Monday, July 02, 2007

Being a Progressive

Via Craig Newmark, an interesting article on some of the impacts of Illinois' increase in the minimum wage. The effects are and were utterly predicatble and predicted, but what I find fascinating are the justifications minimizing the impact.

"We're definitely one of the more progressive states in this regard," said Illinois Department of Labor spokeswoman Anjali Julka.

The governor's office referred minimum wage calls to Julka. She said she was unfamiliar with the Rely Services situation but that the wage increase is estimated to benefit nearly 650,000 workers.

She said any impact on businesses should be minimal because minimum wage earners represent just a small percent of the workforce. Illinois has nearly 6 million workers, excluding farm jobs.

The obvious effects are that people who were employable at wages below the new minimum wage might well not be now; and this impact has hit several people, per the article. Thus, those who will be hurt the most are at the bottom edge of the working class in Illinois, but according to this person pleased with her state's "progressiveness", there aren't very many of them.

The ones to benefit most are surely those whose employers bite the bullet and do not lay off their employees working for less than the new minimum wage. But apparently there are not very many of them either.

Yet somehow 650,000 people will benefit - who are they? It would appear the change will potentially drive prices up, thereby harming most consumers.

Of course, as the progressive points out, these are all small effects. I doubt they would show up strongly in any overall statistics.

But they sure showed up strongly for over 100 people near Carlinville.

Another quote, this time from the governor:

I'm proud that in Illinois, we've kept our promise to help working people and make their lives easier after years of neglect at the federal level. As Illinois' minimum wage moves up to $7.50 an hour ... it will be a little easier for thousands of Illinois families to pay their bills, put food on the table or buy clothes for their kids.

Not for the 100 people in Carlinville.

This is what passes for progressivism?


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