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    « Up with Chris Hayes 12/29/2012 -- Bubblegum and bandaids | Main | Unintended consequences of interventionist governments »
    Friday
    Dec282012

    Minimum wage hikes

    There have been many arguments lately regarding the announced minimum wage hikes in some states. I heard an argument this morning from a self-identified conservative on a radio talk show -- he argued economically that if employers have to pay higher labor costs, they will raise prices and cancel out the increase in pay for minimum wage workers who have to pay higher prices for the products and services they purchase.

    The real reason to oppose minimum wage laws is that government, state, local or federal, shouldn't have the power to force private business owners to pay their employess what the government officials think the owners should pay.

    But even economically, companies will not automatically have the ability to raise prices. This assumes that current prices are not presently what the market will bear, that companies can at will charge higher prices than they're currently charging. If companies could get the higher prices they would likely be getting those prices already. If enough pressure is put on certain products, and substitutes don't present a better option, and if the demand for the product or services is sufficient, perhaps business owners can hike the prices of certain products or services, but this doesn't hold across the board just because the minimum wage is hiked. Most businesses will be forced to eat the extra costs or hire less workers than they would without a minimum wage law.

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