So here's a typically good Vox story from last Friday on a $15 minimum wage, Hillary Clinton knows a national $15 minimum wage is a bad idea. She endorsed it anyway.. It points out that we should probably raise the minimum wage from it's current value, but that $15 is a really big jump and economists aren't sure of the effects. It points to a few studies of recent hikes and of course there are a few sides:
Economists disagree about whether these more modest minimum wages have produced significant job losses. One recent study, for example, found that the most recent national minimum wage hike — between 2006 and 2009 — "reduced employment among individuals ages 16 to 30 with less than a high school education by 5.6 percentage points."
Other economists dispute that. A comprehensive study of state-level minimum wage hikes between 1990 and 2006 by economist Arindrajit Dube and two co-authors found "no detectable employment losses from the kind of minimum wage increases we have seen in the United States."
But when I asked the lead authors of both studies about California's recent move to boost the minimum wage to $15, I found they were on the same page: The increase was so large that the effects are unpredictable. Neither man could rule out the possibility that a $15-per-hour minimum wage would cause dramatic job losses.
One of the most prominent left-leaning economists in the minimum wage debate is Alan Krueger, co-author of a widely cited 1993 paper finding that a modest minimum wage hike in Pennsylvania didn't cost jobs. Krueger has served in the Obama administration and supports raising the national minimum wage to $12 per hour. But in a New York Times piece last fall, he warned that "a $15-an-hour national minimum wage would put us in uncharted waters, and risk undesirable and unintended consequences."
See why it's a good story? A few points of view, explaining the boundaries of what we know and don't know, etc. And now we come to the bad parts of journalism or at least commentary. Today, David Brooks wrote in the NY Times about The Danger of a Single Story. He complains about politicians (particularly Trump and Sanders) reducing issues to too simplistic causes and solutions. He cites a few things, PC on college campuses, the $15 minimum wage and criminal justice. I'm not sure his examples make his point, but ok, it's a commentary piece. So lets look at his minimum wage example:
Hillary Clinton is not naturally a single story person. But while she is controlling the delegate race this campaign, Sanders is controlling the conversation and she is gradually coming around to his version of everything. For example, last week she came closer to embracing a nationwide $15 minimum wage, though still with caveats.
One true minimum wage story is that corporations are reaping record profits while pushing down wages of the unskilled. But another true story, embodied in the vast trove of research, is that if you raise the minimum wage too high, you end up punishing less skilled workers. One study found the modest hike in the national minimum wage between 2006 and 2009 reduced employment among young people without a high school degree by almost 6 percent.
The key is to find a balance between those stories. Raising the minimum wage to $15 may make sense in rich areas, but in most of the country there will be horrendous consequences for less skilled workers trying to find jobs.
Doesn't it seem like he got all of this from the Vox story? He linked to it, so perhaps it's ok. But notice what he did. He wrote: "But another true story, embodied in the vast trove of research, is that if you raise the minimum wage too high, you end up punishing less skilled workers. One study found the modest hike in the national minimum wage between 2006 and 2009 reduced employment among young people without a high school degree by almost 6 percent."
So from this I'm supposed to understand that the "vast trove of research" says if you raise the minimum wage low skilled workers suffer. Now sure he said if you "raise it too high" but then cites "one study" without linking to it. And note the sentence describing that "one study" is practically plagiarized from the Vox story, changed just enough to not be but still, this is 9th grade level change-the-sentence-just-enough work. Also note, he left out the next two sentences from the Vox article, the one saying "Other economists dispute that" and the link to the other more comprehensive study.
So in a column, arguing that people simplify issues into "single stories", Brooks does exactly that citing it as evidence of his point. Idiot.