retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times Magazine had a story over the weekend that presented a series of arguments for a higher minimum wage.

An excerpt:

“For years, when American policymakers have debated the minimum wage, they have debated its effect on the labor market. Economists have gone around and around, rehashing the same questions about how wage bumps for the poorest workers could reduce employment, raise prices or curtail hours. What most didn’t ask was: When low-wage workers receive a pay increase, how does that affect their lives

“But recently, a small group of researchers scattered around the country have begun to pursue this long-neglected question, specifically looking into the public-health effects of a higher minimum wage. A 2011 national study showed that low-skilled workers reported fewer unmet medical needs in states with higher minimum-wage rates. In high-wage states, workers were better able to pay for the care they needed. In low-wage states, workers skipped medical appointments. Or consider the research on smoking. Big Tobacco has long targeted low-income communities, where three in four smokers in America now live, but studies have found strong evidence that increases to the minimum wage are associated with decreased rates of smoking among low-income workers. Higher wages ease the grind of poverty, freeing up people’s capacities to quit.”

The argument is that “a $15 minimum wage is an antidepressant. It is a sleep aid. A diet. A stress reliever. It is a contraceptive, preventing teenage pregnancy. It prevents premature death. It shields children from neglect.”

And that doesn’t even count the fact that people who make more money have more money to spend. Which continues to drive the economy.

You can read the entire story
KC's View: