The well-written 7/29/14 minimum wage letter in the NJ Star-Ledger by Joseph F. Benning (yesterday’s post) cited solid economic theory to back up his opposition to minimum wage laws. Correspondent greg102 offered supportive remarks in the comments section, noting “The letter is correct--according to Economics 101 labor is like any other resource or input and follows the law of supply and demand.”
In reply, correspondent Dellsey wrote (a bit sarcastically), “You're citing intro to economics as your defense of your opinion on a complex national issue that affects millions of people?”
This is the classic economics-moral dichotomy, dressed up in a collectivist wardrobe: Who cares about theory (reason) when people’s well-being is at stake?
Statists who want to impose their values on others always rely on collectivist catchphrases to justify interfering in other people’s lives. This is not a "complex national issue." It is an individual issue. The financial terms of employment offered and the decision on whether or not to accept the terms is morally and rightfully a matter only between the individual employers and job seekers involved. The only interest a proper government has is in protecting individual rights, such as enforcing voluntary contracts and making laws against fraud and breach of contract.
One point I didn’t make is that, while economics certainly can be complex, the moral issue is quite simple and straight-forward.
What Accounts for Many Americans’ Moral Schizophrenia?