The evidence on the minimum wage couldn’t be any more clear – but apparently you can lead a liberal to economics, but you can’t make him think.
Economists don’t agree on much, but there is a virtual consensus on the minimum wage.
In his widely used economics textbook, Harvard economist Greg Mankiw cites a poll on ten issues that economists have the most agreement on.
There was 79% agreement with the statement:
“A minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers.”
A survey in 2006 of PhD members of the American Economic Association found that 46.8% respondents wanted the minimum wage eliminated, 37.7% supported an increase, 14.3% wanted it kept at the current level, and 1.3% wanted it decrease.
So how to we communicate these economic facts to our liberal friends?
The cartoon below does just the trick:
It’s a bit oversimplified, as it should specficy that it’s speaking of jobs that generate more/less than $15 an hour after non-labor expenses except interest and taxes are accounted for.
Liberals like to picture the minimum wage as a floor that rises everyone up, but there are always going to be a few people who get trapped under the floorboard.