[Paleopsych] Living wage thread
Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D.
ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Sat Nov 27 04:45:25 UTC 2004
This is fairly easy to research. Type "living wage consequences" into a
Here is a simple 'compare and contrast' activity. One side is from UMass
Amherst, supporting living wages. But note carefully, these studies, as
far as I can tell, are from a theoretical POV. Exempli gratia: The
author of their Santa Monica paper admits that his projections are
The other side is from a Cato paper, referencing 80 studies showing that
the Federal Minimum Wage laws and subsequent Living Wage laws actually
increases unemployment among those they are designed to help. Every
time. These are empirical studies. Cato points out the fallacies of the
pro-living wage arguments, and an intelligent discussion of the topic is
obligated to address those.
The Cato Institute study says:
"The main beneficiaries of the living wage are public-sector
unionized employees because of the reduced incentives for local
governments to contract out work. Instead of exploiting grievances of
the marginally employed against 'greedy' employers, advocates for the
poor should focus their energies on building the skills of the poor."
Another e.g.from Thomas Sowell: People in minimum wage jobs do not stay
at the minimum wage permanently. Their pay increases as they accumulate
experience and develop skills. It increases an average of 30 percent in
just their first year of employment, according to the Cato Institute
Other studies show that low-income people become average-income people
in a few years and high-income people later in life.
Sowell obviously has some data to suggest that minimum wage jobs are
'starter jobs' (4/5 in a minimum wage job are single young people in
their first job.) Now you may dislike Sowell intensely, but he is a
genuine economist, author of textbooks, and a researcher, so we
shouldn't reject him because of bias and prejudice against the
libertarian POV. We ought to examine the studies he bases his statements
on, just as any fair-minded person seeking to understand complex group
Before we argue, we can simply look at the research. Anyone who plows
through research will find ammunition on both sides. (As Robert
Rosenthal showed, researchers get what they want to get, especially in
social science.) The best studies are empirical, not theoretical, and
they appear to support my POV. My discussions with economists lends
support to my notion that these findings are well known. That they are
not welcome facts is also well known.
Another cato-like source FYI: http://www.epionline.org/
"The costs and benefits arising from minimum wages are subject to
considerable disagreement among economists
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economist>, though the consensus among
economics textbooks is that minimum wage laws should be avoided whenever
possible as the costs exceed the benefits. " follow the discussion below
Michael Christopher wrote:
>>>Living wage laws -- government imposed -- reduce
>the number of jobs to low income people, hurting the
>ones you pretend to help. This is well known.<<
>--I think it's assumed, not "well known". What kind of
>sample was studied in making that determination?
>>>More people out of work. More people in misery.
>Sounds like a typical left wing bit of nonsense.<<
>--Countered by a typical bit of right wing nonsense,
>apparently. A lot of people let ideology govern their
>thinking, rather than an actual analysis of what
>happens when variables are changed in a society. It
>requires humility, because in any multi-variable
>system, changing one variable can unexpectedly affect
>others, and it's all experimental. There is no
>shortage of people with opinions, willing to impose
>their opinions on the entire system, and the fallout
>from such experimentation can be tragic. Everyone is
>SO certain their hypothesis is correct, and so
>unwilling to step down to the street level to see the
>effects of their decisions up close.
>Do you Yahoo!?
>The all-new My Yahoo! - Get yours free!
>paleopsych mailing list
>paleopsych at paleopsych.org
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