Simon and CGHill wonder why the Obama Administration wants to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, precisely:

If $10.10 is good wouldn’t $5,000.00 be 495 times better? And why stop at $5,000.00? Why not a $1,000,000.00 an hour minimum? Think of the economic improvement to our poorest workers that would give. A minimum wage of $1,000,000,000,000.00 an hour would allow the government to run a surplus with ridiculously low taxes.

Well, the reason why not $5,000 an hour is that most supporters of raising the minimum wage do recognize that there can be adverse effects. Economists all agree on that, though many economists believe that raising the minimum wage by a more modest amount either won’t have much of an effect or will have a marginal one. There are studies to support both arguments for smaller hikes, but a consensus on larger ones. Most of them probably think we could go above $10.10 an hour, but few are under delusion that you can go however high you want.

The interesting part to me is the extra ten cents an hour. Why? I suspect the answer is “thinking ahead.” A lot of supporters of a higher minimum wage will want to raise it again before too long and some states will want to raise it immediately. $10.00 is such an even number that there might be more psychological comfort with that number. It’s not unlike how some states are finding 10% to be the cap for sales taxes. There’s no particular reason why raising it from 9.5% to 10% should be different from 10% to 10.5%, but there is.

$10.10 isn’t as comfortable a stopping point as $10, and that’s a feature.

Category: Statehouse

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