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October 06, 2010


"The people who think this issue will resonate with a lot of voters don’t understand voter psychology."

They also display their ignorance of basic economic principles.

HS, do you think the minimum wage sets a floor for wages, such that it boosts more than just the bottom? Eg, Say you have a retail store, where the lowest position is minimum wage, say $8/hour. The next position up is $11/hour. If the minimum wage was raised to $10/hour, companies would probably raise both of those wages, because they have to maintain a premium for the higher position.

Seems to me the minimum wages affects more than just the bottom 5%.

You're missing the main constituancy that likes minimum wage increases, unions whose wage scale is a multiple of the minimum wage.

And minimum wage workers are probably less likely to vote.

It's a nice theory, but if you are going to ask people, not just speculating about their wishes, you will find out that you are wrong.

I agree that the minimum wage is BS as a campaign issue. But you miss the point - the minimum wage is a strong issue with the unions, and the Dems are trying to suck up to them. By the way, one of the most entertaining features of a Republican capture of either House of Congress will be a two year series of hearings and investigations into corruption in the Obama investigation.

The Democrats are probably pandering to the Hispanic vote in an attempt to get them to the polls this year. Then the Democrats will stiff them if they win. Sound familiar?

What on earth... don't they know that raising the minimum wage will probably end up reducing the number of jobs?

@ HS

I'm not sure I agree - Roosevelt used it pretty successfully if memory serves. However, that was at a time when there were little in the way of wage protections at all. I'm also guessing that the status factor isn't very large - when you think of the kind of jobs that pay the minimum wage. I would argue that those are low-status jobs regardless of wage, and that people in those jobs would rather see their wages increase and are not particularly concerned with what little status is conferred through marginal wage differences.

Also, $11/hr is actually more than a little more than the $7.25/hr federal minimum. That is a 35% difference, which I think is sizable. When we saw the federal minimum go up $2/hr from 2007-9 it was much smaller than the increase to a hypothetical $11/hr you are talking about.

My point is that I don't think you can argue, based on your premise, that current low-wage workers will be against minimum wages increases for the reason you cite. That is not to say you may not be correct, I just don't think that particular psychoeconomic argument holds up - nor do I have any idea how marginal federal minimum wage increases might affect the economy at large.


Only about 5% of workers earn FEDERAL minimum wage. The Western and Northeastern blue states usually have higher minimum wages, which will go up if the federal minimum is raised. I think this issue is being used to drive hispanics, blacks, and young people to the voting booth. I doubt most middle class whites care, unless the own a small business. The increases are usually small and occur over several years.

"People who make a little bit more than the minimum wage don’t want the minimum wage to increase because they are proud of the fact that they make $11/hour and they are not minimum wage employees. If you raise the minimum wage to $11/hour, this means that they suddenly become minimum wage employees themselves, the lowest of the low."

That's retarded, people (especially people earning $11/hour) don't engage in that kind of status calculus. Honestly, have you ever heard anyone explicitly say this?

Also those whose pay is contracturally a multiple of the minimum wage.

What Jonathan said. The minimum wage polls well. Particularly among those that make close to the minimum wage whose wages (assuming they don't lose their jobs) will go up so that their job's wages stay above minimum wage. Just about everybody around me got a raise when the minimum wage increased from $4.25 to $4.75 to $5.15. I'd imagine the same is true now.

"What on earth... don't they know that raising the minimum wage will probably end up reducing the number of jobs?"

A feature not a bug. This discourages low skill immigration and increases support for deporting illegals.

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