Minimum wage rise kills jobs

Workers compete with other workers, with technology, with changes in procedures and with the zero option. Some jobs are just left undone if prices of labor rise. I hope that this happens to those jobs involving leaf blowers. I hate leaf blowers and the noise they create. They mostly just push the leaves around w/o solving any problem. If labor costs rise sufficiently to kill this job, I will be content.

I worked at McDonald's, among other places, when I was in college. We assigned one worker to do nothing but fill soft drinks during lunch. They figured out that it was cheaper just to let patrons fill their own cups, even if they drank more soda, than it was to pay someone to do it. You get that "free" Coke not through their generosity, but through their desire to cut labor costs.

Filling Coke cups is not a very uplifting job, but it is a job. Most of the skills you learn at McDonald's are not much use elsewhere, with one big exception - McDonald's and similar jobs teach you to come to work on time and stay at work until it is time to leave. This seems simple, but it is not immediately apparent to everyone, especially to new workers. W/o this basic skill, a potential worker is probably not worth hiring at any price, but there are ranges of reliability. At a lower price, you will tolerate less reliability.

This is precisely how a higher minimum wages prices some people out of the market. As prices rise, you demand better performance and/or figure out ways to eliminate the need in general. A worker worth $8 an hour might not be worth $10. On the plus side, higher wages reward better workers and better behavior. Those who can and are willing to improve do better. So you have a kind of value judgement, as well as an economic one. Is it better to improve the labor force and the wages of those in it at the expense of squeezing some people out entirely?

McDonald's used to have people filling Coke, used to have people making shakes by hand. They don't anymore. They used to sell onion rings. They stopped doing this because onion rings had to be filled one-by-one, i.e. not with scoops like fries. It cost too much labor.

My reference/starting point was the Washington Post article linked

Posted by Christine & John at February 24, 2014 8:19 PM
Comments
Comment #376788

Now prices in general will rise. The cost of living will go up. In another 5 years or a decade we will be right back in this same position raising the minimum wage to 14 dollars an hour for the very same reasons.

You see, this is not a solution. It’s a band-aid. Raising the minimum wage does nothing to solve the problem of the cost of living rising. Inflation robs people of their purchasing power. Inflation is the problem, not the hourly wage.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 25, 2014 12:02 AM
Comment #376810

Simply stated : No. Raising minimum wages does not “kill” jobs. The CBO report describes the complexities involved with caluculating the effects of artificial price supports. Also, the CBO report was self declared a very conservative report:
(made) a lot of adjustments in the direction for a higher impact. In the report, the authors themselves clarify that they are taking a more conservative line.

It is unfortunately easy to forget that the facts of the real world are that the business is ALWAYS looking for cheaper-better-more efficient. A change in minimum wages has no effect on that drive. To understand the effects the minimum wage requires viewing both large view and small view.

In the short-term microeconomic view an individual business might have to reduce staff from marginally higher costs at particular times risking the negative impacts of reduced service to their customers. In corporations like McDonalds and Papa Johns it will likely have zero staffing effects, zero pricing effects, and a minimum profits effect. The same applies to corporate leaches like WalMart.

In a longer term macroeconomic effect, a million people will be lifted out of poverty. Millions of people will require fewer taxpayer provided life supports, millions of people paying more taxes, thereby lowering the deficit. As these people earn more they will spend more driving the need for more employees.

Yet, these are only the surface first order effects. There are uncountable multitudes of interrelations that drive the job numbers up and down and require far more analyis than anyone here could remotely provide. That’s why we have professionals and that’s why we have studies. History says that there has been little or no impact on employment from minimum wage increase.

To me, the unchallenged benefits of lifting a million people out of poverty and off of the dole out weighs the mitigable risks.

Historical citations:
For cross-state contiguous counties, we find strong earnings effects and no employment effects of minimum wage increases.

A meta-analysis of 64 different studies with more than 1,000 employment estimates “found that the most precise estimates were heavily clustered at or near zero employment effects.”

Elaboration on wage-inflation relationship

Studies by Sara Lemos from the Economics Department at the University of Leicaster from 2004, 2006 and 2008 have concluded that an increase in minimum wage does not significantly increase costs of goods to consumers.
These studies include:
a 10% US minimum wage increase raises … overall prices by no more than 0.4%. This is a small effect… The most common types of responses to the increase in the minimum wage were price increases and wage ripples. No single type of disemployment response was reported

Posted by: Dave at February 25, 2014 9:44 AM
Comment #376812

If raising the minimum wage would be bad, then by the arguments being put forward by conservatives, wouldn’t lowering it to $6 per hour be better?

Posted by: phx8 at February 25, 2014 11:20 AM
Comment #376813

Dave, using discredited ‘studies’ doesn’t really help you make the case that thousands of other economists disagree with. It’s kind of like trying to say that Global Warming isn’t happening, it’s interesting to see the left go full hog into that territory.

http://www.epionline.org/oped/o184/

There is broad agreement among economists that raising the minimum wage forces businesses to cut jobs and roll back the hours of their low-skilled workforce. Only a handful of studies suggest otherwise — but politicians and activists who support a “living wage” mandate in New York City are sure to promote such research as the final word in the debate.

Noted labor economists David Neumark and William Wascher surveyed two decades of the best studies on the subject, and found that only 15 percent of them supported the minority view. Now comes one more: New research in this month’s Review of Economics and Statistics from economists Arindrajit Dube, T. William Lester and Michael Reich claims to find that minimum-wage hikes don’t cost jobs.

Before it was even published, a spokesman for an advocacy group called the National Employment Law Project (NELP) referred to it as a “refutation” of years of prior research. But a mountain of evidence to the contrary suggests that the laws of economics are not so easily overturned.

Economists’ core argument against a higher minimum wage is a simple one: When the government (be it city, state or federal) makes it more expensive to hire and train less-skilled employees like teenagers, employers figure out how to make do with fewer (or different) people.

If you’ve bought groceries recently, you’ve seen this principle in action. Store owners have responded to recent minimum-wage hikes by “teaching” customers to bag their own groceries and use self-checkout lanes — so the store can keep five or six fewer employees on the floor at any given time.

This has been disastrous for the job prospects of America’s teens. William Even and David Macpherson, who’ve spent much of their academic careers studying the consequences of wage mandates, found that 114,400 fewer young adults were employed as a direct result of the 40 percent increase in the federal minimum wage between July 2007 and July 2009.

That finding is consistent with the vast majority of minimum-wage research dating back to the 1940s. And the few notable exceptions don’t always hold up.

In 1994, economists David Card and Alan Krueger shocked the academic world with their claim that earlier increases in New Jersey’s minimum-wage hike had actually increased food-industry employment relative to neighboring Pennsylvania.

Yet later research showed that Card and Krueger relied on seriously flawed telephone surveys for their original study. When it was redone using accurate payroll data, the results flipped — research published in the same prestigious journal as the original study showed that jobs were in fact lost following Jersey’s minimum-wage hike.

Even though it was proven false, you still hear agenda-driven activists cite the flawed Card/Krueger study to keep alive the notion that raising the minimum wage either increases (or doesn’t reduce) employment. In New York, groups like NELP demonstrated their desperation by trying to discredit an unbiased evaluation of the proposed “living wage” mandate — before that study was even released.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 25, 2014 11:48 AM
Comment #376814
If raising the minimum wage would be bad, then by the arguments being put forward by conservatives, wouldn’t lowering it to $6 per hour be better?

Though not a conservative, I say yes, it would. We should not have a ‘minimum wage’, ESPECIALLY a national one which makes it impossible to have it match any real poverty level is nearly every single area of the country.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 25, 2014 11:50 AM
Comment #376816

Rhinehold.

Two points.

First, and absolutely critical, you give no evidence that the studies I provided are discredited. In fact, I claim your link is an unsupported opinion piece that is all strut and no substance. It references names with no specific citations. It makes general statements supporting its supposition without any specific information to support those inferrences. As typical of an oped hit piece it begins with unsubstantiated accusations using inflamatory and emotional language that give confidence to those who already hold those opinions but without actually proving or even slightly butressing the claims.

Second, the evidence provided in my links remain substantive and inarguable.
-The CBO report was conservative in the overweighting of additional job losses. Can you dispute?
-History shows that there is typical little to no job loss with minimum wage increases. Can you dispute with specific peer reviewd, non-opinion non-massmedia, journal articles?
-History shows that there are relatively small inflationary pressures from wage increases.Can you dispute with specific peer reviewd, non-opinion non-massmedia, journal articles?

Here’s a well written opinion piece about the politics of this particular episode:


Republicans sputtered with outrage when the Congressional Budget Office said that immigration reform would lower the deficit, strengthen Social Security and speed up economic growth. They called for the office to be abolished when it dared to point out that tax cuts raise the deficit or when it highlighted the benefits of health care reform. But now that the budget office has predicted (and exaggerated) the possibility that an increase in the minimum wage might result in a loss of jobs, Republicans think it’s gospel.
“This report confirms what we’ve long known,” said a spokesman for the House speaker, John Boehner. “While helping some, mandating higher wages has real costs, including fewer people working.”
What Republicans fail to mention is that Tuesday’s report from the budget office, a federal nonpartisan agency, was almost entirely positive about the benefits of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016, as President Obama and Congressional Democrats have proposed.
But the report said there could be a cost to the wage increase, and most of the headlines have focused on the possible loss of 500,000 jobs, or about 0.3 percent of total employment. That bears further scrutiny, because, unlike the benefits, the employment estimates have been disputed by a wide variety of nonpartisan economic studies.
What the report actually says is that there is a two-thirds chance that a $10.10 wage would produce job losses in a range from just above zero to one million. The number 500,000 was simply picked as a midpoint. (There is a one-third chance the wage increase would lead to more than a million job losses or actually increase employment.) A range that big is essentially the budget office’s way of saying it doesn’t really know what would happen to employment if the wage goes up, because, as the report says, there is vast uncertainty about how much wages will go up on their own over the next three years, and uncertainty about how employers would react to a higher minimum.
The budget office didn’t do its own research on those variables. It surveyed the economic literature on the subject, and chose a figure more conservative than the most recent and rigorous studies have found. That means the job-loss figure needs to regarded skeptically, as a careful reading of the report shows, while the benefits are undisputed.
Those benefits to millions of low-wage workers overwhelmingly outweigh the questionable possibility of job losses. Lawmakers who focus only on the potential downside of an enormously beneficial policy change are the same ones who never wanted to do it in the first place.


Posted by: Dave at February 25, 2014 12:51 PM
Comment #376819

You see, this is not a solution. It’s a band-aid. Raising the minimum wage does nothing to solve the problem of the cost of living rising. Inflation robs people of their purchasing power. Inflation is the problem, not the hourly wage.
Posted by: Weary Willie at February 25, 2014 12:02 AM

And yet Willie, we are told that inflation is very low. Of course, that only applies to the selected bag of things measured.

Speak with shoppers at the grocery store, clothing store, gas station, or pharmacy and ask them if inflation has robbed them of some of the purchasing power.

The political class seems to want it both ways. The insist inflation is low while proposing a higher minimum wage to offset inflation.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 25, 2014 2:44 PM
Comment #376820

If raising the minimum wage would be bad, then by the arguments being put forward by conservatives, wouldn’t lowering it to $6 per hour be better?
Posted by: phx8 at February 25, 2014 11:20 AM

I have often argued phx that we should increase the minimum wage to $50 per hour and end all of our problems. No downside, just benefits as far as the liberal eye can see.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 25, 2014 2:51 PM
Comment #376821

Dave,

http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~dneumark/min_wage_review.pdf

Our lengthy review of the new minimum wage research documents the wide range of estimates of the effects of the minimum wage on employment, especially when compared to the review of the earlier literature by Brown et al. (1982). For example, few of the studies in the Brown et al. survey were outside of the consensus range of −0.1 to −0.3 for the elasticity of teenage employment with respect to the minimum wage. In contrast, even limiting the sample of studies to those focused on the effects of the minimum wage of teenagers in the United States, the range of studies comprising the new minimum wage research extends from near −1 to above zero. This wider range for the United States undoubtedly reflects both the new sources of variation used to identify minimum wage effects – notably the greater state-level variation in minimum wages – and the new approaches and methods used to estimate these effects. And, the range would be considerably wider if we were to include estimates for narrower subsets of workers and industries or estimates from other countries.

Nonetheless, the oft-stated assertion that the new minimum wage research fails to support the conclusion that the minimum wage reduces the employment of low-skilled workers is clearly incorrect. Indeed, in our view, the preponderance of the evidence points to disemployment effects. For example, the studies surveyed in this monograph correspond to 102 entries in our summary tables. Of these, nearly two thirds give a relatively consistent (although by no means always statistically significant) indication of negative employment effects of minimum wages, while only eight give a relatively consistent indication of positive employment effects. In addition, we have highlighted in the tables 33 studies (or entries) that we regard as providing the most credible evidence, and 28 (85 percent) of these point to negative employment effects. Moreover, when researchers focus on the least-skilled groups most likely to be adversely affected by minimum wages, the evidence for disemployment effects seems especially strong. In contrast, we see very few – if any – cases where a study provides convincing evidence of positive employment effects of minimum wages, especially among the studies that focus on broader groups for which the competitive model predicts disemployment effects.

Based on our review of the literature, we would also highlight some important considerations that economists and policymakers should keep in mind when assessing the empirical evidence from studies of the employment effects of minimum wages. First, longer panel studies that incorporate both state and time variation in minimum wages tend, on the whole, to find negative and statistically significant employment effects from minimum wage increases, while the majority of the U.S. studies that found zero or positive effects of the minimum wage on lowskill employment were either short panel data studies or case studies of the effects of a state-specific change in the minimum wage on a particular industry. This raises the question, highlighted in the reviews of Myth and Measurement by both Brown (1995) and Hamermesh (1995), of whether the latter analyses encompass too short of a time period with which to capture the full effects of minimum wage changes given the 165
time that is often needed to adjust the production process to economize on low-skilled labor. Indeed, the inclusion of lagged effects seems to help in reconciling alternative estimates of minimum wage effects, and, in our view, the need to allow for sufficient time to observe the consequences of a minimum wage change is an important lesson for researchers and policymakers.

Second, the concerns raised in the literature about the case study approach seem especially problematic. Even aside from the question of whether the authors’ own surveys provide accurate estimates of employment and other indicators, the doubts expressed about the adequacy of the so-called natural experiments used in the case study approach, along with the fact that the standard competitive model provides little guidance as to the expected sign of the employment effects of the minimum wage in the narrow industries usually considered in these studies, makes the results from them difficult to interpret. As a result, it is not clear to us that these studies have much to say either about the adequacy of the neoclassical model or about the broader implications of changes in either the federal minimum wage or state minimum wages.

Third, aside from the estimates of the effects of the minimum wage on low-skilled workers as a whole, there seems to be substantial evidence of labor–labor substitution within low-skill groups. Although the choice of the aggregate teenage employment rate as the dependent variable in much of the literature is due to the fact that a sizable portion of this group consists of low-wage workers, not all teenagers are lowwage workers and not all low-wage workers are teenagers. Moreover, from a policy standpoint, the effect of the minimum wage on teenage employment is probably of less interest than its effect on other lessskilled individuals. Some of the more recent literature has attempted to identify these substitution effects more directly or has focused more specifically on those individuals whose wage and employment opportunities are most likely to be affected by the minimum wage, and the estimates from this line of research tend to support the notion that employers replace their lowest-skilled labor with close substitutes in response to an increase in the wage floor. As a result, minimum wages may harm least-skilled workers more than is suggested by the net disemployment effects estimated in many studies.

Finally, our review of the literature leads us to suggest a number of areas where additional research may prove to be especially fruitful. One question that is relevant to much of the literature is how to address the potential endogeneity of minimum wage policy with respect to economic conditions and other policy choices. To date, most studies have largely ignored this issue, with the result that many of the estimates reported in the literature may be biased to some degree. A principal difficulty is that in specifications that include state or region fixed effects, the researcher needs a set of instrumental variables that vary over time. Second, although much of the literature has focused on the employment effects of the minimum wage, the predictions of theory tend to be about overall labor input rather than employment specifically. A few studies have attempted to disentangle the implications for hours from those for employment, and the differences in results reported in rather similar studies suggest that this remains an area for further research. Third, although we view the evidence as largely consistent with the competitive model of low-wage labor markets, given the ambiguous predictions of the competitive model in specific circumstances, and of the monopsony model more generally, there is scope for bringing more direct evidence to bear on whether the monopsony model or the competitive model better characterizes the low-wage labor market. And fourth, a systematic assessment of the sources of differences in the estimates across studies using meta-analysis techniques (rather than simply combining estimates across studies to obtain one “meta” estimate) could provide complementary evidence to this survey and improve our understanding of how to interpret the literature.

In sum, we view the literature – when read broadly and critically – as largely solidifying the view that minimum wages reduce employment of low-skilled workers, and as suggesting that the low-wage labor market can be reasonably approximated by the neoclassical competitive model. Of course, as we have argued elsewhere, the effect of the minimum wage on employment represents only one piece of the analysis necessary to assess whether minimum wages are a useful policy tool for improving the economic position of those at the bottom of the income distribution – which we believe is the ultimate goal of minimum wage policy. In particular, a more comprehensive review that includes the implications of the minimum wage for the levels and distributions of wages, employment and hours, incomes, and human capital accumulation, as well as consideration of alternative policies, is ultimately needed to assess whether raising the minimum wage is good economic policy. Given that the weight of the evidence points to disemployment effects, any argument in favor of pursuing higher minimum wages would appear to require that the benefits of a higher minimum wage outweigh the costs of the employment losses for those workers who are adversely affected.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 25, 2014 2:58 PM
Comment #376823

With a flourish of his mighty pen, obama established a new minimum wage for federal employees. Cost to obama: NOTHING. Taxpayers foot the bill.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 25, 2014 3:40 PM
Comment #376824

Rheinhold,

That’s actually an interesting paper, I usually don’t delve too deep into the source data but it was worth it. The primary problem I have with the report is that the studies it analyzed are primarily over 10 years old, and some go back to 1992, before even the last minimum wage increases starting in 1996. Given the internet boom, the Bush bust and a complete rewrite of America’s economic realities older data might not be all that applicable.

My sense is that when minimum wage was largely the purview of high school kids making pocket money or helping out the house they were add-ons to mom and pop shops. When the wage went up the marginal businesses let the kids go. In the current economy, with pre-depression era income and wealth inequality, many more people that make up substantially larger segments of the workforce are paid minimum wage. My interpretation seems supported by the data reported whereby poorer states reported more job losses and wealthier states reported job increases.

It was also interesting to note that within the report the authors related a study that states with higher minimum wages also experienced faster economic growth: employment rose faster between 1998 and 2001 in states with a minimum wage higher than the federal level than in states where the federal minimum was binding. Having said that, the CBO report does select the older reports (which like your link do support negative employment from wage supports) even though newer reports tend to show a lesser to even positive responses.

The primary focus of the report you linked seems to complain that other studies didn’t look for lagging effects. It’s clearly one of the studies that fits in the category of “against”, just as many studies argue “for”.
I still understand that the latest CBO report, which uses older studies and even states that it uses more negative data than would be used in an unbiased report, validates a likelyhood of a disemployment response as to be as likely as not.

Much as Nate Silver with his combinatorial approach to polling statistics nailed the last two Presidential elections, the CBO takes the most accurate approach to understanding realities and likelyhoods (ad nauseum; allowing political intrusions into its analysis by overweighing negative reponses). There is no certainty in this approach to reduce poverty in America today but, and this is a repetition, benefits to millions of low-wage workers overwhelmingly outweigh the questionable possibility of job losses

Posted by: Dave at February 25, 2014 4:51 PM
Comment #376825

Flush,

How exactly are taxpayers footing this “bill”?

Posted by: Dave at February 25, 2014 4:52 PM
Comment #376826

Gee Dave…let me see; are federal employees paid with taxpayer funds?

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 25, 2014 5:25 PM
Comment #376827

Isn’t the minimum wage increase for federal contractors? Pentagon workers are striking to force Obama’s hand.
http://www.salon.com/2014/01/22/breaking_pentagon_workers_strike_over_poverty_pay/

Executive order to force federal contractors to pay 10.10 minimum wage.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-to-announce-minimum-wage-increase-for-federal-contractors/

These are taxpayer supported jobs.


Posted by: Weary Willie at February 25, 2014 5:36 PM
Comment #376828

J2t2

“If raising the minimum wage would be bad, then by the arguments being put forward by conservatives, wouldn’t lowering it to $6 per hour be better?”

Indeed, perhaps we don’t need a minimum wage from a practical point of view, although it is clearly politically popular.

There is a value trade off too. As I said in the intro, I hope that the wages go high enough to kill the jobs of leaf blowers.

Dave

CBO is as good as we can get. Obama liked the CBO until recently.

Posted by: CJ at February 25, 2014 5:57 PM
Comment #376829

Sorry c/j, I like leaf blowers. Very handy to clean my garage floor and parking pad. I use ear plugs so…no problem.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 25, 2014 6:05 PM
Comment #376834

I wouldn’t have a job without my leaf blower. It gets under bushes and corners clean. This winter light snow gets blown off sidewalks much easier than with a shovel. Yes, they are noisy, but I have a radio in my ear protection.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 25, 2014 7:22 PM
Comment #376835

Royal and Weary

You have ear protection. Everybody else gets to share the noise. But you guys are not the big problem and presumably your use of the diabolical device would be unaffected by changes in the minimum wage. It is the “professionals” that are out there in legions. I would like to put them out of work.

RE leaves - God put them there. Let God take them off.

Posted by: CJ at February 25, 2014 7:36 PM
Comment #376838
older data might not be all that applicable.

Economics really hasn’t changed all that much since 2007. There are a few things different now, especially Obamacare, free money for lending and the thousands of new regulations that have been written, but in the end economics pretty much works the same way.

My sense is that when minimum wage was largely the purview of high school kids making pocket money or helping out the house they were add-ons to mom and pop shops. When the wage went up the marginal businesses let the kids go. In the current economy, with pre-depression era income and wealth inequality, many more people that make up substantially larger segments of the workforce are paid minimum wage. My interpretation seems supported by the data reported whereby poorer states reported more job losses and wealthier states reported job increases.

The thing is that the makeup of minimum wage earners hasn’t changed. The last data we have from 2012 shows that nearly 80 percent of all minimum wage jobs are those teenage jobs. Most others who are making minimum wage are very rarely single income heads of households. Most people who work minimum wage never stay at minimum wage, it’s a way to get your foot in the door and prove yourself while gaining experience.

http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2012.htm

The primary focus of the report you linked seems to complain that other studies didn’t look for lagging effects. It’s clearly one of the studies that fits in the category of “against”, just as many studies argue “for”.

It was an unbiased paper that made the realization that using short term data instead of identifying long term effects could explain the difference is result. It is very clear that they didn’t go into the exercise with a bias towards outcome.

benefits to millions of low-wage workers overwhelmingly outweigh the questionable possibility of job losses

I still disagree. If we are just looking at job loss vs percieved benefit, perhaps you would be able to make that case, but just as the authors I mention state, there are many other things that need to be taken into account if you are going to evaluate the benefits/negatives of raising the minimum wage.

I’ll give you an example.

You raise minimum wage to $10 per hour. What is going to happen is that some businesses will cut jobs and other people are now going to be making more money. Those that keep their employees and pay them more will raise the prices of their goods and services. So there will be some absorption of that arbitrary disruption to the economics of business.

What is going to happen next? Well, the people who were making $11/hr are now going to realize they are making just a little above minimum wage and will look to get an increase in their salary. Indeed, most (if not all) union contracts have automatic adjusters in them that state that if the minimum wage increases, all employees under that contract get a commensurate increase. Now the business will either have to lay people off (something hard to do with unions) or they will have to raise their prices of their goods and services to compensate.

The end result is that some people will now be out of work when they weren’t before (mostly kids trying to earn experience and help pay their way through college) and some people will now bring home more money. But the things they want to or have to buy will start to cost more as a result.

How much have you really helped them at that point? And was it worth the cost of those other’s jobs?

http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Minimum-wage-and-inflation-bloomberg-chart-555x246.jpg

This chart shows that with each minimum wage increase, there is an increase in inflation that goes along with it.

http://www.wisegeek.com/does-raising-the-minimum-wage-cause-inflation.htm

The problem with this aspect of raising the minimum wage is that the effect of eliminating a number of jobs affects those person’s jobs, however inflation affects every single person.

BTW, you mention income inequality, which is high. But that inequality is directly linked to the practices of the FED and allowing people with money to make even more money with 0% interest rates. That in effect is free money and breaks capitalism completely. But it is what the FED has undertaken to try to maneuver the economy to a desired outcome.

However, income mobility is something that hasn’t changed. It is still pretty high in this country. So the people making minimum wage will most likely move up into middle class, just as they did. The problem is focusing on the rich who made more (and they are just as mobile, moving out of that range by making bad investments and other business decisions) because they were allowed to by our toying with the system. If everyone in the US makes 100% more than they did, income inequality increases, but most people would say that is a good thing that everyone made 100% more, right? That’s the theory behind the ‘all boats rise’ methodology.

So you have to focus on one area or the other. If you try to fix income inequality you are going to end up affecting income mobility because those in the upper quintile will shut down and protect themselves…

One other thing, you keep mentioning the biases of the methodology… You do realize the biases behind Micheal Reich, who authored the study that most progressives are touting these days as supporting a minimum national wage, right?

In 1968, he helped found the Union for Radical Political Economics.

[h]e initially attended college with ambitions to become a physicist, focusing primarily in the fields of science and mathematics. However, his college years changed him as he became heavily involved in activist movements, including protests against the United States’ military role in the Vietnam War. It was during this time that Reich subscribed to the New Left movement.

[a]s Reich describes in a biographical compilation piece (A Biographical Dictionary of Dissenting Economists), he helped “to organize an influential circle of radical economists.” URPE’s agenda, as described by a spokesperson for the group, is to: “support an American version of socialism, with public ownership of production and a government-planned economy to meet social needs rather than the needs of private profit.”

In 1972, the members of URPE formally assembled their ideas and published a widely cited textbook on radical economics, The Capitalist System. As the central thesis of the textbook’s first edition, the group: “regarded capitalism as deeply implicated in the multiple oppressions that we saw around us: inequality, alienation, racism, sexism, imperialism, waste and irrationality.”

Reich contributed at least four articles to The Capitalist System, including a reprinting of “The Economics of Racism”. Upon the book’s release, the Journal of Economic Issues published a review of the book, summarizing it as “…a massive indictment of the contemporary American economic system. It is cast in Marxian terminology but stripped of some of Marx’s turgidity and excess verbiage.”

In the 1960s and 1970s, Reich worked with David Gordon, Richard Edwards, and other well-known Marxist and Neo-Marxian economists. Focusing on labor economics, the group specifically narrowed in on segmented labor markets. In 1973, Reich, together with Edwards and Gordon, published A Theory of Labor Market Segmentation.

According to Reich, he regularly taught courses at Berkeley in Marxist economics, political economy, and the history of economic thought.

Reich has produced research for the progressive public policy advocacy organization, the Center for American Progress. In 2010, he produced a report for the organization investigating the economic proposals of California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. An economist at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University responded to Reich’s report with evidence showing a negative effect of Reich’s proposals.

Does this sound like a person with an unbiased view of the topic?

I personally don’t buy into biases that much, because I always question anything anyone has to say as biased, so I look for the facts and questions raised to come to my own determination. But what I am seeing is that still (as reported in the article I presented) the vast majority of research shows that there is some negative overall disruption from raising the minimum wage, and very few that take the other view that it is positive…

the studies surveyed in this monograph correspond to 102 entries in our summary tables. Of these, nearly two thirds give a relatively consistent (although by no means always statistically significant) indication of negative employment effects of minimum wages, while only eight give a relatively consistent indication of positive employment effects. In addition, we have highlighted in the tables 33 studies (or entries) that we regard as providing the most credible evidence, and 28 (85 percent) of these point to negative employment effects. Moreover, when researchers focus on the least-skilled groups most likely to be adversely affected by minimum wages, the evidence for disemployment effects seems especially strong. In contrast, we see very few – if any – cases where a study provides convincing evidence of positive employment effects of minimum wages, especially among the studies that focus on broader groups for which the competitive model predicts disemployment effects.
Posted by: Rhinehold at February 25, 2014 8:57 PM
Comment #376858

RE leaves - God put them there. Let God take them off.
Posted by: CJ at February 25, 2014 7:36 PM

LOL…and God said, blow those leaves into a pile for burning, I will create new ones.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 26, 2014 4:28 PM
Comment #376862

CJ, I think I’ve found the place for you:
http://www.lincolntown.org/index.aspx?NID=488

Posted by: Warren Porter at February 26, 2014 6:59 PM
Comment #376864

Warren

Picture an Indian summer day. The golden autumn. The air has the unique fall mixture of chill and warmth. There is that intoxicating smell of grass that has recieved its final cut of the season, mixed with scent of leaves recently fallen and the last flowers of the summer. Shadows are lengthening with the shorter days, as sunlight filters through the colorful trees, shedding their leaves. They drift down in the gentle breeze, a silent symphony perfected over thousands of years, the same with each year, yet different. A place where a man can catch and savor a glimpse of joy eternal in moment in time, make sense of the universe, and revel in its ordered, chaotic contradictions, even if he can never again express his epiphany.

Into the lyrical scene, this dappled, pied beauty enters the sudden cacophonous leaf blower. Often leaf blowers - plural. A little platoon of workers crabs its way up the streets and paths, blowing leaves back and forth, a task as useful as plowing the waves of the sea. Crushed is the peace. The sound is bad enough, but the two-stroke engines burn gasoline and oil. They stink. All is shattered. Humans need the time for reverie and introspection. These leaf blowing troglodytes steal mine and I hate them for it.

I am a reasonable man. I would not ban these diabolical machines, but I am delighted if a side-effect of raising minimum wages is to kill these jobs and others like them. The leaves came with the wind, let them go with it. And if minimum wage must kill jobs, please let it be those of the nasty little men attached to leaf blowers.

Posted by: CJ at February 26, 2014 7:42 PM
Comment #376953

Warren,

I live next door to Lincoln, MA. To give you an idea of the town: there are about 5000 people with a median income of about $100,000 and median home value of about $900,000.

But, if you want to look at a more interesting town, think of Concord, MA.
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2012/04/24/concord-woman-proposes-leash-law-rein-cat-mischief/7yCWbGhXaJGffFLwRvSeWJ/story.html

Posted by: Dave at February 28, 2014 12:22 PM
Comment #376969

Dave

If Lincoln outlaws leaf blowers, it is a good thing.

The high median income indicates it is probably inhabited by smart, successful people. It sounds like a place we might want to live.

Posted by: CJ at February 28, 2014 6:30 PM
Comment #376975

CJ.

It’s a beautiful town. But, it’s very liberal since it’s smart, as well as wealthy and successful. If you moved here we’d both live in MA-07, which voted 80%+ Obama in both 2008 and 2012 :-)

Posted by: Dave at February 28, 2014 11:14 PM
Comment #376979

Dave

After a few months up there, I could paint that town red.

I actually like liberals and get along well in liberal communities. I am culturally like them. But I still recall my blue collar roots and for me opportunity is more important than equality. You can have SOME of both, but they are like freedom and justice; there is a tradeoff at some point.

When I think about what I like and don’t like re government, it is the push for equality that I dislike. I want government to build big infrastructure. I want it to create infrastructure of opportunity too. Things like the Morrill Act and GI bill were outstanding uses of government power. IMO, things went off the tracks in the 1960s & 1970s, when government started to bean count groups and equalize outcomes. Ironically, this was also when inequality started to rise. I don’t attribute this to causality of big government interventions, but it certainly did not arrest the decline.

Posted by: CJ at March 1, 2014 8:05 AM
Comment #377031

Rheinhold,

Sorry for the delay. There were a lot of points to address. We need to keep these on a narrower track.

Economics really hasn’t changed all that much since 2007.
Like any science, economics becomes more and more precise and accurate. Otherwise it dissapears into history, like phrenology. Newever data and newer analyses tend to be better predictors.

There are a few things different now, especially Obamacare,
Obamacare has nothing to do with minimum wage.

and the thousands of new regulations that have been written,
Bush W removed regulations and enforcement of those that were left. Are you saying President Obama has gotten a Republican congress to pass “thousands” of new regulations? The 113th passed 55 laws. The 112th passed 62.

but in the end economics pretty much works the same way.
Science generally advances incrementally. However our economy has changed dramatically, as I will highlight in the next few images.


The thing is that the makeup of minimum wage earners hasn’t changed. The last data we have from 2012 shows that nearly 80 percent of all minimum wage jobs are those teenage jobs.
That’s just wrong. 20% of minimum wage earners are in their teens, and 20% of teeens earn the minimum wage. Your own link says that.

Most others who are making minimum wage are very rarely single income heads of households.
Most people who work minimum wage never stay at minimum wage, it’s a way to get your foot in the door and prove yourself while gaining experience.

This is all supposition.

It was an unbiased paper that made the realization that using short term data instead of identifying long term effects could explain the difference is result. It is very clear that they didn’t go into the exercise with a bias towards outcome.
It is one paper of hundreds. Similarly, I can rest my entire case on a study that says jobs will be created. Neither instance proves anything.

I’ll give you an example.
Unfortunately, your example is an opinion of how you think people (probably you and the people you know) would act. I don’t agree, and neither do most studies I read.

How much have you really helped them at that point? And was it worth the cost of those other’s jobs?
As I stated above. Yes. The net benefit against the questionably derived risks are worth attempting.

http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Minimum-wage-and-inflation-bloomberg-chart-555x246.jpg
We already said there’d be minor inflation pressures. Your chart has no scale, do you have the article link?

BTW, you mention income inequality, which is high. But that inequality is directly linked to the practices of the FED and allowing people with money to make even more money with 0% interest rates. That in effect is free money and breaks capitalism completely. But it is what the FED has undertaken to try to maneuver the economy to a desired outcome.
Something we almost agree on.

However, income mobility is something that hasn’t changed. It is still pretty high in this country.
Also an innacurate statement. Wealth has become entrenched in the US.

In recent years several large studies have found that vertical inter-generational mobility is lower in the United States than in most developed countries

That’s the theory behind the ‘all boats rise’ methodology.
No it isn’t. “Supply Side”, a thoroughly discredited economic theory, posits that when you give wealthy people more money they spend it, thereby stimulating the economy. The evidence is that rich people just hide more money. The middle class spends their money, thereby improving the economy. This was proven with ARRA.

those in the upper quintile will shut down and protect themselves…
Again, no. Rich people don’t stop trying to make money, making money is what they do.

Reich…Does this sound like a person with an unbiased view …
This is called an ad hominem attack. It introduces no evidence into your claim thaqt all studies that say a minimum wage doesn’t decrease employment are because some guy said so and he was lying.

Posted by: Dave at March 3, 2014 2:44 PM
Comment #377032

CJ,

It seems we might actually agree on a core level.

I am 100% for equal opportunity without a guarantee of equality in outcome. The problem I have is that starting in ‘80 the government started to promote the interests of the wealthy, specifically the top 1%, over the rest.

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