Santa Fe College The Federal Minimum Wage Questions

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1- Clearly state the issue and briefly describe the most important factors to be examined in this decision. Explain why you are focused on these particular factors – why do you think they are the most important things to consider? 2- Present your evidence supporting both sides of the issue and provide the citations necessary so that your reader can return to your source material to verify your findings. Do not ‘cut and paste’ – present these arguments in your own words. Clearly identify any positive evidence you find and distinguish that from any normative evidence. 3- Identify the assumptions made in the arguments made on both sides of the issue – for example, why might someone argue that the demand for entry-level fast-food workers is inelastic? Do you identify any biases in your evidence? 4- Given all the above, what is your position on raising the minimum wage to $15 nationwide? Do not limit yourself to saying, ‘I support/don’t support this policy proposal.’ Rather, explain and defend your position, adding any caveats or other considerations to your answer. This is also a chance to be creative – do you have a proposal of your own that addresses some or all of the concerns of both sides?5- Assuming you were asked about this proposal by a friend, how would you respond? Limit this response to about 4-5 short statements.

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Yellen vs. Yellen on the Minimum Wage: Biden’s Treasury nominee adapts and
extends her views.
Wall Street Journal By The Editorial Board Jan. 19, 2021 6:06 pm ET
We have our policy disagreements with Janet Yellen, but there’s no denying she is a fine economist. So it
was startling to hear her speak like a fact-hedging politician on Tuesday during her Senate confirmation
hearing to be Joe Biden’s Treasury secretary. To wit, she did some on-the-fly editing of the economic
literature to justify an increase in the national minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“Very minimal,” Ms. Yellen said in reply to a question by South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott about the
employment impact of Mr. Biden’s proposal to raise the federal minimum to $15 from $7.25. As
evidence, she cited studies comparing employment in states that raised their minimum wage with
neighboring ones that didn’t.
But those studies have yielded conflicting findings, and the economic literature overwhelmingly shows
that raising the minimum wage reduces employment among teens and unskilled or inexperienced
workers. Ms. Yellen acknowledged as much during a Congressional hearing in 2014 when she was asked
about Barack Obama’s proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10.
“I think almost all economists think that the minimum wage has two main effects,” she replied. One is
increasing pay for some low-paid workers, and the second is “there would be some amount of negative
impact on employment.” How much is a matter of “considerable debate,” she said, adding that she
“wouldn’t argue” with the Congressional Budget Office estimate that Mr. Obama’s hike would cost
500,000 jobs.
That impact won’t be “very minimal” if you’re among those who might have had one of those 500,000
lost jobs. And that number is likely to increase substantially if the minimum wage more than doubles to
The increase would come as employers are trying to recover from a recession that has left millions of
low-wage workers in the hospitality and leisure industry unemployed. Especially harmed would be those
in the 21 states, mostly in the South and Midwest, with minimum wages that match the federal rate.
Ms. Yellen no doubt feels she has to sell her new boss’s economic policies, and on Tuesday she also
endorsed his gigantic Covid relief bill of $1.9 trillion. The huge increase in the federal debt held by the
public, which is already about 100% of the economy and rising, is no longer of much concern to
America’s political class. But the main message of Ms. Yellen’s testimony is that she is no longer
speaking as an economist. She’s a politician.

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