Monday, June 09, 2008

Where's My Summer Job

Kristen Lopez Eastlick:
Finals week is over; summer is here. And thanks to misguided politicians, your teenager is more likely to be sitting in front of the television than waiting tables or scooping ice cream.

This year, it’s harder than ever for teens to find a summer job. Researchers at Northeastern University described summer 2007 as “the worst in post-World War II history” for teen summer employment, and those same researchers say that 2008 is poised to be “even worse.”

[. . . ]

One of the prime reasons for this drastic employment drought is the mandated wage hikes that policymakers have forced down the throats of local businesses. Economic research has shown time and again that increasing the minimum wage destroys jobs for low-skilled workers while doing little to address poverty.

According to economist David Neumark of the University of California-Irvine for every 10 percent increase in the minimum wage, employment for high school dropouts and young black adults and teenagers falls by 8.5 percent. In the past 11 months alone, the United States minimum wage has increased by more than twice that amount.

Sad, eh? Demand curves, even demand curves for young summer employees have negative slopes.

Our fearless leaders in Washington are talking recession, they are concerned for the unemployed, and yet, they have also chosen public policy that makes more unemployed workers than would otherwise be the case. Oh, well, don't worry, be happy for those fearless leaders. Perhaps they know what a great job they have. They get to make policy that creates results they don't want only to be able to make more policy to fix the bad policy results they created earlier. There just always seems to be something to do in Washington. Especially since too few voters seem to understand the economic world.

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