Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Great Whodunit?

McIlheran, continuing the McSykes tradition of days of yore, cites Sykes, who yet cites another person, named Kristen Lopez Eastlick who blames the minimum wage increase for a decline in teenage jobs. (Sidenote: When was the last time that the so-called "blogfather" wrote anything original? Anyone? Hint to Sykes: Real Pulitzer Prize nominees write their own stuff.)

This is hard to swallow for a couple of reasons. One is that, per the government, the increases are coming in increments, the last one being nearly a year ago, and the other not due for over another month from now. Another reason is that the proof that minimum wage affects teenage employment levels is somewhat in doubt:
Supporters point to a controversial study by Princeton economists David Card and Alan Krueger of minimum wage employees in New Jersey, which found little or no impact on employment. Economist Robert Solow, an MIT Nobel Laureate, wrote in a 1995 New York Times article that the “main thing about the research is that the evidence of the job loss is weak.... And the fact that the evidence is weak suggests the impact on jobs is small.”

There are many more likely and realistic causes of a low employment rate for teens these days. One is that, thanks to Bush's failed economic policies (not to mention spending billions and billions of dollars on an unjust war), money is tight for everyone. Potential employers would be understandably reluctant to hire on any help when money is so tight.

Following this would be the fact that there is an ever increasing number of adults that are also scrambling for work, as overall unemployment rates continue to climb.

Adding to the economic crisis is the fact that such costs such as gasoline are reaching unprecedented levels, causing both consumers and businesses to cut back. This in turn cycles the unemployment issue, such as the recent announcement that GM is going to close their Janesville plant.

If a manufacturer can barely afford to get his product to market, he will not have the extra cash to hire on even part-time help. Likewise, if consumers are forced to cut way back on their spending to pay for necessities like health insurance and electricity, store owners will not even need, much less afford, to hire anyone of any age.

That is only common sense. But even common sense may be too much to ask of the local right wing media.

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