The Parade of Wishful Thinkers Lengthens

It’s not just the governor. Now Bernalillo County is considering a new minimum wage law:

The county proposal, calling for a minimum wage of $6.75 per hour on Jan. 1, will be formally introduced Tuesday at a County Commission meeting.
It will be sponsored by Alan Armijo, chairman of the commission. He said it makes sense to have the same minimum wage beyond the city limits.
“We’re part of this community and need to be consistent,” he said.
After starting at $6.75, the minimum-wage figure would increase to $7.15 the following year, and to $7.50 on Jan. 1, 2009— just like in Albuquerque.

In response to a similar proposal in Missouri, David Neumark (a leading scholar in the field of labor economics and professor of economics at Cal-Irvine) has recently discussed the minimum wage debate in terms non-economists can understand. Here is part of his summary:

The evidence from a large body of existing research suggests that minimum wage increases do more harm than good. Minimum wages reduce employment of young and less-skilled workers. Minimum wages deliver no net benefits to poor or low-income families, and if anything make them worse off, increasing poverty. Finally, there is some evidence that minimum wages have longer-run adverse effects, lowering the acquisition of skills and therefore lowering wages and earnings even beyond the age when individuals are most directly affected by a higher minimum.

It would be nice if our wishful thinkers would consider these economic realities.

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