Point of information

I think I’m missing something in this proposal from former Massachusetts governor and Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis on reducing the problem with illegal immigration by raising the minimum wage.

Won’t the effect actually be to incentivize additional “off the books” employees at sub-minimum wages?

You either have employment contraction as a consequence of raising the minimum wage or you don’t.  Is Gov. Dukakis proposing that the number of jobs lost will be sufficient to deter illegal immigration?

I’d really appreciate someone explaining it to me.

3 comments… add one

  • First, let me turn up my cynicism to 11, here.

    Michael Dukakis has a religious belief that raising the minimum wage is good.
    The hot-button issue of the day is reducing illegal immigration.
    If Michael Dukakis can convince enough people that supporting his preferred policy preference (increased minimum wage) is a step leading to their preferred policy preference (decreased illegal immigration), those people, at least at the margins, will support Dukakis’ preferred policy preference.
    There does not need to be any logical connection between increased minimum wage and decreased illegal immigration. Indeed, it is perfectly possible that policy A makes policy B harder to obtain. What is critical is to convince enough voters that policy A makes policy B easier.
    Therefore, Dukakis is trying to convince people that raising the minimum wage decreases illegal immigration.

    Note: I do not mean by this to slam Dukakis; he is a politician, and virtually all politicians are pretty amoral (some are downright immoral) about getting their policy preferences passed. I would apply the same level of cynicism to Barr or McCain.

  • tcobb

    Jeff—
    Exactly. Its yet another example of a dearly loved Solution in search of a problem. If its shown that it won’t or doesn’t solve the problem, then it becomes necessary to find a new problem so as to justify the old, pre-existing Solution. Its kind of like what’s happening between Israel and Lebanon now—all this ridiculous talk of proportionality and humaitarian disaster is a mechanism for being able to stop the conflict in the event that the wrong side starts winning.

  • tcobb:

    Solution in search of a problem

    That’s a turn of phrase I’ll remember. And plagiarize.

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