"Conservatives" vs. an "Economist" on Minimum Wage

California-based reporter Jennifer Steinhauer reports on California Gov. Schwarzenegger's agreement with state lawmakers to raise the state's minimum wage to $8.

"Some economists said Tuesday that the California increase could have implications for the rest of the nation, but they differed on just what its effect might be.

"'Here you have a state that is an economic powerhouse and that is economically diverse. A place that is extremely diverse is ground zero in the debate for whether state minimum wage increases are helpful or hurtful,' said Jared Bernstein, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute."

Steinhauer doesn't mention EPI is a liberal group that supports the minimum wage. But she does point out the economic leaning of the Cato Institute (thoughthe group isactually libertarian, not conservative).

"In terms of sheer buying power, the wage increase announced Tuesday is by no means the highest in the state's history. In the late 1960's, the hourly minimum wage peaked at almost $10 when adjusted to 2006 dollars. Three decades later, in the mid-1990's, it fell to a 50-year low when adjusted for inflation.

"Conservative lawmakers and policy analysts suggest that raising the minimum wage leads to less lucrative employment for low-income workers.

"'At the federal level, when we increase the minimum wage, it always increases the number of people working for less than minimum wage,' said Alan Reynolds, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute."