David R. Henderson  

Henderson and Krueger on NPR Today

In Praise of Passivity... Self-Harm is a Luxury...

This morning (Pacific Time) and noon (Eastern time), I'll be on the show "Here and Now," discussing income inequality. The other economist is Alan Krueger, formerly the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama.

Here and Now.

It's broadcast nationally on 462 stations. Here's a link to help you figure out what station you can listen to it on.

Here's the link. It goes 8 minutes.

By the way, I thought Krueger was a total gentleman.

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COMMENTS (9 to date)
John Goodman writes:

Good luck.

mike davis writes:


Our local station doesn't carry it but it is available on XM 121

You can listen to the streaming broadcast from WBUR


There will also be a podcast available later this afternoon at


Jon Murphy writes:

Excellent! Should be a great show!

JJ Welch writes:

I thought you did a great job on the show. Being clear about what we don't know will happen is most helpful to me because there are those who are certain that more gov't intervention will make it better. I doubt anyone who is certain about macroeconomic issues.

Mr. Econotarian writes:

Great job!

You didn't get to mention that people's income tends to rise over time, so any snapshot of income is going to be contaminated by demographic issues. For example, I am sure 10 million or more recent immigrants to this country are making more here and now than they did where they came from. Plus the baby boom has been rising into its highest lifetime income period.

But even if one did feel that "income inequality" was a major problem, raising the minimum wage is a horrible way to tackle that issue. As you mentioned, a large number of the minimum wage are teenagers or other marginal secondary workers in a family. Even if you buy the research that small minimum wage increases do not create measurable job loss, you have to ask does it create a change in who gets hired (the less productive being left behind?) and of course how it affects non-wage benefits. Plus it may have cost penalties on the very people it is trying to help. We know that in the Bakken oil fields where McDonalds employees make at least $15 per hour, Big Macs cost $1 more.

Also the problem of poverty in this country is mainly people working too few hours at wages above the minimum wage, or not being employed at all. A "honest statist" might suggest government-provided child care to enable mothers to work more hours.

The "average productivity is up, minimum wage is not" is a particularly stupid argument. Minimum wage workers do not deliver average productivity, they deliver minimum productivity! Average total compensation per hour has been rising with average productivity per hour.

David R. Henderson writes:

@John Goodman, mike davis, and Jon Murphy,
@JJ Welch,
@Mr. Econotarian,
Thanks. I agree with some of your suggestions, especially the one about snapshots.

Aaron Zierman writes:

Well done. Thanks for standing up and fighting. Tough audience judging by comments on the site.

David R. Henderson writes:

@Aaron Zierman,
Thank you. Yes, if we judge by the comments, it was a tough audience. Not that I didn’t expect that. I think many of them live in a cocoon and so when someone challenges the government monopoly on schools, they can’t handle it. What do you think the odds are that any of the negative commenters on my thoughts on schools know anything about E.G. West’s work? I put the odds at zero.
Of course, what I have found over the years is that the people who do the most calling in and the most commenting on sites like that, when you challenge their thoughts, are, disproportionately the most extreme and most reactive. Notice, for example, that one commenter thought it was a slam dunk to say that I was funded by Koch. This person wouldn’t know the argument against ad hominem if it bit him/her on the behind.

John Csekitz writes:

From the President and his defenders including the commenters on the NPR site I learned no productivity increase or innovation is necessary to increase the wealth of this nation and its citizens- just added costs via mandatory increases in wages will get the job done nicely.

Increasing productivity, innovation and returning those advancements to customers via competitive for profit markets is how (one) $114.95 17in Black and White TV purchased in 1956 when minimum wage was $1.00/Hr (114 MW hours worked to purchase) today equates to these at today’s underpaid/undervalued/ never kept up with the times/insult of $7.25/Hr (114 MW hours worked to purchase today).






But that is just a smokescreen, I’m glad the President and his fellow Progressives showed me how easy it actually is to improve the lives of our citizens through Monopoly Power, a phone, a pen, and Regulations!

Note I had a problem with the links showing up under preview, so I copied them into the post.

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