Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Dobbsian commentary: Nasty, brutish, and wrong

Admittedly, I don't know a whole lot about Lou Dobbs, except that he seems to draw the ire of quite a few viewers. Maybe it's his interviewing tactics that upset people, because his columns are terrifically comical. I believe they come out every Wednesday.

Here are his thoughts on raising the federal minimum wage. Here's my favorite line:

"The myth that raising the minimum wage will lead to job cuts is just that: a myth. In fact, research suggests just the opposite."

Raising the minimum wage leads to more jobs? Isn't the obvious answer to then keep raising the minimum wage? If we create a minimum wage of $20 per hour, imagine the job growth! Just think of $30 per hour! Or $40!

He cites a study that shows areas with higher minimum wages have shown stronger job growth since 1998. It's a problem of direction; it's not the higher minimum wages cause more job growth, it's that higher job growth allows for minimum wage legislation to be passed with minimal negative effects on the economy. It doesn't prove that demand curves don't slope downwards; it shows well-timed decision making by political players.

There are plenty of situations that can show how an increase in the minimum wage will have little or no effect on the economy. I would like, however, to peruse the reams of research that show increases in minimum wage cause increases in job growth.

Dobbs' most recent column is on public schooling. It's no more correct in its reasoning than the minimum wage piece ("And we're not talking only about money...That's why it's so difficult to solve this systemic problem [with our public schools]."), though he does at least recognize that performace-based pay for teachers can yield better results. For an accurate piece on the state of our public schools, see John Stossel's "Stupid in America."

29 comments:

Internet Esquire said...

How do you respond to the position that expanding the EITC would be a much more effective way of helping the working poor than raising the minimum wage?

Matt E. Ryan said...

You won't have any arguments here with regards to reducing taxes for lower income workers. The common misconception in saying that raising the minimum wage doesn't lead to job cuts is looking at the number of jobs held instead of the number of hours worked. An increase in the minimum wage can lead to full-time positions being reduced to part-time positions. While the number of people employed stays the same (or could increase or decrease), I don't think it's hard to show that on the whole, the lower working class is hurt.

I do get a kick out of the "Where is the money going to come from?" argument that seems to follow reducing tax burdens. Was everyone taught somewhere that government can only increase? We can't just cut taxes and reduce government-- that's not an option?

Nog said...

I'm just glad that someone else has noticed how annoying that guy is.

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