When you hire someone, you have to pay social security taxes, unemployment, workers’ compensation, and ensure worker health and safety. It’s a lot to put up with. What if you could get people to do the same work without taking on these responsibilities? As it turns out, you can.
Back when I studied economics, we “proved” in class that a minimum wage causes unemployment. But that proof depends on assuming a perfectly competitive market. Big low-wage employers like Wal-Mart have substantial market power; they can deliberately under-staff operations to force down wages. In that case, a minimum wage increase can actually create jobs–if it can be enforced.
The new Congressional Budget Office report projects that the Affordable Care Act will lead to a decline in full-time equivalent workers of 2.5 million. This is people voluntarily deciding to work less–like mothers with small children, or workers in poor health or close to retirement. That should mean higher wages for the remaining workers.
As the economic news in the United States gets worse and worse every week, a lot of Americans are saying “at least we’re not Europe.” To read the press accounts, it sounds like Greece is plunging Europe into a second Great Depression. Greece is having trouble paying its debts, and many people are worried that […]