John Stossel: Reason.tv interview.

A really good interview with Stossel giving his views on many of the important issues of our time. This is the first part which is close to ten minutes, and for those who have more time on their hands, the second part is great as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIkkHt2s-0k

 At around the seven minute mark, a point is made that I haven’t seen made in a long time, possibly since I read, (I think) “The Incredible Bread Machine,” back in the 70s:

Interviewer; … like you can pass a minimum wage law and go and interview the happy employee of Burger King who just had her wage boosted but you can’t interview the person that doesn’t know that he wasn’t going to get hired.

 Stossel; That’s part of it, its certainly hard to show the people who are hurt by government programs that take two cents from everyone or prevents a job from being created, you can’t take a picture of that. But that’s not just television, I think intuitively its hard to get, intuitively the minimum wage makes sense, we want to help poor people raise the minimum wage, its hard for people to understand to understand how that hurts people. …

6 thoughts on “John Stossel: Reason.tv interview.

  1. The intuitive support for a minimum wage is widespread and powerful and presupposes that there is either no cost or else that any cost is ultimately carried by employers rather than employees. If I want to loosen the intuitive grip that this idea has on peoples minds I ask a rather simple question. Which is that whilst remote communities, such as aboriginal communities, have unemployment levels at 40, 50 and sometimes 60% why is it illegal for you or me to create jobs there that pay $10 per hour? Usually I can quickly convince people that the minimum wage should either be set lower or else set lower in that region. Whether the minimum wage should be abolished entirely I generally leave as a homework exercise. Simply because I feel people will more readily alter old thinking before they will abandon it.

  2. Terje; I hope I didn’t come across as a supporter of the minimum wage. The intention of the statement was only to bring out the point that while people can see something positive in lower paid workers getting more, it is significantly more difficult to make the case of the jobs that didn’t happen as a result.

    As was said in the Video; (You can’t get a photo of that.)

    It was pointed out in “The Incredible Bread Machine,” that government love big projects because they can point to them as a physical presence, while the things that did not get done elsewhere because of the resources (including financial) diverted to the government one remain unseen, because they didn’t happen. I may be wrong on where I initially read this argument, it came up a long time ago.

    I hope you don’t think that I’ve been hanging around leftie websites,LOL.

  3. Jim – no I didn’t think that. However I did think you were saying that the minimum wage is an idea that is for many people (ie people that are not you or me) hard to dismiss. If so then I would agree. Most people don’t think like economists and even some economists don’t think like economists.

  4. I’m sure you could still interview those people in poor countries who were hired as a result of the minimum wage laws in the USA. 😉

  5. Its hard to understand what’s so hard to understand. Australia has a youth wage which is set lower than the adult wage, in a direct admission of the concept.

    So obviously the populace “intuitively” knows that the labor of some people is worth less than others. Why they think this difference is based entirely on age is beyond me, except to assume that they are fucking stupid bigots.

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