Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mandatory voting

"The Unappetizing Effect of Minimum-Wage Hikes ...In San Francisco and Oakland, restaurants are already shutting down" is from today's WSJ.

What do we know? Economic growth is the most powerful anti-poverty device. And poverty reduction via economic growth may be accompanied by increasing inequality (March 16 post). What to do? The mainstream answer seems to be to seek direct redistribution instead -- and hope that it works. But theory and evidence strongly suggest this will be counter-productive. What to do?  Pretend otherwise and push for minimum wages hikes anyway. Sounds crazy but there it is. 

Populist themes are a plague that infects voters of both political parties. Public choice theory's rational ignorance hypothesis suggests that voter turnout and voter enthusiasm  is a function of having a parochial interest item on the ballot. Bryan Caplan's work is even more depressing:  most of those who do bother are not very well informed and see little reason to change. What is to be done? Write and speak out to those outside your Charles Murray "bubble" What is the worst that can be done? Make voting mandatory.


George Will's splendid and logical argument may cause fainting spells in some places. "Inequality benefits everyone."