Professor Bainbridge mentions two posts on economics worth reading. They would appear to be on separate issues, but there is link between them.
First, Eric Rasmussen provides a very useful addition to the minimum wage discussion triggered by Steve Landsburg's column in Slate. I side with Rasmussen in dissenting from Landsburg's claim that it's "almost impossible to maintain the old argument that minimum wages are bad for minimum-wage workers." Card and Krueger's research did not change the minds of all labor economists on this issue. It prompted a spirited debate, as suggested by the papers in the July 1995 Symposium of the Industrial and Labor Relations Review. Finis Welch - no midget in the world of labor economics - offers a very sharp criticism of the Card and Krueger paper in that Symposium.
Second, he points to Arnold Kling's column at Tech Central Station. Kling provides a compelling, "just the facts ma'am" account of economic progress in the nation, and particularly among the poor. If you are not aware of these facts, you should be. Here's a taste:
Item Percent Lacking: 1970 Percent Lacking Now
Telephone 13.00% 2.40%
Complete plumbing 6.90% 0.60%
Refrigerator 17% 0.10%
Stove 13% 0.30%
Color television 66.00% 1.10%
Vehicle 20.40% 10.30%
Economic progress has been very good to America's poor. See Kling's column for more facts and insightful commentary, but let me add this small point. I would venture to say that increases in the minimum wage have done nothing to contribute to these figures. They merely put sand in the gears of a dynamic economy which, despite the meddling, creates these riches.
And by the way, like Professor Bainbridge, I was once the owner of a pitiful - by today's standards - Ford Pinto. Life is good, even for those who once drove Pintos.