The Minimum Wage Essay

3665 Words 15 Pages
"The minimum wage is something that F.D.R. put in place a long time ago during the Great Depression. I don't think it worked then. It didn't solve any problems then and it hasn't solved any problems in 50 years."
-- John Raese

For many years it has been a matter of conventional wisdom among economists that the minimum wage causes fewer jobs to exist than would be the case without it. This is simply a matter of price theory, taught in every economics textbook, requiring no elaborate analysis to justify. Were this not the case, there would be no logical reason why the minimum wage could not be set at $10, $100, or $1 million per hour.

Historically, defenders of the minimum wage have not disputed the dis-employment effects of the
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The original minimum wage applied to workers engaged in interstate commerce and the production of goods for interstate commerce. In 1938, this applied to roughly 11.0 million workers out of a total of 54.9 million workers. The minimum wage was set at $0.25 per hour.
· 1961 -- Amendments to the minimum wage law extend coverage primarily to employees in large retail and service trades as well as local transit, construction, and gasoline service station employees.
· 1966 -- Amendments to the minimum wage law extend coverage to state and local government employees of hospitals, nursing homes, and schools and to employees of laundries, dry cleaners, large hotels and motels, restaurants, and farms. Subsequent amendments extended coverage to the remaining federal, state and local government employee not protected in 1966, to certain workers in retail and service trades previously exempted, and to certain domestic workers in private household employment.

The 20-percent increase in the federal minimum wage scheduled to occur over the next year may not be the best way to boost the incomes of low-skilled workers and their families. This article explores the purpose and impact of the minimum wage in an effort to discover whether it is a good idea.

Proponents of the minimum wage argue that it ensures a "living wage" for workers who might otherwise be

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