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Some thoughts on the minimum wage

– America is a really bad place to do research on the minimum wage. Since WWII, we’re the leading world economy with high growth and a steady stream of immigrants. It hasn’t been until recently that these trends have stalled. The minimum wage in the past was meaningless, and it only means something now because our growth has stalled. It is in fact growth we need to consider, not the minimum wage.

– Because for a long time the minimum wage was meaningless, research done on increasing the minimum wage in those high growth areas will be completely inapplicable, the results are non-universal. What has to be done is find what the market rate is for entry-level unskilled workers, at the local level, and then experiment in a controlled way with minimum wage. Unfortunately, this borders on the unethical. Not that such a thing as ethics would discourage the government from trying stuff.

-Why would it be so hard to have limited lifetime exemptions to the minimum age? Why can’t we make a law declaring that for the first year of employment, there is no minimum wage, than gradually increase the allowable wages. thus, after a few years, the exemptions expire and the individual has to be paid the higher minimum wage (and we can even include a limited exception under circumstances like switching careers or internships).


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