Minimum Wage Or Maximum Opportunity

By Congressman Jeb Hensarling Posted in | Comments (45) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

“The overwhelming majority of economists in North America conclude that minimum wage laws reduce employment, particularly for the young and least experienced. I know that the free enterprise system is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised.”
If you’re as old as I am, you probably remember the summer of 1974 as a particularly chaotic time in American history. The Watergate hearings had just hit the air waves in May and before you knew it the summer was over and Gerald Ford had become the 38th President of the United States. Neil Young was on the radio and Hank Aaron had just broken Babe Ruth’s home run record – ahhh the memories of my youth.

That summer, I decided to take my first steps into the real world. Eager to take on the responsibilities of adulthood (and more-so to get out of working in my father’s chicken farm) I took a job at the Holiday Inn in College Station. It was hardly glamorous, but I was happy to work for a few bucks.

I thought that my timing couldn’t have been better – not three weeks after taking that job the Federal Government decided to give little-ole’-me a wage increase. I couldn’t have been happier, I was going to make even more money. Though I was thrilled at the time, I would soon come to learn the unintended consequences a mandated federal wage increase would have on entry level workers like me.

Read on . . .

In this sound byte world of modern politics, there are some that would have you think that poor Americans needlessly struggle to raise their families simply because the wealthy are holding out on them. They would have you think, “if only Uncle Sam would raise the minimum wage, if only Uncle Sam would FORCE the rich to pay higher wages, then these people could move up in the world.” But as we know, sound byte politics often is remarkably different from real world facts. The truth is that more than half of minimum wage earners are young Americans. In fact, only 10-12 percent of people who earn the minimum wage are sole earners in households with children. Less than 1 in 5 workers earning the minimum wage live below the poverty line. More revealing, 29 states and Washington, D.C. have a wage rate higher than the federal minimum wage. To put it simply, the minimum wage only affects a small minority of Americans. Worse, those that are affected by wage increases are those most likely to be hurt by them, since they effectively cut off the bottom rung of the economic ladder. It penalizes those most in need by reducing their options – making it much more difficult to find a job to begin or continue a career. According to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, after the last wage increase in 1996, 146,000 jobs were cut from payrolls and plans to hire an additional 106,000 employees were delayed. In a free-market society, it sure seems nonsensical to claim to be helping people by limiting their options (less employment due to higher wages). We can have maximum opportunity or minimum wages. We can’t have both. Nearly 9 out of 10 minimum wage jobs serve as a training program for young men and women just entering the workforce. We are fortunate that all over America, from Hawaii to Maine, small businesses pay people to train them, teach responsibility, and cultivate future industry leaders. As these young employees gain skills, their wages rise significantly. In fact, nearly 70% percent of minimum wage employees receive raises within the first year of employment. If raising the minimum wage will really help those most in need, why not raise it to $50 or even $100 per hour? The reason is because wage increases are counter productive in that they impede job creation by tying the hands of job creators. Ultimately, wage increases hurt the very people that they are designed to help. The real question is whether we should develop federal economic policy on political sound bytes, or on real life reality. According to Thomas Sowell, the overwhelming majority (approximately 85 percent) of economists in North America conclude that minimum wage laws reduce employment, particularly for the young and least experienced. I know that the free enterprise system is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised. Sadly, for those Americans who are truly affected by the wage rate, economic prosperity and opportunity will remain a dream if their chance to grasp and move up the economic ladder is taken away – along with their shot at the American dream. In a nation as great as ours, how can we deny so many people maximum opportunity – their shot at the American Dream? I fear that these Americans may discover, as I did, that the real minimum wage in America is zero.

And the politics surrounding it are a scam and a sham and they always have been. Pushing the minimum wage up does nothing except make businesses, small and large, raise their prices. It's the most directly inflationary influence I can think of. I know from personal experience that unjustified, federally-mandated increases in wages do nothing except prevent human resources people from increasing hiring. It directly impacts the bottom line of the company and drives small businesses, especially, out of business if they are on the brink.

If you have to stop yourself from hiring one more high school senior because the minimum wage has increased you're not doing them any favors. And if you do hire them, you're going to have to cut back in some other area of your business, which will make your company less competitive.

Raising the minimum wage is a political issue only to those people who believe that money grows on trees. It never works, it never has, and it never will.

If Americans wanted to, they would do much better for themselves by asking why the price of a college education (and education in general) has risen hyperinflationally for more than a decade now.

It can't be because of the Republicans. We don't control higher education; the Democrats do. And they waste enormous sums of money on their campuses, their professors, and their infrastructures.

Virtually unlimited federal or federally subsidized dollars.

Second, universities and colleges are rife with "schools", "departments" and "majors" that lose money. Find me a black studies, women's studies, etc department that turns a profit. Highly paid professors don't teach, they publish. And they publish stuff only read by other tenured professors.

The whole business of "higher education" is a fraud that makes Enron look like kindergarten. Most employers recognize that a four year degree doesn't qualify you for much, they now look for a masters. Classes are taught by instructors who've never had a real job in their lives, who have no clue what happens in the private sector and graduates don't find out their degree doesn't mean much without experience until they get their first job.

I'm not holding my breath for anybody to even care, let alone do something about it.
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

What do you think of fostering intellectual curiosity? I agree that academia is more or less a playground atop an ivory tower, but then you look at a country without academia like Mexico, where there can be no intellectual advancement, no learning and understanding the whys and hows of culture, and by effect an uneducated public and slightly-less-uneducated radical-left demagogues promising free money they don't have. It's important to have African-American studies, for example -- look at W. E. B. Dubois's contributions both to understanding race relations at the turn of the 20th century and to help America overcome racism -- and women and gender studies will be seen in a similar light when America finally overcomes homophobia.

I agree that the "real world" is not involved and especially that many, if not most, research university professors never experience that "real world", but I also believe that the work they do and the perspectives they bring to the students they teach give the citizens of this "real world" some true progress and makes all who come in contact with them a bit wiser.

As for the minimum wage question, I'm not an economist, but how would it be different if the minimum wage -- take it as a necessary evil, for the sake of my query -- were adjusted for inflation regularly, perhaps like the Congresspeople's salaries? My uninformed image of this is that the least desirable jobs "deserve" minimum wage, whatever it may be, and if this minimum wage is raised slowly, it would not throw the market out of equilibrium. The way I see it, the reason for raising the minimum wage is not to provide an American Dream for those real Barbara Ehrenreichs of the world but to prevent their pay from decreasing due to inflation, to keep their pay constant relative to its buying power, to keep their labor gainful as opposed to increasingly fruitless. So why should Congress support a pay cut (at the rate of inflation) for those on minimum wage?

where there can be no intellectual advancement, no learning and understanding the whys and hows of culture, and by effect an uneducated public and slightly-less-uneducated radical-left demagogues promising free money they don't have.

Are you talking about Mexico, or the United States? :-( -- Citizen Journalism!

Mexico, Mexico, not the US! From what I know, there is a stunning lack of education among in the poorer districts -- literacy, but nothing beyond it -- that in a very real way prevents people from being that informed electorate our Founding Fathers wanted. And as much as we may demonize the American left, these guys -- AMLO in particular -- are actually crazy and would destroy that country further than it already is. American liberals are generally pretty rational, I think (actual extremists -- anarchists, communists, socialists -- are pretty invisible, as far as I can tell), but when Gore lost a disputed election, he didn't threaten a revolution or declare himself president with fake regalia or illegally block major DC roads with the support of the sympathetic mayor and police chief.

My question, as it relates to this -- would this be happening if The People understood the basics of the economy and had some basic middle-school training in, well, thought? In bull-detection, seeing through unworkable promises? Academia may be hurting our country in some ways as was mentioned, but thinking about issues seriously and critically (which I can't say is really done much, even by Harvard undergraduates) is such a ridiculously important skill that I think it is not worth restricting the academic system. Further, I can't speak for Af-Am or gender studies in particular, never having taken classes in those fields (and generally having a distaste for the humanities, being a scientist), but an academic should not be receiving funding for pointless research. Take a look at to see what Harvard faculty are doing in Af-Am, and see if it is all entirely insignificant and harmful to society.

I wouldn't call these humanities "sciences", really, but they do involve thinking about problems that affect society in important ways. Again, it's the person who deeply studies the "Black Folk" and the Veil of Dr. Dubois who is most qualified to make a positive difference on the lives of those still hurt by the conditions of racism in the past four hundred years, to lead social reforms like the Civil Rights movement, and so on. Without academia, we would not have this body of collected knowledge on the conditions current and past of significant groups within our society; we would not as a whole understand the significant struggles faced by those groups, and the capitalist goal of equal opportunity would be ill-serviced.

Is this a parody? It's very convincing if so.

education and rational thought don't necessarily go hand in hand. They may, in fact, be mutually exclusive.
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

There are plenty of highly educated people to be found in Mexico. Of course, those aren't the ones sneaking across the border in the middle of the night. They can make a pretty decent living for themselves while remaining in Mexico so they have no reason to come to the US illegally. Remember, AMLO lost the last presidential election, so the country isn't filled with poor people enamored with socialism.

As for the minimum wage question, why shouldn't they support a pay cut (at the rate of inflation) for those on minimum wage? If you don't believe in price controls on labor (I don't), a falling minimum wage (in real dollars) is a good thing, not a bad thing.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

I appreciate your putting some thought into a distinguishes you from most visitors. I could argue with pretty much all of it, but I will confine my disagreements for the time being to your point about black/gender/queer studies. To point out that WEB Dubois was an influential academic is not to make the case for any of these; in fact he uniquely undermines the point. Black studies in particular acts as a siphon, swiping away the country's finest black minds. Black studies is part of the reason that in a given year entire mathematic and hard-science disciplines nationwide fail to award a single PhD to an African-American student. It breeds a culture of victimhood and separatism that helps to rob black America of what Dubois dubbed the "talented tenth." And as per gender studies, let's be realistic is the softest of the soft sciences. People have spent careers debunking the myths perpetuated in women's studies departments (Rigoberta Menchu, 400,000 dead each year from bulimia, etc etc). It too acts as a siphon, particularly in academia. Perhaps the reason a paucity of female science and math PhDs exists is not innate gender differences but rather the fact that female college students would sooner let their armpit hair grow and fight the patriarchy from the comfort of the all-female affirmation circles than languish in the back of a bio class. These disciplines do not solve problems, they create them; indeed they have a vested financial interest in doing so. They agitate for BS diversity requirements in course selection, they stick their noses into every campus crusade, from the petty and parochial to the global struggle for [insert dead or discredited ideology here]. In short, useless.

If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

Since I am an African-American studies major. I am against affirmative action, against welfare spending, and pro-school choice, three things which I would not have come to the conclusion without my current major, which allows me the opportunity to look at African-American studies. Your major in college is not all you study, as well as your concetration requiring you to take classes and develop a concentration (mine is govenrment). I go to the most liberal school in the nation (Wesleyan U) and I would still argue that there is a wide variety of opinions in African American studies just as there is a wide variety of opinions among African-Americans, who if they are Democrats, are overwhelmingly not liberal and even of the most liberal I have found that there is much more acceptance of my opinion as a conservative (and even moreos among students). There are just as many radical tenured professors in every department as there are in the African-American studies department-that is the phenomenom called academia. I am also a government major and I have found there is less room for conservative disent when I am in my Government classes with liberal white professors than I am in my African-American studies with liberal Black professors, probalby because on the whole, African-Americans even those who are liberal still have links to social conservatism and faith based initiatives based on the Black communties historic strong alliacne with Chrisitianity, whereas other aspects of academia have much stronger anti-Christian aspects. In short, I disagree.

Don't mess with Texas.

but I respectfully disagree. I return again to the point I made above; how many of the finest black minds in the country who could have captured advanced degrees in mathematics, chemistry, etc etc turn instead to Black Studies or its equivalent? And how many future chemists, future mathematicians, could those PhDs have inspired? I simply do not see, and perhaps you can persuade me otherwise on this, what an Black Studies program can do that a tenured professor of African American history or his counterpart in sociology and similar disciplines cannot?

I think fostering intellectual curiosity is a wonderful idea. It doesn't happen in virtually any University in the US. The faculty is so far left, so exclusive and so good at banning conservative ideas that intellectual curiosity is not even a remote possibility.

Mexico's been dealt with, but as an added attraction, the problems in Mexico have absolutely nothing to do with academia. It has more to do with a top-to-bottom corrupt society and a complete lack of willingness to understand and apply economics.

With respect to African-American studies, womens studies, whatever studies, they have a place. It's called part of a history class. Period. Those are not "majors". Graduate with a degree in womens studies and you are qualified to do what? Right, nothing but teach womens studies or work at Taco Bell. And generate studies that show that women and minorities are oppressed everywhere but Cuba and Venezuela. Close them down, include the pertinent information in a history class.

Your comments about students getting "wisdom" from their hothouse professors is simply insulting it's so stupid. You've got people who you admit have no clue what the real world looks like working with young people who by and large haven't honed their analysis skills and you think they are going to find "wisdom"? Please. They, at most, get some information, usually on one side of an issue with no instruction about how to process the information or make a value judgment based on a full set of facts. There is a reason why people teach in colleges and universities. Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.

Don't get me wrong, I value classes in the arts and a broad based education. Even for engineers like me. What I object to is overpaid, under worked airheads who "teach" classes that impart nothing more than a political perspective.

With respect to indexing the minimum wage, it just continues to deny the most vulnerable in the workplace, those with few marketable skills or experience, the opportunity to learn and improve their economic lot in life. Minimum wage jobs are not and have never been intended as "permanent" jobs. They are entry level, learn how to work, get some experience and move on kind of jobs.

Congress should eliminate the minimum wage because it's none of the congress' business.
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

This is just an aside, but I wanted to say one other thing here:

I live in the middle of Massachusetts and a few weeks ago I saw something absolutely remarkable and unprecedented in a Cumberland Farms convenience store window:

If you bought a pound of bacon, they would *give* you a dozen eggs for free. The pound of bacon cost less than $3 and for that and about $3 more in bread and cheese you could get enough to make a dozen breakfasts for yourself. There were big posters in the window telling all the people in the parking lot of this miracle. $6 for a dozen breakfasts, right down at the corner store. No egg-gathering or pig-slaughtering required.

Now, let's be clear, here: The bacon and eggs were all USDA inspected, cleanly packaged, and perfectly delicious (I know, because I bought some and made some nice homestyle egg-mcmuffin type sandwiches with them.)

And yes, the store took WIC and Food Stamps. So even if you didn't have the $6 you could buy these products at virtually unbelivable prices, as long as you could prove to a social worker and a bureaucrat that you were "poor."

There is absolutely nobody who is starving to death in this country because of the low minimum wage. In fact, the millions of illegal immigrants here are *thriving* on it.

WIC doesn't pay for bread.

They pay for rediculously large amounts of milk and peanutbutter.

I was briefly on WIC after our third was born (we used it about 6 months). I think we got something like 30 gallons worth of milk vouchers-I maybe used 7 gallons. I think it took over a year to use all the peanutbutter after we left the program.

We did use all the cheese and cereal vouchers.

But I agree that poor people-at least those with children, are unlikely to starve.

I also remember a couple-both of them on disability-so they got checks and food stamps each month. They got more in food stamps than our family of 6 budgeted for groceries each month-so yeah-most poor folk in the US aren't in danger of starving, and from what I understand the biggest health risk for the poor isn't starvation it is obesity.

As an aside, I am impressed by the growing number of celebrities who blog here, and especially by this post. Impressed because you are current Congressman whose career is still on the rise, and because you are making a real attempt to contribute to the policy debate.

You will not find me disagreeing with any of your points about the minimum wage. May I just add one?

If we assume, as I think we must, that businesses will not pay employees more than their skills are worth, then the minimum wage is nothing more or less than a law which says "people whose skills are worth less than $X are not allowed to work".

Of course, in any market, the market price is a range, not a point. Anyone who has ever bought or sold a house knows the price is negotiable. Are there a small number of people whose skills are worth something very close to the miniumum wage who may get a small rise? Yes. But it cannot compensate for the deliberate act of cruelty to the lower skilled.

Quentin Langley
Editor of

I do have something to add to this post and I hope Congressman Hensarling will reply to you also:

When it comes to people who are "lower-skilled" I have to tell you that in my experience the United States (and particularly liberals states here) cater to them extremely well. A little too well, in fact.

My brother is mentally disabled. Actually I'll dispense with the politically-correct term and just tell you that he is a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic who lived for more than 4 years in a group home. Now he lives in a quasi-independent setting, subsidized by the State. And if you were to see his place, he lives better than I do, frankly, because of the welfare that he receives from the state as a result of his diagnosis. In the past ten years, because of the treatment he's received, he's gone from being a virtual invalid to someone who could absolutely get a job (at least part time) -- but the worry for us is kind of perverse: if he becomes employed, and starts collecting a paycheck, he'll lose his benefits!

There is nobody who is lower-skilled in this country than a person who couldn't complete high school because they were diagnosed with an incurable neurological disorder. And yet my brother's problem is that if he gets a job, the state will take his benefits.

At this point (he's 34 years old) are they helping him or holding him back?

That there are some people who would judge what I have just said to be cruel, but from our point of view it isn't: the most precious thing the State could have given my brother after all this time is some ability to fend for himself and live on his own. That is my personal goal with him, and I am going to become his legal guardian when my parents pass away. I want him to live the life that was stolen from him by the time he was intractibly ill, and I don't want other people in this state to have to pay for his care until he dies. I consider that my obligation to him as his brother.

and I know some of the issues.

In my case it was with people with very low levels of mental development, not mental illness, but some of the same issues apply.

These were adults living in a local authority run home. One guy was taken there from a farm where he had been happy doing manual labour. But the farm "underpaid" him. He was "exploited". So they put him in a home. They taught him to make wicker baskets, but the unions insisted that all the work was destroyed because it would undercut union labour.

I don't think you are uncaring at all. I think public sector homes and labour unions are uncaring.

Quentin Langley
Editor of

Thank you for your kind words Quentin. You bring up several good points.

- JH

I would favor a Constitutional Amendment that would forbid any discussion of Minimum Wage Policy without mention of the Earned Income Tax Credit. As Pejman pointed out in his post the other day, we have a policy for dealing with that 12% (single earner MW households), and it is the EITC.

The sad fact is, there are entry level workers, people who have no job history and no job prospects, whose labor is not worth $2 per hour because they lack the following basic job skills: showing up on time, taking instruction, learning a new task, not sleeping on the job, etc. These people deserve a chance to learn these basic job skills and a minimum wage insures that they will never be employable.

As far as "forcing the wealthy to pay higher wages", the wealthy have proven themselves to be nothing if not resourceful. It is difficult to impossible to FORCE them to do anything because it is always more cost effective to them to hire lawyers and accountants to counter your force. If nothing else, they'll just take their ball & go home if asked to do something they perceive as unfair.

Thank you for your post, Rep. Hensarling.

I'd like to find the Constitutional Amendment or where in the Constitution where it gives the Federal government the power to set a Minimum wage.

And the ability to ignore the 10th Amendment.
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

"You should not be relegated to poverty if you work hard and play by the rules," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. - from MSNBC (

Does the Marority Leader or anyone on his staff actually own a calculator? I know they've never seen an economics textbook, or a demand curve they understand or agree with, but a simple calculator, come on! The BIG raise to $7.25 for 2080 hours a year is $15,080. Does the leader think this is going to bring people out of poverty?

If anyone has a source for the for/against votes I'd be interested, WAY TOO MANY yea's on this one from the red side of the aisle, be curious to see who.

I talked to one of my clients yesterday that had to fire one of their workers because even though he was paid a low wage (not minimum but $8.5 P/H) he was mentally unable to perform the job at the parts counter. They would have kept him on at another job but for the wage cost. Here is a person that because of a minimum wage issue is now out of a job, is that better for him?

are here:

I was surprised at a few of the defections. Mean Jean?

Also, can Melissa Bean now lose her pro-business credentials?

Businesses that aren't affected by it love it. It's an anti-competitive move that the government is willing to take on their behalf. They also get the PR benefits from supporting it. It's a major win-win for big businesses like Wal-Mart.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

Nice to see the MO GOP contingent couldn't even stick together and defend the small businesses that got them elected. Real nice, real nice.

And congratulations on being elected Chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

This post displays a refreshing willingness to state true conservative principle, free from cynical concerns for ephemeral political advantage.

I completely agree with your analysis and look forward to seeing more posts like this one. There are a host of issues, I fear, on which many in the G.O.P. may have lost their way.

Thank you.

Thank you rhatican.

At the RSC are going to do our best to stand and promote conservative principles and keep the conservative flame burning bright in the weeks and months ahead.

I believe those principles, the principles of Ronald Reagan, are the way for the GOP to earn back the majority.

- JH

Out in the real world of California and other border states impacted by the flood of illegal immigrants, your arguments ring hollow.

The low end, low skill jobs which young people you site are now filled by 30+ year old people, who don't speak English by the way. The businesses that are hiring these workers are not worried about the minimum wage, because they are not paying all the other payroll taxes due, the state and local taxes and other burdens which come with hiring legal workers. Who cares about an increase in minimum wage when you're hiring off the books, not paying all the other payroll taxes, it's no big deal.

Ask anyone who has a teenager in a major West Coast city how hard to impossible it is to find that "starter job" that you talk about in your piece. Talk to a youth in an inner city area like Inglewood Ca.. There are no minimum wage jobs, they are all taken up by illegal immigrants.

I don't buy the loss of starter jobs at the low end, low skill wage areas, there are too many illegal immigrants in this country who will jump on these jobs at any pay.

Sorry if this posting is seen as a thread jack, but until something is done about the illegal invasion going on, I just can't get excited about this as an issue.

Another South Park Republican spouting off !

Well by zuiko

Talk to a youth in an inner city area like Inglewood Ca.. There are no minimum wage jobs, they are all taken up by illegal immigrants.

Part of the problem with that is that the city tells business to just keep on moving when they try to open a store there. They'd rather have crime infested vacant lots than Wal-Mart stores.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

WalMart is destroying America. Where are your priorities?

And BTW, the guys working the street corners around those vacant lots are making more than the minimum wage.
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...


So what effect will raising the minimum wage have on areas where the jobs are few, and those that are available are populated by illegals?

Short answer, it won't. The whole minimum wage issue is bunk as long as there is a pool of willing illegals ready to be exploited.

Another South Park Republican spouting off !

The only places it really has an effect are rural areas far from metropolitan areas and those died off when the minimum wage was about $9 (real dollars) an hour back in the LBJ days. Labor in those areas wasn't worth $9 an hour so the jobs disappeared. Workers left to find work, leaving fewer consumers to support the businesses that were still there, and the cycle repeats itself until the only people left in town are on Social Security.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

That African-American males in particular are disproportionately affected by the minimum wage increase because it is them that are most likely to lose their jobs because of cuts that businesses have to make when they are forced to cut jobs because of a mandatory wage increase. It is the same Wal-Mart argument all over again, and quite true that the Democratic Party cares far more about its union constituency be it Big Labor or Big Educator than its 90 percent African American votes that it gets every election. Not to mention this hike as well as the Democratic resistance to secure the border affects the inner cities as millions of illegals flood the cities and undercut minimum wage opportunities anyway. Yet another reason why Pence should be our Minority Leader.

Don't mess with Texas.

I agree that wages should be freely negotiated and that the results will vary, "each according to his/her gifts." I also recognize its (at least intended) function as something of a safety net to prevent exploitation, and in the times when it was raised in my memory, the impact was not by any means catastrophic.

Having said that, I've never seen it raised by a whole $2, as they propose in the new bill, and I doubt if the Democrats can be "bothered by the facts" in their zeal to appear to be "doing something."

I'm reminded also of something less directly related but still relevant: all of us know someone (or many people) who, when looking for work, will not take some available work, even on a temporary basis, between their present unemployment and a more desirable offer. There aren't many other nations where people can do that, and we could immediately veer off into immigrant labor issues if we talked about that much here.

I agree that by and large the minimum wage depresses employment. I would point out, however, that so long as the economy is on the upswing a small increase in the minimum wage is unlikely to have a substantial effect on unemployment simply because at a level of near-full employment the prospective employees are in a much stronger bargaining position than their prospective employers. Thus the minimum wage hike would function as a measure of rent-taking. In leaner economic times I think you are absolutely correct, but to be cynical about this I think the Republicans lose a great deal of political capital by fighting this red herring when the actual impact on the national economy is likely to be minimal.

Thank you for your post.

If we cannot stand and fight for our principles, then we have lost the battle before it has begun. Many believe that is how GOPers have found themselves in the wilderness in Congress.

Thanks again for commenting.

- JH

This is just the opening salvo from socialists. Minimum wage talk will quiet down after this and will be drowned out by Living Wage cries. A raise in min wage will not be enough for the left.

I nearly fell out of my chair listening to Michael Medved interviewing a Starbucks "barista" who is involved in trying to organize a union. His real beef was that howard schultz gets paid too much and the company makes too much money. Nevermind that nobody forces him to work there. The guy was a Cornell grad and complaining about getting by in NYC working at Starbucks. Duh!!! Get a real job! You see socialists will attack any company that has success (walmart now starbucks) even a "socially conscious" company such as Starbucks.

If you always find yourself arguing the exceptions rather than the rule you just might be rapidly sliding down your own slippery slope to irrelevance. -CommonCents

"What does a Cornell grad say just before you part company?" "Will that be a Grande or a Vente?"
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

There are 108 members of the RSC. If they each contributed one blog a year to RedState it would come out as two a week. That would be a significant debate between the most active group of conservative Congressmen and the most active community of conservative bloggers. The implications for policy and strategy would be remarkable.

Quentin Langley
Editor of

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