Walter E. Williams

There's a better explanation for Speaker Pelosi's position that has nothing to do with the possible fickleness of the law of demand. StarKist, which owns one of the two Samoan packing plants, has been a big opponent of increases in the U.S. minimum wage. Del Monte, its parent company, is headquartered in Speaker Pelosi's San Francisco district. Chicken of the Sea is based in Southern California. It's not unreasonable to guess that Speaker Pelosi's position has to do with the interests of her well-heeled constituents. In any case, Samoans are off the hook for now because the proposed legislation enacting a higher minimum wage didn't pass Congress.

Many minimum wage supporters, like the Speaker, are hypocrites, but most supporters are decent people with an honest concern for the well-being of their fellow man. True compassion for our fellow man requires that we examine not the intentions behind public policy but the effects of that policy. There's no question that Congress can mandate the minimum wage at which a person is hired, but Congress hasn't found a way to mandate that a person have a level of productivity commensurate with the wage. Moreover, Congress hasn't chosen to mandate that an employer hire a person whose productivity is less than the minimum wage. This means higher minimum wages cause unemployment for the least-skilled workers.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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