A reader offers a cri de couer against increasing the minimum wage:
You quote a number of academics who seem to have no real-world experience. The minimum wage kills jobs. End of story. I am a perfect example. I run a very successful financial advisory practice, and I would gladly hire two or three teens to work for me personally. But I will not do it at the minimum wage. They simply don’t bring enough economic benefit to warrant me paying them that much. So, what’s the end result? Two or three teens go without a job and instead do nothing. No job. No experience. No learning. Nothing.
I personally know at least a dozen seniors in high school and freshmen in college who would jump at the opportunity to work with me for nothing, let alone $3 per hour or $5 per hour. All of the ancillary skills and benefits would far outweigh any wage they may earn. Yet, the minimum wage laws prevent this from happening. And instead they are just unemployed – economic casualties. I still have a successful business with or without them. They suffer, not me.
The reader sounds like many liberal magazines with unpaid intern programs. Update from a reader:
If he really needs to hire a helper for his business, he would do so, regardless of the minimum wage. But his business, he says, is “very successful,” so he’s obviously prospering without a young mentee. He would, however, as some sort of public service, be happy to pay “two or three teens” less than the minimum wage to work for him. Okay then, let’s take him at his word – if he could pay two teens $5/hour or three teens $3/hour, why can’t he afford to pay one teen $7.50/hour – or even the $15/hour implied by three teens at $5/hour? Since he won’t suffer with 3, 2, 1 or no hires, as he says, the minimum wage should make no difference. So why the discrepancy? Well, that would probably be because he’s completely full of crap.
The reader who cares not for how many studies have shown the minimum wage is not a job killer is a great example for your epistemic closure files. What could professional economists with centuries of combined training who have spent decades studying this question, bringing together data from a variety of economies across the world know, compared to one man who wishes he could pay low wages? I hope his contempt for data doesn’t extend to his business, as financial advising should be a data-driven endeavor.
Meanwhile, other readers are criticizing Gary Becker for arguing that France’s generous minimum wage is to blame for its jobless problem: