Last Thursday afternoon I testified in opposition to Ben Lujan’s minimum wage bill before the house Labor and Human Resources Committee. The hearing was scheduled to begin at 1:30 and was gaveled to order at 1:55 (so much for economizing on labor and human resources — but after all this is government).
The economic nonsense I heard was unbelievable. No one seems to know this (or even care):
Most economists believe that the minimum wage is an unwise policy, not because they are against helping the poor but because the minimum wage is such an ineffective way to achieve this goal.
There seems, instead, to be this belief that there is a big pot of money held by the rich, and those rich ought to be giving it to the poor in the form of higher wages. One lady testified that she had no problem paying her employees $9.50 per hour, so why shouldn’t everyone be willing to pay 7.50 per hour? I wondered what her position would be if the government suddenly “forced” her to pay her employees $11.50 per hour.
An “economist” (and advocate) spoke for Rep. Lujan on behalf of the legislation. His empirical analysis of Santa Fe’s “living” wage was so full of holes I don’t know where to begin. The big problem from a real economists standpoint is that he made no attempt to isolate the effect of the “living” wage ordinance on unskilled workers. If he is an economist he should know this, otherwise it is fraud pure and simple.