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Two years ago I wrote about the call for an increase in the minimum wage in San Jose from $8 to $10. It eventually passed, with excellent results, as reported here in the San Jose Mercury News: “unemployment was reduced, the number of businesses grew, the number of minimum wage jobs expanded, average employee hours remained constant and the economy was stimulated.”

The article doesn’t answer a question raised by a commenter on my earlier post: with the minimum wage still so far below a living wage, especially for workers with dependents, does this do anything to reduce the need for social services? I would really like to know. Wouldn’t it be something to pay people a living wage instead of letting their employers pay them poverty wages and then leaving the taxpayers to make up the difference (or fail to, since social services are rarely adequate)? We’re a long way from that, but it’s good to see successes like San Jose, especially as the argument is made yet again that an increase in wages will doom the economy–at least, if those wages go to the lowest-paid workers.


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