So I am compelled back to my own blog because I had created a sort of minor dust up on another blog. I waded in a bit on tangential posts about the democrat’s plans for the new congress, strongly suggesting a bump in the EIC over a raise in the minimum wage. In the back and forth, I admitted I had done no particular research on this, and in turn was chastised for not being interested in “facts”. The blog in question (*cough* 2 politicaljunkies) is very partisan, with liberals and conservatives trading what are, in my opinion, very unhelpful insults back and forth, with little content.
So here’s the thing, as far as the minimum wage goes, my gut instinct is that there are not a whole lot of helpful facts out there, because it is one of those big economic issues that are very difficult to study. After the fact, I went to the web to look a little at what is out there on the minimum wage. I found various partisan studies on the increasingly unhelpful Google, nothing on what the Congressional Research Service has released to the public (cowards). The Wikipedia has an interesting page, however. Bearing in mind that the Wiki could be influenced by partisans, I found their treatment of the subject compelling. The page states that almost 50% of economists believe a MW hurts low end workers, another roughly 25% partly believe that, and 25% reject the idea. A breakdown not unlike the overall political breakdown in the US, showing that economists population has its own partisans (or something like that). By the ways, that question was asked in the abstract, not based on a study or real life data. To be sure, the Wikipedia also pointed out that Europeans have largely accepted minimum wages, though the Wiki cited data that could support either side (no jobs effect, a weak hiring effect). And the Wiki pretty well indicated that there have been no break through studies, and the studies that have been done have problems and are not universally accepted.
I can see this too. Any regional study will have muddy effects based on worker mobility. National studies will have problems because of other factors influencing employment at the time. The economy was good in ’96, the labor market tight, so of course a minimum wage hike had little effect. The opposite was true in ’92, but would we blame unemployment on the recession or the MW hike?
The thing is that the MW carries negative connotations with business. Does the new democratic run congress need to alienate business?