Thomas Sowell
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In general, people earning the minimum wage have been a declining proportion of the population during the past quarter century. In absolute numbers, they have declined from 7.8 million to just over 2 million, even though the population as a whole has been growing.

Some people want to preserve historic buildings and others want to preserve forests or art. But the liberal media and intelligentsia are strenuously trying to preserve the vision of poverty and economic distress.

Why these desperate attempts to preserve poverty as a vision while it is eroding as a reality? Because it is "the poor" who give the left its moral authority and political clout. The very phrase "the poor" suggests that we are talking about some permanent group of people rather than transients in low income brackets who will be in higher income brackets in a few more years.

The poor are the very lifeblood of the left, attracting activists, support among the intelligentsia, and -- perhaps most important -- allowing the left to indulge in self-congratulation as people who "care." But, if they really cared, they would want to know what the facts are and what the actual consequences of their various nostrums are.

People who truly cared would want to know what the actual consequences of minimum wage laws are -- on which there is evidence from around the world that it creates unemployment. But why risk a heady vision over mere facts?

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Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate