There's been some talk recently about demands to raise the minimum wage
As more and more Americans find themselves working part time low paying service sector jobs, like those of the MacDonald's workers, the demands to raise the MW will probably increase.
The two main criticisms of this are that it will either raise the price of whatever the business in question is selling, or create dis-employment that will suppress wages elsewhere, or leave people without jobs entirely.
I don't buy the first argument, since contra-marx the prices of goods are not determined by costs of production but, generally by the price that the producer thinks will maximize his profits [at least generally]. But the second argument carries a great deal more water, especially since it explains how workers wages/salaries can increase but the costs of business can remain constant.
I'm not actually going to attempt to refute the idea that raising the minimum wage will cause unemployment.
Now it may be that it does raise unemployment but the benefits to those still employed are greater than harm done to those who lost their job. I'm not going to make that argument either. For one, whether that would be better is a value judgement. Secondly, I don't have the evidence to prove it's true
Instead I'm going to argue that if we compare the two possibilities, raising the Minimum wage is still a good idea.
Obviously if it's the case that MW increases have little to no effect on employment, increasing the MW is pretty harmless.
If it DOES cause unemployment, *noticeable* unemployment. Two things will happen, both of which in my view are positive.
1. It will prove the economists right. [The ones who predicted such an outcome anyway]
2. It will punish those working minimum wage for their economic illiteracy.
And of course if larger minimum wage increases cause more unemployment, all the more reason to jack them up.
If #2 causes you to raise an eyebrow, consider that opponents of the minimum wage are generally perceived as being heartless. In my mind, since this accusation is not going to die as long as the minimum wage is debated, people who oppose the minimum wage might as well embrace the dark side and become the fiendish villains everyone else thinks they are. And what better way to do that then support something like a 30 dollar minimum wage?
I think it more likely that the economists predicting greater unemployment from a raise in the MW are correct. Call me psychotic, but I think it's more important in the long run to prove a point than to act like a compassionate economist, all the while losing popularity.