When Representative Ryan Winkler talks, people listen.
And then the smart people snicker.
He tweeted this yesterday:
My favorite point in this op-ed: low wages do not cause poverty. http://t.co/jBfXzKYSiF. Only an economist could be so enlightened.
— Ryan Winkler (@RepRyanWinkler) September 8, 2013
Of course, he had the point of the op-ed all wrong. Read it for yourself.
The point is that low wages aren’t the sole cause of poverty. In the great scheme of things, they aren’t even especially important, in and of themselves.
Much more important? When there is no opportunity to earn higher wages.
How does that happen?
- When a preponderance of people don’t have the tools to do better themselves. For example, when our overpriced education system continually short-changes them. Especially minority kids, who have both the highest poverty rates and are the most systematically shortchanged by the education system Ryan Winkler’s party designed.
- When mandatory wages for entry level work are so high that the market for entry-level, unskilled labor gets depressed – ensuring fewer people, especially poor people, get into the labor market at all.
- When an overabundance of regulation makes entrepreneurship – starting ones’ own business – less tenable. Like the DFL has done for Minnesota, giving the state the worst climate for entrepreneurship in the country.
To further address the point, though, I’d like to ask Rep. Winkler (or his defenders) this question: at what minimum wage hourly rate will poverty disappear?
Put a number on it.
That’s the question I’d like to ask. In fact, I asked it.
Hopefully we’ll see an answer.
I’m sure we will.
Of course, Winkler would be correct in answering my question “It’s more complicated than that”. And he’d be right – it is. Raising the minimum wage doesn’t cure poverty…
…anymore than not raising it causes it.