The minimum wage is proven to hurt the Left’s voters, but they advance the argument anyway to demonize their opponents and buy votes. Here are some great responses. Note the racist beginnings. Thanks to Glenn for the list!
Intervention by politicians, judges, or others, in order to impose terms more favorable to one side – minimum wage laws or rent control laws, or example – reduces the overlapping set of mutually agreeable terms and, almost invariably, reduces the number of mutually acceptable transactions, as the party disfavored by the intervention makes fewer transactions subsequently. Countries with generous minimum wage laws, for example, often have higher unemployment rates and longer periods of unemployment than other countries, as employers offer fewer jobs to inexperienced and low-skilled workers, who are typically the least valued and lowest paid – and who are most often priced out of a job by minimum wage laws.
It is not uncommon in European countries with generous minimum wage laws, as well as other worker benefits that employers are mandated to pay for, to have inexperienced younger workers with unemployment rates of 20 percent or more. Employers are made slightly worse off by having to rearrange their businesses and perhaps pay for more machinery to replace the low-skilled workers whom it is no longer economic to hire. But those low-skilled, usually younger, workers may be made much worse off by not being able to get jobs as readily, losing both the wages they could earn otherwise and sustaining the perhaps greater loss of not acquiring the work experience that would lead to better jobs and higher pay.
Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society, p.70
If someone has a right, someone else has an obligation. But the proposed right to a “living wage,” for example, is not based on any obligation agreed to by an employer. On the contrary, this “right” is cited as a reason why government should force the employer to pay what third parties would like to be paid.
Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society, p.157
Crusaders for a “living wage” or to end “sweatshop labor” in the Third World, for example, may invest great amounts of time and energy promoting those goals but virtually none in scrutinizing the many studies done in countries around the world to discover the actual consequences of minimum wage laws in general or of “living wage” laws in particular. These consequences have included periods of unemployment, especially for the least skilled and least experienced segments of the population. Whether one agrees with or disputes these studies, the crucial question here is whether one bothers to read them at all.
Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society, p.181
The last year in which black unemployment was lower than white unemployment – 1930 – was also the last year in which there was no federal minimum wage law. The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 was openly advocated by some members of Congress on grounds that it would stop black construction workers from taking jobs from white construction workers by working for less than the union wages of white workers. Nor was the use of minimum wage laws to deliberately price competing workers out of labor market unique to the Davis-Bacon Act or to the United States. Similar arguments were made in Canada in the 1920s, where the object was to price Japanese immigrants out of the labor market, and in South Africa in the era of apartheid, to price non-whites out of the labor market.
Any group whose labor is less in demand, whether for lack of skills or for other reasons, is disproportionately priced out of labor markets when there are minimum wage laws, which are usually established in disregard of differences in skills or experience. It has not been uncommon in Western Europe, for example, for young people to have unemployment rates above 20 percent.
Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society, pp.450-451
Intellectuals give people who have the handicap of poverty the further handicap of a sense of victimhood. They have encouraged the poor to believe that their poverty is caused by the rich — a message which may be a passing annoyance to the rich but a lasting handicap to the poor, who may see less need to make fundamental changes in their own lives that could lift themselves up, instead of focusing their efforts on dragging others down.
Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society, p.544