Wishful Thinking on Minimum Wage

Perhaps you may have heard about the recent letter that was signed by some 675 economists who endorse raising the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25. It would be nice if Congress could raise the income levels of working Americans with the wave of a legislative wand, but as Steve Chapman points out, these economists — yes, it happens to them too — have fallen prey to a bout of “wishful thinking.”
While New Mexico, because of its relatively high poverty and low wages, will hurt its low-income workers more than most states, the best thing about Congress’s decision not to raise the wage this year is that some states are raising their wages while others are not. Given time, those states that raise their wages the most aggressively will see a negative economic effect while others will escape harm. Allowing states to go their own ways is far better than a one-size-fits-all policy from Washington.

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