Bryan Caplan  

As I Was Saying

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Liberals and Walmart... How Islam Spread: Veeery Slooo...

As couple days ago, I wrote:

But if my analysis is right, there will be some lucky workers who keep their jobs, don't immediately see their wages fall, and get extra health care. It will be easy to run a story that starts: "Economists said it would hurt workers, but meet Fred, a cashier at Wal-Mart..." So even after they do great damage, the politicians who voted for the Fair Share Health Care Fund Act will still be able to loudly claim victory.

Russ Roberts has already blogged about some eerily similar journalism:

A picture is worth a thousand words. So the New York Times Sunday Magazine article... that found so many reasons to love living wage ordinances and so few reasons to be skeptical of their virtues, included powerful photographs of workers who have benefited from living wage ordinances with poignant descriptions of what these workers are doing with their raises.

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COMMENTS (7 to date)
Mcwop writes:

My in-laws (immigrants) work at Wal-Mart here in Maryland. They work there to supplement their Social Security, because they have no savings. Previously, my father in law was on Medicaid (he is legally blind). Wal-Mart hired him (the only company that had the balls to hire a mostly blind person), and now he is off medicaid, thus saving the state of MD money. The work is very easy on both of them, which is nice when you are 70+ years old. You won't see his or her portrait in the NYT.

This is the same story for their two neighbors, who also work at Wal-Mart.

Boonton writes:

Actually if you had bothered to read the Sunday Magazine article you would have found lots of coverage of small businesses impacted by the 'living wage' laws passed plus lots of coverage of the question of whether those helped were simply being offset somewhere else by those not hired or fired due to the law.

Matt writes:

Lightning upon me for suggesting that the NYT has published something that does not promote moving toward the world in Rand's "Anthem," but the article (What Is a Living Wage?) isn't nearly as commie as you might expect. Either way, the author did point out nifty statistics regarding the public's point of view about whether or not to raise minimum wages and the support is overwhelming. You all can add this to your list of "things I know are right (wrong) but I can't make people see it my way." So what are you going to do about it? Gonna blog some? Gonna blog a lot? Can somebody come up with a solution to 70% of Americans supporting the idea to raise the minimum wage some stupidly high arbitrary dollar amount? Write a paper on how to do that, Caplan. (Extra points if it comes anywhere close to making a difference.)

Randy writes:

It doesn't surprise me that 70% of Americans support raising the minimum wage. Again, I say let them have it. If the only people that will be hurt are the people that want it, then give it to them. This is a Democracy. The people should get what they want - good and hard.

Robert Speirs writes:

So, Boonton, were there any pictures of those laid off and the consequences of the law for them? If not, why not, do you think?

Boonton writes:

Beats me, I read it online and didn't look at the pictures. I did read several interviews with local businesses including one dinner that employed up to 60 people. There were also follow ups after the policy went into effect to see how the businesses dealt with the increase.

Perhaps you could get a print edition of the magazine at the library and let me know if they included pics of the business owners or people laid off.

T.R. Elliott writes:

Folks: It's not entirely clear to that either author of this blog reads what they reference. I think they simply find something that kind-of sort-of makes their point and bingo: it's blogged.

I read the entire NYT piece. It brings up the issues. It quotes Reich, paraphrasing: minimimum wage laws are not very effective. It quotes the pros and cons.

And to cap it off, it's not like Caplan predicted anything. Wow. That there would be an article. And article that's been under development for a while.

Great predictive powers. Though I suggest trying to predict something worthwhile. Or that can be tested in a more substantial way.

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