Putting a human face on the minimum wage: Prof Chris Fee writes on Marketwatch
The inflation-adjusted value of the federal minimum wage fluctuates, but is now lower than it was in the late 1970s. (Image courtesy of www.marketwatch.com)
Chris Fee, English prof. and department chair at Gettysburg College, authored a piece on the minimum wage that appeared on the Wall Street Journal's Marketwatch on March 13. Fee often writes about issues related to poverty and homelessness. His seminar for first-year students on The Literature of Homeless includes a substantial service-learning component in Washington, D.C.
From the article:
What is a “livable wage,” and should we strive to raise wages for American workers?
There are lots of conflicting studies and reports. The Congressional Budget Office projects that an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour would eliminate 500,000 jobs while raising the incomes of nearly 17 million Americans.
Even prominent economists like David Card and David Neumark diametrically disagree on the likely consequences of raising the minimum wage, and their studies of results in New Jersey have consistently yielded conflicting results for decades.
More recently, further experience in states such as Washington seem to belie fears that raising wages costs jobs. Furthermore, contrary to the argument that a wage hike would hurt small business, a recent survey shows small-business owners support an increase. Finally, data shows that increasing the minimum wage would cost consumers much less than some predict, probably on the order of a little more than $10 a year for the average shopper.
For the sake of argument, however, let’s assume that there would be some penalties for raising the minimum wage. Let’s say that we should just allow market forces to dictate wage levels.
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
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Posted: Thu, 13 Mar 2014
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