This Cartoon Shows How the Minimum Wage Works By Kelly-Apr 27, 2021 By Mark J. Perry, emerican Enterprise InstituteToday’s news from the White House is that President Joe Biden will continue his push for a national $15 minimum wage with an executive order that raises pay to at least that level for hundreds of thousands of federal contract workers, according to senior White House officials. The move will increase the current minimum wage of $10.95 by nearly 37% by March of next year and continue to tie future increases to inflation. It will apply to federal workers from cleaning and maintenance staff to food service contractors and laborers, sweeping in tipped workers who were previously left out of the last increase under former President Barack Obama.
The cartoon below illustrates an important, but overlooked fact about the minimum wage and labor markets: Workers compete against other workers, not against employers, for jobs and higher wages. The low-skilled worker below (ex-bus driver Otto Mann on the Simpsons) is willing to work for $8 an hour to help Morris “Moe” Szyslak clean his bar but loses that job opportunity to a more skilled worker/bartender when Moe is forced to pay workers a minimum of $15 an hour due to government fiat (“political wage-setting”).