Most Americans Favor Raising the Minimum Wage, Unless it Costs Something

Gallup finds that three-fourths of Americans favor raising the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour, whereas 22 percent oppose such a proposal. This is similar to what the Reason-Rupe poll found earlier this year; however, support flips and 56 percent oppose if it caused employers to lay off workers. All policies come with a price and polling questions constantly phrased as benefits-only propositions will continue to overestimate support. Instead, questions should measure what Americans would be willing to give up in order to raise the federal minimum wage.

This month New Jersey voters approved raising their state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour by a margin of 61% to 39%. Two-thirds of the California state legislature also voted to increase the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016. In light of these numbers, Gallup’s results suggest that national popular support is even higher.

However, simply asking if Americans favor or oppose a minimum wage increase suggest to survey respondents there are no costs associated with such a proposal. For those who haven’t thought much about the issue, it’s like asking if they want people to be paid more or less—not surprisingly they say more.

Instead, a Reason-Rupe poll delved deeper to understand how Americans make trade offs. First, it found a similar number to Gallup, that roughly 7 in 10 Americans support raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour assuming no costs. But a follow up question reveals that support plummets to 37 percent if doing so caused “some employers to lay off workers,” and opposition raises to 56 percent.

The key is determining whether Americans actually believe raising the minimum wage will shrink the number of jobs in the economy. Reason-Rupe found 42 percent believe raising the minimum wage will reduce the number of jobs and 41 percent say it will have no impact. Thirteen percent actually thought it would increase the number of jobs.

Looking at the data’s crosstabs, 58 percent of Americans who believe raising the minimum wage will lead to fewer jobs in the economy oppose the proposal. In contrast 88 percent of Americans who believe raising the minimum wage to $9 would have no impact on jobs favor raising the federal minimum wage. In other words, Americans who don't associate job costs with raising the minimum wage find little reason to oppose the proposal; those who expect a trade-off are less supportive.

These data suggest Americans’ support for increasing the minimum wage is in large part contingent upon whether such a proposal would in fact actually impact jobs in the economy.  

Moreover, rather than poll questions essentially asking respondents if they favor or oppose their fellow Americans making more money, questions should be designed to measure what Americans would be willing to give up to raise minimum wage floors.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • creech||

    After NJ raised the min wage, the Phila. NBC affiliate sent a reporter to Camden to get views. All were favorable including those of a small businessman who runs a supermarket. He seemed to think that raising wages for 40 of his 200 employees could be offset by
    (magically) raising the volume of his business. There were no dissenting voices shown in the broadcast. So is it any wonder that a large percentage believe minimum wage boosts have little or no consequences for them or the entry level employees who earn it.

  • Mike M.||

    Most Americans Favor Raising the Minimum Wage, Unless it Costs Something.

    Yep, there's today's America perfectly summed up in one sentence. That's why I don't give a crap about polls.

  • ||

    I don't agree. I don't think that's either specific to Today or to America. Humans like free shit. When they aren't presented with costs, of cost they'll opt for it.

  • Mike M.||

    True. The real question is why people who are supposed to be intelligent and responsible should pay attention to or try to assign any real importance to crap like this.

  • trshmnstr||

    Polls like this show how separated cause and effect are in people's brains.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    that's not the bad part though. The bad part is that 55% of people think raising the price of something won't cause less of it to be consumed. I don't know how to argue against that kind of stupid.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    oh wait. that's not what those graphs say. brain not working. I'll have to draw a venn diagram later. but I guess it's not as bad as I orginally thought.

  • ||

    It's still pretty bad. What it means is that the consequences of a proposal cannot be deduced by a significant number of people. It has to be spelled out for them.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...56 percent oppose if it caused employers to lay off workers.

    The other 37% what? Don't give a shit about people losing their jobs?

  • Deep Dish Circumcision||

    They think that's just a wingnut talking point.

  • Andrew S.||

    What the heck is with the 15% of people who know a rise in the minimum wage will reduce jobs but support it anyways?

  • JW||

    It's not *their* job and they get to feel all warm and gooey inside that they helped someone, even if that means they fucked over 3 other people in doing so.

    Intentions, yo.

  • Nephilium||

    The people who would lose their jobs didn't like their jobs anyway.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Yeah.

    Those jobs were "substandard" and the people who held them were just too stupid to know that they would be better off unemployed.

    It's for their own good.

  • ||

    Let me be clear. If you I like your job, you can keep it.

  • Killazontherun||

    Sticking it to the Man! Now the greedy son of a bitch will have to loosen up his fat wallet a little more if he wants to continue to exploit his workers. Some wont be willing to and they will fire their most vulnerable employees, of course, but that is why we have a safety net, to keep the capitalist power to indenture us in check.

    That's how they rationalize it.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    People with high paying union jobs love to see non-union competitors get stuck with wage increases; not only does it hurt the competitor, it provides a hook for recruitmemt ("see how the bosses were mistreating you?").

  • Rich||

    "Would you be in favor of lowering the minimum wage if it resulted in more people being hired?"

  • c5c5||

    Love that question! Love to hear actual people's responses since they have probably never thought of it.

  • ||

    Oblig link to Edgar the Exploiter.

  • prs130||

    Somebody ask these dingbats if they would favor raising the minimum wage to $100/hr. Anybody want to guess what percentage would be in favor?

  • Kid Xenocles||

    It's likely even worse for the proposition. Focus groups routinely say nice things about products and even say they would buy. But when offered the chance to do so they usually demur.

  • robc||

    Like with mass transit.

    What people really want is OTHER people to take mass transit so the roads are clear for them.

  • seguin||

    My biggest takeaway? Thirteen percent of people are complete dumbasses.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    That's pretty much guaranteed to be the takeaway of every poll.

  • seguin||

    ... I can't believe I didn't notice the pattern before.

  • JW||

    That number sounds low.

  • seguin||

    Well, I wasn't counting evil/dumbass hybrids, but you're right. Muy suspicioso.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I favor raising the minimum wage, until its impact on alt-text is considered.

  • Biden's Scroteplugs||

    just like people favor affirmative action just as long as it does not negatively impact themselves. then support drops to absolute zero. or do you know someone who voluntarily gave up their position to someone less qualified?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I was just thinking about this earlier. An acquaintance, who is preternaturally ignorant about the simplest and most basic economic concepts, is all in favor of increasing the minimum wage but would suffer a seizure if our friendly neighborhood bartender raised his prices to cover the increased payroll for the waitresses and cooks.

  • Number 2||

    Good point. The Reason poll discussed costs only in terms of layoffs. I wonder what the response would be to consumer costs rising in pace with the minimum wage increase.

  • wareagle||

    it's a little sad that the consumer cost part has to be explained to people. Do they actually believe that a company's operating costs go up in a vacuum?

  • Rhywun||

    Do they actually believe that a company's operating costs go up in a vacuum?

    Sure, because every business owner is rolling in money. They can just stop tossing so much of it into the fireplace.

  • Doctor Whom||

    My prog acquaintances steadfastly deny that costs are ever passed on. I don't know what they think happens to those costs; maybe the tooth fairy makes good on them.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    They come out of evil profits.

  • JW||

    I had to stop talking to my prog acquaintances. I was developing a mark on my forehead, from where I would bang it on the desk.

  • Sevo||

    "Moreover, rather than poll questions essentially asking respondents if they favor or oppose their fellow Americans making more money, questions should be designed to measure what Americans would be willing to give up to raise minimum wage floors."

    WAIT! You mean it might cost ME something?!
    I thought it just cost that guy over there; make him pay.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    For those who haven’t thought much about the issue, it’s like asking if they want people to be paid more or less—not surprisingly they say more.

    Haven't you seen all the gold doubloons in Scrooge McDuck's swimming pool? Of course he should pay his servants more.

  • Tony||

    Except that there is little solid evidence that modestly raising the minimum wage results in higher unemployment. There are several other "negative" outcomes that are possible, even according to the Econ 101 logic you're applying: salaries/bonuses for higher-tier employees could suffer instead. Or, companies could just take a hit on profit. Both of those are actually good for the overall economy, since the extra money in the pockets of the people at the bottom immediately gets spent.

  • ||

    While I dislike argumentam ad trolliem, for the sake of reason (not the magazine):

    the other outcomes you mention of course could happen. They are very very unlikely to happen. Companies are unlikely to voluntarily give up profit for the sake of maintaining low-cost workers, or for the "overall economy". And companies are very unlikely to make up the cost by docking their high-price workers, who are much more likely to generate more profit per dollar spent than the low cost workers do.

    There is nothing political or moral in this, just math.

  • Tony||

    I don't see a single number that would indicate the presence of math.

    I said, and it's true, that there is no noticeable correlation between modest minimum wage hikes and higher unemployment. So those two factors I listed, among possible others, must be happening instead.

    Are companies in the habit of having surplus minimum wage staff around they would be better off cutting instead of paying them an extra couple bucks an hour?

    Agreed that individual companies don't normally consider the macroeconomic effects of their decisions. That's why economic policy exists.

  • ||

    Oh for pete's sake.

    There is no consensus on whether or not there is a correlation between minimum wage increase and unemployment. Card/Kreuger was disputed by several followup studies (notably Hoffman/Trace). It is far, far, far from even global-warming certain.

    Do companies have surplus staff? No, sorry. But just because they're running bare-bones (deliberately, to minimize cost and maximize profit) does not mean that they'd sustain a loss in profit just for kicks.

    Economic policy that is crafted thinking companies will somehow voluntarily do non-self-interested things is stupid economic policy.

  • Tony||

    Economic policy that is crafted thinking companies will somehow voluntarily do non-self-interested things is stupid economic policy.

    Agreed, but economic policy should also not be entirely based on what employers do. You get more money into the pockets of low-wage workers and that could contribute to more jobs overall regardless of how much existing employers bitch and moan.

    The larger point is this: minimum wage policy is not made to affect unemployment, but to reduce poverty. So that's the positive outcome any negative outcomes should be weighed against. And there just isn't convincing evidence that the tradeoff (if any) is not worth it.

  • Jordan||

    Where's you evidence that increasing the minimum wage reduces poverty?

  • Jordan||

    your*

  • Tony||

    I don't think there is a solid enough empirical foundation on that question that we would both agree about, but it is simply putting more money into low-income people's pockets (assuming employment rates are unaffected).

    If I thought about it, I'd probably prefer broader antipoverty measures such as a minimum basic income.

  • Locke||

    OR... they just get their hours cut and get the same amount of money anyway

  • EvanP||

    Actually it has been empirically proven that unemployment is in direct correlation to minimum wage hikes as business can no longer afford to keep paying as many people as much and still turn a profit worth keeping their doors open for. Furthermore putting more money into people's pockets by raising their min wage raises how much they are charged in the store to buy the products they need when overall wages are increased so the raise becomes a wash known as inflation. More money in people's pockets does not equal more wealth.

  • #||

    This is one of those things that amazes me when peopel argue ad Tony. There is no other market in the universe where raising prices doesn't reduce quanitity demanded. The effect of raising the minimum wage pretty much definitly reduces labor demand. It's only a mater of degree. The only reason why it's tough to measure precisely what it does is that 1. minimum wages generally change in small steps and 2. there are always other things going on at the same time.

    Basically if you are going to argue that there is no negative impact on employement, you need ot be able to explain to my why labor demand is 100 inelastic. The burden of proof both in thoery and empiricism is on the people saying it doesn't do harm, because such a claim defies the most fundimental and basic economic understanding of the law of demand.

  • #||

    As an added note, it's likely not a coincidence that grocery store self checkout lines came into being right after democrats took over many state legislatures across the country and started raising minimum wages a lot around 2007-2008.

  • #||

    And lastly, what is often lost in these discussions, is that it isnt just a matter of total low wage employment levels, but a question of who gets the job. If a grocery store is now forced to pay $10 an hour rather than a lower market clearing price, then the store gets to be really picky about hwo they employ. And because the rate went up, now more people who previously were not willing to work that jhob at say $7 an hour, are now willing to work it at $10. So the lowest skilled people, who are the poorest of the poor, get displaced by the tier just above them as they now win out to get the jobs. So what the minimum wage primarily does is make the slightly less poor better off in that they now get a job that find easier/ better for the same wage, and the pooreset of the poor now enter the essentially perminentaly unemployed/ government dependent.

  • sarcasmic||

    If the government requires that a business pays an employee more than the employee produces in value for the company, then the business will let that person go, or simply not hire them.

    Businesses do not employ people out of charity.

  • Tony||

    Exactly! You're making my point. They don't employ people out of charity. So it stands to reason that they don't have extra workers earning $7/hour sitting around to be laid off just in case a law is passed letting them make $9/hour. Presumably the workers do something--possibly even something more valuable to the company than a higher-tier employee's equivalent in Christmas bonus.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    It's quite possible that the value they add is worth $8 an hour.

  • sarcasmic||

    Here's a little example. Many years ago when you ordered a drink at a fast food restaurant, the counter person would fill it for you. Now drinks are self serve. This increases the productivity of the person behind the counter, since they can now serve more people per hour than when they filled drinks. This means they can get away with fewer counter people than they did before. All thanks to an ever increasing minimum wage.

  • Jordan||

    In progtopia, robots and computers don't exist. And construction workers dig with spoons.

  • Tony||

    So explain how we could have a minimum wage in the 90s and a minimum wage now but with a big difference in the unemployment rate (and don't forget about inflation!). Isn't it pretty obvious that a minimum wage is dwarfed by other economic factors, if we're talking about unemployment?

    At any rate you're contradicting yourself. Apparently pre-MW, fast food employers were offering jobs as charity and weren't being as efficient as possible.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Pre minimum wage it was more efficient to pay someone $4 to do something which yielded an extra $5 for the store. Now that you have to pay that guy $6, it's more profitable to either cut that function out entirely, or replace it by a machine which costs $4.50.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    I do look forward to the day when a robot takes my order at the drive through and gives me a perfectly cooked and assembled cheeseburger with no pubes.

    Robots don't have pubes right?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Only if you aren't using sexbots.

  • sarcasmic||

    Isn't it pretty obvious that a minimum wage is dwarfed by other economic factors, if we're talking about unemployment?

    Oh, I'm sure that the effect of minimum wage on employment is very small, since only a tiny fraction of workers earn it. Minimum wage is a starting point. It's where the young and the unskilled gain a foothold into the work force. The higher the minimum wage is, the lower the likelihood employers will give those people a chance.

  • Jordan||

    Apparently pre-MW, fast food employers were offering jobs as charity and weren't being as efficient as possible.

    Holy shit, you are an idiot.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    So explain how we could have a minimum wage in the 90s and a minimum wage now but with a big difference in the unemployment rate (and don't forget about inflation!)


    The minimum wage during the 90s remained flat until it was hiked in 2007, with the corresponding correlation between the higher floor and higher unemployment rate.

    Isn't it pretty obvious that a minimum wage is dwarfed by other economic factors, if we're talking about unemployment?


    Not dwarfed, but compounded.

    Apparently pre-MW, fast food employers were offering jobs as charity and weren't being as efficient as possible.


    Actually, the minimum wage was imposed on 1938, which caused a severe drop in employment for American blacks, which is what was intended in the first place, as the MW was lobbied intensely by racist union leaders.

  • BakedPenguin||

    The unions in South Africa did something similar.

  • UnCivilServant||

    On the other hand, they also tend to give free refills, because they syrup is cheaper than policing the dispensor.

  • robc||

    On the gripping hand, you have chik-fil-a, which still fills behind the counter AND gives free refills, despite (or maybe because of) having to interact with the customer.

    They also appear to have more employees than other fast food places. And provide better service.

  • The Original Jason||

    And CFA is much more expensive than McDonald's.

  • Juice||

    Almost all of the cost of a fountain drink is in the cup, lid, and straw.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Sarc: If the government requires that a business pays an employee more than the employee produces in value for the company, then the business will let that person go, or simply not hire them.

    Tony: Exactly! You're making my point.

    CPA: *Lays head on desk and cries*

  • sarcasmic||

    The stupid is strong in Tony. Very strong.

  • #||

    Don't you love reminding yourself that a person like tony has just as many votes as you do?

  • #||

    No Tony, there is not wsubsituteability between labor and capital and betwene different kinds of labor. If befor i got more net gain out of using 3 low skilled workers, but after the wage hike, it now makes sense for me to hire one higher skilled worker and invest in a new machine, and let the three others go via attrition or just lay them off.

    I good example of this is the grocery store self check out lines. I use more machinery and less labor now with the new price equilibrium.

    This is how vert basic eocnomics works. Price of one item goes up, there is a substitution effect into the next most optimal alternative.

  • Juice||

    Are you typing this on a phone?

  • KDN||

    Oh look everybody, here comes Tony to be spectacularly and specifically wrong about economic matters. Thanks for showing up, Tony! What would we do without you? Probably just post the idiotic ramblings of Facebook acquaintances. Thanks for adding nothing to any conversation, ever.

  • #||

    Tony does indeed need to go back (look at it for the first time?) and intro micro econ book. I'm pretty sure a thurough reading of the wikipedia page would blow Tony's mind.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Question: which one of these is Tony?

    http://iowahawk.typepad.com/io.....-stfu.html

  • Number 2||

    Or, because employers know that the minimum wage will increase regularly, they can preserve their profits by investing in labor-saving technology, thus throwing lower-paid people out of work and increasing capital's share of national income.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Except that there is little solid evidence that modestly raising the minimum wage results in higher unemployment.


    I don't understand your reasoning, Tony. First, there's plenty of evidence that shows that raising the minimum wage increases unemployment for the less productive.

    But second, the most often used weapon of the left against undesirable consumption (for intance, of cigarettes or 32OZ sodas) is an increase on the price of said products. Are you telling me that these policies are created under false premises?

    Or, companies could just take a hit on profit. Both of those are actually good for the overall economy, since the extra money in the pockets of the people at the bottom immediately gets spent.


    You keep spewing the same fallacy you obtained from Think Progress' talking points, Tony. "Giving more money" to people will only serve to increase prices due to demand and decrease supply due to an artifical increase in labor costs. It also does not work, as employers are enticed to find new alternatives like automation; or the classic case of the self-serve system, the monument to socialist folly.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Apparently my friend's master thesis used fake data or something, because it found that Vermont's raised minimum wage caused a decrease in teen employment.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Auric Demonocles,

    Apparently my friend's master thesis used fake data or something, because it found that Vermont's raised minimum wage caused a decrease in teen employment.


    Vermont is populated by a small population of very rich socialists with teenage kids whose disutility of labor is very high. But your friend could've divided the population of able-body teenagers by race and background and see just how the minimum wage affected each. I don't know if that's the case or not.

  • Tony||

    Minimum wage policy is not about unemployment rates! If it does have an effect (and it would most likely hit teenagers as you say), it's entirely possible that the benefit is worth it--that benefit being not having low-tier workers in poverty. If you want to counter the effect you're claiming by creating a subminimum wage for schoolchildren, okay. But remember that the whole target of minimum wage policy is not about overall employment, but about reducing poverty.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    What if we raised the minimum wage in exchange for reducing or eliminating payroll taxes? Would you support that?

  • Tony||

    As long as there were a more progressive means of funding Social Security included.

  • #||

    So no, you wouldn't be willing to tax less. Just make other people pay higher taxes.

    Well at least a scheme like that would destroy the myth that SS is some kind of pension, revealing that its really just a really big welfare program.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Yep. Over his head.

  • Tony||

    Define "big welfare program" and explain why it's a bad thing. Get rid of SS and you will have millions of old people in poverty, and that's just the way it would be. Why is that the preferable alternative?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Minimum wage policy is not about unemployment rates!


    And I agree completely!

    The rising unemployment rates are a consequence. Instead, the Minimum Wage is about economic illiteracy.

    it's entirely possible that the benefit is worth it--that benefit being not having low-tier workers in poverty.


    Maybe in your puny mind. If you price people out of the market, the consequence will be low-tier workers living withOUT employment.

    But remember that the whole target of minimum wage policy is not about overall employment, but about reducing poverty.


    Well, it isn't and it hasn't. The Minimum Wage, at its inception, was meant to keep the more wage-competitive blacks out of the workforce so they would not compete against whites.

  • Deep Dish Circumcision||

    So you're saying having 9 people make $10 an hour is better than having 10 people make $9 an hour. Fuck that tenth guy.

  • Juice||

    To be fair, those minimum wage hikes just happened to fall right in the middle of the Big Wall Street Meltdown.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    there is no solid evidence that raising the minimum wage to eleventy billion dollars an hour would cause any unemployment. Therefore, if you don't want to do so, you are racist.

  • ||

    As Tyler Cowen once mentioned on his blog, it is astonishing how many people, and particularly how many economists, are in absolute total agreement that artificial price floors never ever work, yet allow one teensy exception.

  • #||

    It is rather mind boggling that somehow this is supposedly the one and only market anywhere that a price floor doesn't create a non-clearing equilibrium.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    salaries/bonuses for higher-tier employees could suffer instead. Or, companies could just take a hit on profit.

    Haven't you seen all the gold doubloons in Scrooge McDuck's swimming pool?

    HE STOLE THEM FROM TEH WORKING POOR!!!!111!

  • Tony||

    If you consider the level of wealth inequality in this country currently (which you don't, of course, because that would be "envy"), Scrooge McDuck is a slacker.

  • Marshall Gill||

    What does "wealth inequality" really mean? Since the poor, by definition, have little or nothing, an increase in wealth inequality is an indication that some people are being successful. Capitalism, and Liberty, distribute wealth unequally. Don't ever let anyone tell you that Socialism does anything but distribute misery equally.

    Since someone is pathetic, others must suffer to make it eqqquuuuuaaallll.

    /Tony

  • Tony||

    Please let me know if I'm misunderstanding your incoherent slogany gobbledygook.

    Are you claiming that the reason the difference between the poor and the rich has risen exponentially over the past few decades is because most people decided to become incredibly lazy, and a few became more productive than almost any human in the history of the world?

    It couldn't be the relentless efforts of neoliberal policymakers to deliberately funnel wealth upward using favorable tax policy for the wealthy and endlessly crusading to shit on the poor as much as possible.

  • Jordan||

    Tax policy has very little to do with it. When you make it inordinately expensive for people to start their own business, entrench already established businesses, and relentlessly punish savers by funneling their wealth to the financial sector, you make it pretty damn hard to get ahead.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Are you claiming that the reason the difference between the poor and the rich has risen exponentially over the past few decades is because most people decided to become incredibly lazy[?]


    No, the reason for the difference betwee rich and poor is anti-rich policies. Every time the government tries to "stick it to the rich," the real sufferers end up being the poor and middle class, as they see their own savings go down the inflation tubes.

    It couldn't be the relentless efforts of neoliberal policymakers to deliberately funnel wealth upward using favorable tax policy for the wealthy


    If that were true, then it should serve as indictment on taxation. There's no question that tax policy has been less favorable these parts 5 years for the wealthy yet income inequality has actually gone UP, not down.

  • Tony||

    What antirich policies are you referring to that somehow have had the completely unintended consequence of making the very rich ten times richer? Christ man it's too early in the morning for my head to spin like this.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    What antirich policies are you referring to that somehow have had the completely unintended consequence of making the very rich ten times richer?


    I don't think you get it. The rich would still be 10 times richer as they were before sans the policies. The anti-rich policies (tax hikes, federal regulations, inflation, etc.) make the middle class and poor poorer, as the rich take their money and invest it somewhere else but here. The middle class and poor cannot do the same. The more you try to take from the rich, the LESS you take from them but the MORE you tax from the middle class and the poor in the form of lower earnings, less jobs and debasement of the currency.

  • Tony||

    Except for the total lack of empirical confirmation, that makes total sense! The rich are essentially extortionists whom we must coddle for fear of them "investing elsewhere." Hell the states are racing to the bottom to attract businesses, why don't all countries do it too? Eventually we can have no public sphere at all, so America and Haiti will look like equally good investments.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Except for the total lack of empirical confirmation, that makes total sense!


    How do you account for the higher income inequality today, despite Obama's economic policies aimed at reducing the gap? That's a prefect example of how trying to crush the rich does not lead to the desired result, which is more equality.

    The rich are essentially extortionists whom we must coddle for fear of them "investing elsewhere."


    That's a moral argument, not an economic argument. I'm not making moral arguments here.

    Eventually we can have no public sphere at all, so America and Haiti will look like equally good investments.


    The Soviet Union had a very healthy public sphere. Guess how much investment was made over there until its own collapse?

    You can keep making these cynical statements, Tony, but none of them serve to explain or counter the arguments that are being posited here.

  • waffles||

    It's like you don't even want to rich, Tony.

  • Tony||

    The only economic mobility happening in this country is the very rich getting very very rich.

    Normally under these circumstances, rich heads are rolling in streets. But astoundingly vast portions of the population still believe that they can become successful by working hard, just as long as we stop giving free shit to you-know-who. It's got to be the most successfully marketed snake oil in history. Was it Reagan's charming personality that did it for you?

  • waffles||

    You need to either start rolling heads or selling snake oil because the social-equality soft-marxism bullshit isn't going to fly. You either need to really fucking mean it or join the system.

  • LynchPin1477||

    The only economic mobility happening in this country is the very rich getting very very rich.

    Ah, so the combined income of my wife and I didn't just increase by almost 60% in the past 3 years because I got a more advanced degree and she took a better job with more upward mobility (which requires us to live apart temporarily, but that totally doesn't count as working hard or sacrificing for a better future). And my brother didn't just get promoted by working his ass off and being scarily better at his job than his coworkers. And my sister-in-law isn't looking at a six figure salary when she is done with school. And my friends from college don't all make six figures because they worked hard to get in-demand training. And my HS friend isn't now working his way into the middle class after stagnating for years because he finally sort of became self employed and is working his ass off to bring in money for his two kids. Or did growing up in families with combined incomes below $60,000 suddenly become starting rich?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The only economic mobility happening in this country is the very rich getting very very rich.


    At least someone is benefiting from hope and change.

    Normally under these circumstances, rich heads [would be] rolling in streets.


    Good thing Americans are not barbaric socialists like you would like.

    But astoundingly vast portions of the population still believe that they can become successful by working hard,


    Fools. They should know that you get rich by printing money.

  • Rhywun||

    In Tony's world, "the rich" and "the poor" are like castes. There is no movement up or down; one is born into one's position and only the Robin Hood-like efforts of Top Men can make things "right" - whatever his version thereof may be.

  • Juice||

    But astoundingly vast portions of the population still believe that they can become successful by working hard, just as long as we stop giving free shit to you-know-who.

    They're suffering from False Consciousness, right?

  • KDN||

    Scrooge McDuck is a slacker.

    Or not. But figuring that out involves simple geometry, so totally out of your grasp.

  • waffles||

    I think they have the size of the money bin all wrong. By turning an acre into a unit of length something weird happens. Still Scrooge is probably wealthier than Bill Gates.

  • KDN||

    I agree, but it's still silly to say he's slacking. Hell, Forbes estimates it at $26b.

    For a more realistic estimate, I'll hand it over to one of the commenters:

    I presumed a volume of one acre square and one foot deep, essentially substituting acre-feet for cubic acres, and got a vault roughly 50x50x50 feet, which if you look at the door on the outside, doesn't sound ridiculous. Taking that number (130,680 cubic feet, to be exact) and presuming 50% of the volume is occupied by gold, combining with [4/8/2011]'s gold price, I got a value of $1.9 trillion. Now, not everything was gold coin, some of the vault was valuable objects and cash, both of which are more pricey density-wise, I'd say the value of the vault itself exceeds $1.9 trillion.
  • The Late P Brooks||

    I don't know what they think happens to those costs; maybe the tooth fairy makes good on them.

    Government subsidies, duh.

    So; tooth fairy, FTW!

  • albo||

    Here's how the progressives see it: The higher cost of wages will come out of the company's already bloated profits. So the company won't have to increase the prices of its goods and services.

    Don't you understand? It's all so obvious.

  • Tony||

    Why is that not plausible, even according to libertarian economic math?

    Corporations are always going to threaten low-level workers in a discussion of minimum wage hikes. But the latest empirical research in this subject pretty much shows no correlation between hikes in the minimum wage and unemployment.

    And besides, we've had a minimum wage in place for a long time, and we've had both near-full employment and high unemployment during periods with a minimum wage. Clearly, other factors outweigh the minimum wage in determining overall employment levels.

  • wareagle||

    it's not plausible because companies and people seldom act counter to their self-interest. That profit loss you are cheerleading could mean capital improvements now don't get done, additional staff is not hired, or the boss foregoes buying a new car. Each of those potential outcome has second order effects. See if you can spot them.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    But the latest empirical research in this subject pretty much shows no correlation between hikes in the minimum wage and unemployment.


    Linkey-link, please. Otherwise don't blame people for concluding that you pulled that one out of your hairy ass.

    And besides, we've had a minimum wage in place for a long time


    Yes! AND, a systemic unemployment level for minorities, single women and teenagers for a long time.

    Clearly, other factors outweigh the minimum wage in determining overall employment levels.


    No question about it, but the other factors only serve to add to the pile of factors against employment of low-skill and no-skill people. They don't hide the effect of the minimum wage on employment.

    Besides, riddle me this: how come making something more expensive doesn't make it less desirable? Doesn't it supposed to make it less desirable? Because that is the main premise behind all anti-consumption policies.

  • Sevo||

    "Besides, riddle me this:"

    To idjits like red tony, incentives work when they want them to work, but DOn't work at other times, 'cause MAGIC!

  • Juice||

    Isn't John Red Tony?

  • sarcasmic||

    The rich don't pay their fair share. How do we know this? Well, they're rich. If they paid their fair share then how could the be rich, right? So increases in the minimum wage come out of the pockets of the rich. I mean, where else would they come from? So raising the minimum wage causes the rich to give to the poor. Right? I mean, that's the intention, so how could the result be anything else?

  • waffles||

    You know what? You're exactly right.

    When it is explained this way it seems the only problem is that it doesn't go far enough. Jobs should be distributed by means-testing. If someone has too much wealth they should be forced to give their job to someone more deserving. Of course we'll need more government resources to determine who is deserving. But eventually we'll all be wealthier. A divided nation cannot stand after all.

  • sarcasmic||

    The goal isn't wealth. The goal is equality. It is better for everyone to equally poor than for everyone to be unequally rich.

  • waffles||

    I don't know about you but I feel wealthier when I'm more equal. Equality is wealth because no one will have too much more than anyone else. We will all be figuratively much wealthier.

  • Tony||

    It's best when nobody in the richest country on earth has to struggle to meet the basic needs of herself and her children. That's the sum total of the progressive economic project. Glad I could educate you.

    Now carry on giving not the slightest thin shit about poor children as you feather-tickle the ballsacks of people richer than you will ever be.

  • waffles||

    feather-tickle the ballsacks of people richer than you will ever be

    Does it pay a living wage?

  • Tony||

    No he does it for fucking free! That's the whole joke of you guys. They don't remotely need your help. They pay lobbyists for that. It's absurd.

  • waffles||

    I don't get it. At least the guy who wants his balls tickled lets me keep more of my money.

  • waffles||

    Have you got a competing offer?

  • Tony||

    No he doesn't! He is stealing your money, and in return for that you are tickling his balls, a service he didn't even ask for but is more than willing to accept--now that rich ball tickling has become all the rage among angry white men who will never, ever be rich enough to get their balls serviced and are angry about that.

  • sarcasmic||

    If you care about the poor, why do you support policy that encourages employers to hire people with experience rather than train those without skills?

    Why do you support policy where young or unskilled mothers are doomed to dependence on handouts rather than being allowed to work their way up from the bottom?

    Why do you hate the young and the unskilled?

  • Tony||

    When did you stop fucking your sister?

  • Rhywun||

    Guess what? I DON'T give a shit about people I don't know. Your little attempts at re-educating me into an altruist aren't going to work. If I am poor or someone I love is poor then I do something about it - I don't sit on my ass bitching that no one is giving me something for nothing. Most of The Poor are poor because (a) they don't do anything to help themselves and/or (b) your Top Men are busy keeping them down.

  • Tony||

    Nobody's asking you to. We're asking you to stop being a fucking moron, look at facts, and stop buying into bullshit ideologies that are meant to swindle money out of you.

    A social safety net benefits everyone. One day you may find out to your horror that there are ways of becoming poor that have nothing to do with recliners and cheetos.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I said, and it's true, that there is no noticeable correlation between modest minimum wage hikes and higher unemployment.

    No shit. If the broadly based low range of the open market wage has outrun the statutory minimum, raising the statutory rate has an extremely limited effect. Also, If I piss in your boot, your sock will get wet.

  • sarcasmic||

    The great irony of course is that those most likely to be impacted by an increase in the minimum wage are those who those increases are intended to help: the young and the unskilled.

  • KDN||

    Especially so in the case of minorities. So not only is it harmful, it's also racist.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Wasn't this the initial reason for the minimum wage? Or was that just for unions?

  • sarcasmic||

    Yes.

  • ||

    No words. The stupid is too strong.

  • SugarFree||

    This whole thread stinks like shit.

  • OldMexican||

    In other words, Americans who don't associate job costs with raising the minimum wage find little reason to oppose the proposal; those who expect a trade-off are less supportive.


    You have to understand that most people do not see the consequences of raising the floor on wages because their own disutility of labor precludes them from making that relation between a price increase and a lower demand, thinking more in terms of what would be fair to them. In other words, they're mistakely applying their own economic biases to the problem rather than looking at it objectively.

  • #||

    Or it could be more simple than that. Few people even attempt to think about any second or further order consequences. They just hear, yey! Free shit!

  • Tony||

    I stand in constant awe of your guys' superiority over most humans. You must be so proud of yourselves that you're so clever as to respond irrationally to incentives.

  • ||

    No. Kind of the opposite of that Tony. We recognize that people respond rationally to incentives. That's why it pisses us off when the government misdirects those incentives.

  • TheSteelGeneral||

    Yaaaah rrrright.
    You do the exact same!
    Raising the minimum wage will decrease government, why do you hate that?

  • Wags||

    So 58% of the genpop is logically challenged. I find that number too be low. Also, apparently 13% is full retard. I also find that number to be low.

  • John Sawyer||

    While the question is worth asking, the way the article is couched implies its author might think that jobs ARE lost when the minimum wage has been raised in the past, or that nobody really knows and that this has to be investigated to find out. But this has been the subject of many studies, which have found that past raises in the minimum wage haven't resulted in lost jobs.

  • Diogenes||

    I'd believe this poll if Reason actually cared about the truth, instead of simply making nonsense up, as you do regularly about the for-profit prison industry for which you've carried water for a decade at least.

    It's too easy to conduct a push poll. For instance, the Family "Research" Center is willing to do so in order to manufacture "results" to claim public opinion is on the side of their theocracy.

    Given Reason's mendacity, why should I believe the Institute is any different than the FRC?

  • TheSteelGeneral||

    Very funny, this article does precise what it accuses whoever off:
    it LEAVES OUT essential information, tell only part of the story.

    Raising the minimum wage will increase demand, because low wage workers hardly save, if at all. They spend. This will lead to more jobs.
    Sure, in SOME parts jobs will lost, but not if small business owners are compensated.

    What poor people haters can never explain is this:
    Why do they wanna grow government so much? If Wal-Mart is not gonna pay the underpaid workers, the American Taxpayer has to.

    I'd rather that the company WHERE THEY WORK will pay them than that we do.
    Especially if they EASILY can:
    http://finance.fortune.cnn.com.....pay-raise/

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement