Monday, December 02, 2013

How to really help

Here is Prof Arindrajit Dube's summary of research that points to moderate to negligible unemployment impacts of a minimum wage law.  Here is Prof. Don Boudreaux's response.  Color me skeptical when it comes to claims that the Law of Demand does not hold.  The intuition that higher prices are incentives to discover substitutes has been corroborated an uncountable number of times.  There may be cases where within some narrow range of price hike there are short-term negligible effects.

But this is all the green light that the class-warriors need as cover.  Their redistribution and price-fixing agenda is way beyond any short term and narrow range. Steven Landsburg notes that if there are no unemployment effects, there are likely to be price effects. Who shops at WalMart and MacDonald's? Not the 1%.

But the deeper point is that the only way to really help low paid people is to give them an education and a marketable skill. It is telling that those most eager to be seen as lining up to "help people" are also reluctant to back the radical shake-up of the public schools that might make a difference to the very poorest. The Obama Justice Department fights school voucher programs where and when it can.

Meaningful shake-up has to be bottom-up-demand-driven. This means choice and empowering the parents.  Shake-up from the top is Obamacare.  The difference between schooling and education is best identified by parents, not the people responsible for the current state of the public schools in poor neighborhoods.


Here is Pritchett discussing his book with Russ Roberts.