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An American Scandal and A Meek Proposal: Part II

Yesterday, I wrote that the president’s proposal to hike the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 was a meek proposal. And that it was pure rubbish to argue, as he did, that that hike would help people get ahead. Just to add today a bit more.

John Schmitt at the Center for Economic and Policy Research digs into the minimum wage numbers and, whoopee, finds:

Economists have conducted hundreds of studies of the employment impact of the minimum wage. Summarizing those studies is a daunting task, but two recent meta-studies analyzing the research conducted since the early 1990s concludes that the minimum wage has little or no discernible effect on the employment prospects of low-wage workers.

The most likely reason for this outcome is that the cost shock of the minimum wage is small relative to most firms’ overall costs and only modest relative to the wages paid to low-wage workers.

So, it’s not much to sneeze at. Better than zippo. But, let’s not oversell a meek hike and miss the bigger picture of the continued robbery happening to workers every day — working harder than ever and not seeing that in paychecks.

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