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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Minimum Wage Laws: Economics versus Ideology

In recent years Republicans have proven their unreliability as proponents of limited government, especially where Federal spending is concerned. However, Republicans have been fairly reliable when it comes to opposing minimum wage increases. The bad news is that the recent victory by House Democrats led to an increase in the national minimum wage.

Institutional factors are now against opponents of minimum wages, and President Bush has proven himself unreliable as a defender of free markets once more. The good news is that factual evidence and logic remain on our side. We can win this debate, and this is a debate worth winning. Proponents of minimum wage increases see things differently, but when you examine their arguments carefully, it is clear that we are in a very strong position. For example, law professor Ellen Dannin makes some strong, but false, claims regarding the debate over minimum wage laws.

Dannin claims that opponents to minimum wage increases practice "economics-lite" and have been bought off buy wealthy corporations in an effort to increase corporate profits. All evidence against minimum wages is, to her, fabricated by "right-wing think tanks." According to Dannin, right wingers "stretch facile and sterile ideas to fit all situations." The economics-lite of right wingers "are mere theories (in the pejorative sense of the word), and, unlike scientific theories, they have no evidence to support them." Given the contempt that Dannin exhibits towards her opponents, one would expect her to make a strong case. Examination of her arguments indicates otherwise.

D.W. MacKenzie

More from the Ludwig von Mises Institute.


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