John Cochrane hace su aportación a la discusión actual sobre el salario mínimo y la propuesta de Obama de subirlo a $9 dólares por hora:
The point is not to be heartless — government programs or not, life on the lower end of America’s economic and social spectrum is pretty awful. The point is, if we seriously want to address the problems of the “working poor,” if we want policies that actually work rather than spew a lot of TV time and make us feel good, let us paint a vaguely realistic picture of what their life is like. Absolutely nobody (except perhaps illegal aliens) is trying to support a family on $14,500 from a full time minimum wage job, period. The actual economic life of the “working poor” is a welter of government programs, transitory employment, and a lot of illegal activity
And, one huge problem facing people who do work full time and earn minimum wage is the astounding marginal tax rates that our various social programs imply. In fact, much of the raise from $7.25 to $9.00 will be taken away. Even more of a raise to $20 an hour will be taken away. The structure of our programs that are supposed to help people are instead trapping them.
Yes indeed, let us help families to “finally get ahead!” Let us talk about lousy schools, incentive-destroying social programs, horrendous violence, life-destroying incarceration, and the war on drugs run amok. The minimum wage may slightly help the few who can get such jobs, and put such entry-level jobs slightly more out of reach for many others. But it’s just irrelevant to the real, first-order problems such families face.