Economist Thomas Sowell once
characterized minimum wage laws as a disconnected third party (the government)
preventing those directly affected (a potential employer and employee)
from doing what they have both agreed upon.
Legislation has been introduced in Congress to increase the wage below
which restaurant servers and other tipped workers are prohibited from working.
This sub-minimum wage would rise from $2.13 to $3.75 this year, and to $5.50 by
2013. In Michigan, these workers may not work for less than $2.65 per hour
This urge to micromanage the
employment decisions of restaurants and their employees stands in contrast to
the practice of most elected representatives in
Michigan and around the nation, who use unpaid interns to perform a
range of duties in their offices.
An example of “good for thee but
not for me”?
If members of Congress were truly
“focused like a laser” on job creation, one of the best things they could
do would be to lower the minimum wage, or even eliminate it for
younger workers, like those that work as interns — for free — in their offices.
A high minimum wage prices low-income and low-skilled workers out of the job
market. When an employer is forced to pay more than the value actually added by
a particular employee, the job is eliminated. The mandate also has a disparate
impact on minorities.
Economists are in near-universal agreement: Raising the minimum wage, as
Congress has done repeatedly the past few years, almost always generates
unemployment higher than it would otherwise be, and is a net loss for society and
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