Bluecravat found something telling that I missed a few months ago, namely, Paul Krugman explaining back in August that one potential cause of the high unemployment rate in France is that country’s “high minimum wage.” As Bluecravat exclaims after quoting from Krugman’s August post: “Excuse me? What was that? Minimum wage levels impact employment?”
Of course, it could be that France’s minimum wage is too high compared to the one that Krugman advocates for the U.S. Krugman supports Pres. Obama’s call for a $10.10 hourly minimum wage. So how does the employment-discouraging minimum wage in France compare to the allegedly prosperity-enhancing, non-employment-discouraging minimum wage that Krugman, Obama, et al., support for the U.S.? According to Bluecravat, France’s current minimum wage, when adjusted for purchasing-power parity, is $9.30 per hour, a rate that is lower than the minimum-wage rate advocated by Krugman, Obama, et al.
The minimum wage is terrible anti-poverty policy. The thing to remember is that A. The majority of minimum wage earners are not poor (or in the poorest 20%); and B. The majority of the poor don't earn minimum wage. In most cases, the poor are poor because they don't get enough hours or don't have a job at all, a situation that will only be made worse with a higher minimum wage.