TeeJaw Blog

How Minimum Wage Laws Kill Jobs for The Poor Unskilled

Posted in Economic Theory, Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 9: 04 AM

The real beneficiaries of minimum wage laws are high-paid union workers who have contracts that are tied to increases in the minimum wage. When the minimum wage is raised by 25 cents a union worker’s contract might call for an increase of several times that amount. Tying union contracts to minimum wage laws has always been a scheme by liberal politicians and unions to assure continued political support for increases in the minimum wage and a way for Democrats to reward their union supporters under the radar.

The key to understanding politics is to grasp this concept: Almost every time we hear a politician talking about how his program is “for the children” or to “protect the poor” we can usually be pretty sure that his program sticks it to the children and the poor and favors some other constituency that he relies on for money and votes. He knows that some smart aleck might point out that he’s lying about what he’s doing so he wants to get out in front of that accusation before it is made in order to not appear to be on the defensive, which can be sudden death in politics. It’s an application of the principle that the best defense is a good offense. To a politician, It is a beautiful thing if you can sneak a law through that gets you financial support from the unions and at the same time bamboozles the poor into voting for you even though you are screwing them. “That’s politics and that’s just the way the cookie crumbles” to quote a common refrain in my youth.

The answer to this, of course, is better education so that it isn’t so easy to fool voters. That might explain why the quality of public education under Democrat control (as is the case nearly everywhere) has declined so badly in the last 50 years, and why Democrats resist all efforts to improve it.

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