Raise the minimum wage

It's time for centrist wonks to be pragmatic

Raising the minimum wage to $15/hour is broadly popular with the mass public, enjoys healthy political support among Democratic Party elected officials, and would on the whole raise incomes and living standards for disadvantaged people while coming primarily at the expense of relatively affluent people.

In other words, it’s a good idea. Joe Biden should do it. Congress should do it.

And most of all, centrist wonk types who feel, correctly, that minimum wage hikes are not optimal policy should do what they often tell left-wing people to do and be practical about it. Some day, perhaps, the wonks themselves will work out a consensus around a more optimal system of explicit wage subsidies and start doing the spadework to build political support for it. It’s a perfectly reasonable idea in theory, and I tend to think that — just like a single-payer health care system — it’s probably a better idea than the current trajectory of wage regulation.

But one can’t let th…

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