Debate Over The Minimum Wage Law

S and I are both boyhood chums of Bernie Sanders. S has a Ph.D. in economics. We discussed this issue on the phone, but came to no conclusion. So, I attempted to convert him to the one true faith on this matter via e mail exchange. He didn’t respond. I get a lot of that from people I try to convert to sensible economics and/or libertarianism.

From: Walter Block [mailto:wblock@loyno.edu]

Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2019 11:27 AM

To: S

Subject: min wage

Dear S:

You’re right. We’ll never settle this min wage issue on the phone. We both interrupt the other too much.

Maybe we can do so in this way?

You mentioned your aunt. Posit that here marginal revenue product was $10/hour. She was paid, however, only $7 per hour. A min wage of $10 would raise her pay to $10. But, before that min wage increase, why the $3 gap between her wage and productivity level? Why wouldn’t someone have offered her $7.01 per hour, and someone else $7.02, etc., until her wage was bid up to her productivity level? You don’t believe that wages tend to equate to productivity levels? You don’t buy into the economic law that wages tend to equal marginal revenue productivity? Why not.

Second point. You admit that a min wage of even $5 will unemploy some people, e.g., those with a productivity level of $1 or $2 per hour. You support this vicious depraved immoral legislation on the ground that it will increase the wages of lots of people, see above for why I disagree. But, posit you are right. Stipulate that any given min wage will indeed raise the wages of 19 people, and unemploy only one person.

Suppose I went into the poor inner city, with a big gun, and ordered one poor person to give all his earnings to 19 other poor people. I’d deservedly go to jail for that bit of Robin Hoodism on my part. I’d be a hoodlum.

Why, then, aren’t people who enforce the min wage law criminals? I can forgive economic illiterates for supporting this this law that preys upon the poor (the unemployment rate for black, male teens is QUADRUPLE that for white adults – all due to this law). What do they know. They only mouth slogans. But, you’re not an economic illiterate. You have a phd in econ!

Your turn.

I’m a BIG supporter of our friend Bernie. Mainly for his views on foreign policy, not econ; he’s a disaster there. I also like Tulsi Gabbard for that same reason

Best regards,

Walter

Dear S:

Any response?

Best regards,

Walter

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5:12 pm on September 17, 2019