Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Minimum Wage and Retirees

Russell Roberts over at Cafe Hayek points us to Warren Meyer at Coyote Blog, and in particular to a recounting of the effects of minimum wage increases on his campground concessions business. Apparently a good deal of his work is accomplished by retirees subsisting on pensions and social security, and work largely for subsidized campground slots and bingo money. He recounts the various ways in which raising minimum wage laws will poison what has otherwise been a grand partnership.

Those in favor of "living wage" laws will tell you that this is an exception. I would counter that most, if not all minimum wage jobs, are the exception. Few, if any, people spend entire careers working for minimum wage and raising a family. This is a caricature advanced by statists playing to emotions in order to advance government coercion as a factor in voluntary exchange between employers and employees. And even if you do consider retirees and students to be the "exception", there is never any provision made to exempt these folks from the laws.

Meyer presents us with a great case study of the unintended consequences of good intentions.


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