 2013

    We need a minimum work output to go with that minimum wage.

    I worked for minimum wage when I was 16. I don’t remember how much it was but it was under $2 an hour. Took me almost a year to save up enough to buy a guitar so I could move to just working on Friday and Saturday nights in places I wasn’t even old enough to be in. lol.

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +11

     
  4. NCO

    February 15th, 2013

    The minimum wage is not designed to support a family of four, it never was. The minimum wage is a starting wage. Yes there are people being forced to support families, but that’s because Odumbo is destroying the economy and has killed off the job market. Get the economoy going again and minimum wage jobs will go back where they were intended to be, for starting positions.

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +16

     
  5. Stranded in Sonoma

    February 15th, 2013

    Why do you think Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams call the minimum wage, The Black Youth Unemployment Act?

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +20

     
  6. cfm990

    February 15th, 2013

    So, if i pay you, to teach me work ethics and responsability, it’s called education.
    If you offer me, a reduced wage, to teach me work ethics and responsability, it’s called opression.
    Got it! Don’t understand it, but I got it.

    Thumb up +9

     
  7. Tim

    February 15th, 2013

    I started out selling subscriptions to the Washington Post in the ghettos outside of DC.

    Got $0.25 per subscription sold.

    Our ‘control’ guy said: “Boy, you couldn’t give gold bars to Jews!” And thus ended my sales career.

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  8. Billy Fuster

    February 15th, 2013

    Nailed it!

    Unruly, I also worked minimum wage ($1.70 per hour) picking and spreading oysters so I could buy an electric guitar. Dirtiest and most backbreaking job I’ve ever had.

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  9. Unruly Refugee

    February 15th, 2013

    @Billy Fuster,
    Gotta have that guitar. I saved every penny for a sweet Fender Mustang – pre-cbs and a 1965 Fender Bandmaster amp. I use a picture of that amp in some of my avatars because I miss it so much. The guitar was nice too, it’s in England now. Mustangs are a big deal over there.

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  10. Wyatt, Insensitive Progressive Jerk

    February 15th, 2013

    I have always believed that among other things, raising the minimum wage was an inducement to employers to embrace technology more quickly instead of hiring additional employees.

    Many years ago, I joined a company and the choice was hire another support person, or spend a couple of thousand dollars on computer technology. We invested in the computer age, and the savings in terms of employee costs have been in the hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more). The same holds true with receptionists – when ours left, we replaced her with an automated system which, while impersonal, resulted in tremendous cost savings.

    The problem is that people who used to fill these roles are no longer needed and, unless they learn other skills, are unemployable. These weren’t high paying jobs, but they were o.k. for people out of high school and looking to start somewhere, or a spouse looking to earn some extra cash for the household.

    I have no doubt that eventually, our company would have become more technologically saavy anyway – but the cost savings of machines versus employees definitely accelerated the process – in some instances by many years. The cost savings weren’t just a couple of dollars here and there – they were thousands of dollars every month.

    Too many politicians believe in a static world where nothing ever changes, and much of their policy is based upon this erroneous assumption. Need more tax revenue? Raise the tax rate or sales tax, and based on last years’ level of sales more money will come in. Except that it doesn’t. The same hold true with raising the minimum wage – minimum wage jobs are usually jobs that can be eliminated through technology, and technology neither asks for a raise or bonus every year, nor does technology need to be covered by ObamaCare.

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +14

     
  11. Slow Joe Bidet

    February 15th, 2013

    I coulda swore I rote that peese!!

    Thumb up +5

     
  12. Pinch Aloaf Sulzberger

    February 15th, 2013

    Hey, zat rooks vewwy vewwy familyer!!!

    Thumb up +2

     
  13. Troy

    February 15th, 2013

    I nailed it too!
    Now if the girls are all NASA I will be 2 for 2!

    Thumb up +3

     
  14. TN Tuxedo

    February 15th, 2013

    Looks like the Grey Lady’s starting to plagiarize intelligent writers.

    Thumb up +4

     
  15. ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

    February 15th, 2013

    An article from 1987? Puleeeeeeeeze.

    There’s not a progtard in the world that believes this now. They are all fellow Marxists now.

    Thumb up +5

     
  16. My first job

    February 16th, 2013

    I worked for .50 an hour. Minimum wage was $1.50
    I wanted to learn to be an Electrician, so I worked for .50 an hour. For one year. Then started my own business.

    Thumb up +6

     
  17. in high school

    February 16th, 2013

    Palin was in school in 87.
    So who wrote it

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  18. Reaganite Republican

    February 16th, 2013

    Art Laffer said that any min wage legislation ought to be called ‘The Teenage Black Unemployment Act’, since all it does is price their services out of the market, and nobody can be forced to hire a bunch of overvalued schlubbs

    Thumb up +6

     
  19. KF

    February 16th, 2013

    Maybe it’s just my insomnia and chronic pain but I can’t find who wrote the piece, whodunit??

    Thumb up +3

     
  20. @KF

    February 16th, 2013

    I’m just stupid.
    WHO WROTE IT

    Thumb up +2

     
  21. this is the answer

    February 16th, 2013

    This was a 1987 editorial in the NY Times

    But, who wrote it for the times?

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  22. now I see it

    February 16th, 2013

    Thomas Sowell

    Thumb up +5

     
  23. NOMOBAMY

    February 16th, 2013

    Severely restrict the social justice programs that allow lazy assed people to not work, and a minimum wage becomes unnecessary.
    Our borders will be patrolled by those people that need the jobs now performed by illegals as well.

    WIN/WIN

    Thumb up +4

     
  24. Jethro

    February 16th, 2013

    Why work for minimum wage when I can get the equivalent of three times that in entitlement benefits by just being a VOTE SLAVE!
    welfare
    medicaid
    EBT
    obama phones
    etc…

    Thumb up +4

     
  25. Tim

    February 16th, 2013

    If the Republicans had any balls at all, they’d demand the minimum wage be raised to $50/hr.

    Hell, nobody can live on $9/hr.

    Gotta make work more attractive than parasitism.

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