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Foxymoron: Get Rid Of Minimum Wage Laws To Create Better-Paying Jobs

Reported by Guest Blogger - October 20, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Brian

Saturday’s (10/17/09) Bulls and Bears featured a discussion in which guest Bob Froehlich of The Hartford, advocated for abolishing the minimum wage. Predictably, the lopsided panel was in favor of this idea. A like-minded banner on the screen “asked,” “Fire minimum wage laws to create better-paying jobs?”

Froehlich started the discussion off. "Get rid of it forever. All you're doing is tying the hands of business. Let them have the flexibility to make more money. There's an amazing thing in business. When businesses are flexible, they make more money. Guess what, they’re going to hire more people, and when they hire more people, business actually does better. You cannot be for jobs and then be against the people that make the jobs by forcing them to pay a minimum wage. It's the stupidest concept we've ever had."

Eric Bolling agreed, and purported to give the midwestern small business perspective: "If my minimum wage goes up, I’m going to have to lay people off… (Abolishing it willl certainly slow the unemployment line from growing the way it's growing, it’s growing out of control right now."

Julian Epstein, the panel’s lone progressive, said, "We're talking about a minimum wage that will barely allow you to stay (outside) the bounds of the poverty line… During the last eight years, we saw the average working family lose about $2,000 worth of income. Under the Clinton administration, actually, the bottom 20% of wage earners saw their incomes rise faster than the top 20% of wage earners. That was good for the economy. Getting rid of the minimum wage is going to do one thing, it’s going to increase the poverty rates. It’s going to increase income inequality. That’s bad for capitalism. That’s bad for markets."

Gary B. Smith weighed in. "In 1996, a very famous newspaper said that an increase back then in the minimum wage would lead to a decrease of about 100,000 jobs. Julian, you may be surprised, it was the New York Times itself that said this… Since 2007, since they started raising the minimum wage, there has been over 600,000 teens that have lost jobs… Those that have the jobs en masse, we’re losing ground because more people are laid off."

Julian "What would you say to the argument that when we increased the minimum wage in the 1990's, we had record low unemployment afterwards?"

Host Brenda Buttner butted in. “Oh, there’s so many…” she began derisively, before catching herself.

Rob Stein said, "I think let business decide the right wages… Wages might even go up because if you get more productive and profitable, they’ll hire more people. If they can’t, they’ll have to pay the ones they have more money."

That made it four guests willing to abolish the minimum wage to one guest defending it. That’s the Fox News math for “fair and balanced.”