Minimum Wage Laws Are Immoral

Here is an open letter to a respected friend with whom I have strong differences about minimum wage laws. It was recently published at the Learn Liberty blog. A slice:

Your indignation at allowing companies to pay (and workers to accept) wages below “a living wage” seems based in an assumption that all employers can afford to pay higher wages. If that were true, the indignation might be justified. But it’s false. Always there are businesses that are just barely covering their costs, and they have to close if minimum wage laws force up their labor costs. When they close, their workers lose their jobs. That’s bad for those workers. Yes, minimum-wage workers who keep their jobs will enjoy higher wages when minimum wages rise, but some workers will lose their wages altogether. This is what I had in mind by saying minimum wage laws are immoral: no one has a right to deny those workers the opportunity to work.

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