A High Minimum Wage Is Not the Same as a High Wage

    Check out this chart from Vox:

    America is last! Hard to believe that U.S. workers are worse off than those in Romania or Costa Rica or Poland or Colombia. In an attached video, Vox notes that if only Americans had adopted a European-style formula, our minimum wage would already match that of Latvia’s.

    Even if you support the Democrats’ plans to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15, a “minimum wage ratio to average wage” tells us next to nothing useful, since statutory wage floors are just arbitrary political creations. Because we have a low national minimum wage, but we still have high incomes, America is assured a place at the bottom end of the chart. Why would we look at it that way?

    In reality, the wage floor is zero. And in that reality, the U.S. has higher average annual wages than every country on Vox’s chart other than the wealthy city-state of Luxembourg. We are near the top in every survey of median per-capita income with countries such as Sweden (no national minimum wage, but sector by sector negotiations), Denmark (ditto), and Norway (ditto, plus generous oil checks.) We generally have lower unemployment than most nations on Vox’s list. We have higher growth than all of them. There are thousands of reasons why some nations do better than others. This chart, however, only proves that it has nothing to do with a minimum wage.

    David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

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