Friday, February 28, 2014

Walter Block Responds to the Economic Policy Institute Support of the Minimum Wage

Employment Policies Institute
1090 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20005
Tel: 202.463.7650

Dear Folks:

Congratulations on that splendid full page NYTimes ad (2/27/14, p. A9) featuring quotes from those signatories favoring the minimum wage law. Really magnificent.

I have a very slight constructive criticism. Next time you run that add, give a more full cite to this splendid article of theirs:
Neumark, David and William Wascher. 2007. "Minimum wages and employment.” Foundations and trends in macroeconomics. Vol. 3, No. 1-2, pp. 1-182;
Why make readers struggle? Make it easier for them to access this great survey.

I also have a substantive suggestion for a follow up ad. Several of the very prominent signatories of that support for min wages (I think Krugman and Stiglitz, maybe a few others) have also published textbooks on intro econ. There, they give the usual analysis: minimum wages create unemployment for unskilled workers. Period. 1. It would be good to quote from their texts, and juxtapose that with the fact that they signed the letter favoring the min wage. Do these people SUPPORT unemployment for unskilled workers? 2. Sometimes, they have been interviewed on this blatant contradiction of theirs. It is hilarious to watch them squirm in trying to reconcile the irrenconcileable. Do a bit of research to unearth these cases where they are caught with their (intellectual) pants down around their ankles.

I have also written quite a bit attacking the min wage law, see below. My most recent attempt (2014) I think is my best one.

This one: Block, Walter E. 2014. “The Minimum Wage Law.” January 17;

Perhaps you can make some use of it. It approaches the problem more via logic than Neumark and Wascher, who rely more on empirical studies, but it might be of some help to you.

Oh, permit me one more “criticism” of you: you don’t have any place on your website where people can contribute money to you. What’s the matter with you people? Don’t you need money? If you have too much, please send me some (J).

My publications on the min wage:

Badavas and Block, 1997; Block, 1983, 1985, 1986A, 1986B, 1986C, 1987, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2014; Block and Barnett II, 2002; Block and Blundell, 2006; Block, Dauterive and Levendis. 2007; Block and Quigley, 2002; Cappelli and Block, 2012; Greene, Henry, Nathanson and Block, 2007; McCormick and Block, 2000; Schuldt, Woodall and Block, 2012; Sohr and Block, 1997. 

Block, Walter E. 1983. “Why minimum-wage law is often against low-pay worker?” in Sexty, Robert W., ed. Issues in Canadian Business, Scarborough, ON: Prentice-Hall, Canada, p. 139; reprinted from 10/25/80 “Why minimum-wage law is often against low-pay worker?” The Financial Post, p. 24;,%201980.rtf/C58EA28C-18C0-4a97-9AF2-036E93DDAFB3/FIN%20POST%20(Min%20Wage)%20OCT%2025,%201980.rtf?attach=1

Block, Walter E. 1986B. “La conspiration du silence sur le salaire minimum,” June, 26 ; Point de Vue, p. B4.

Block, Walter E. 1987. “Minimum Wage Law No Help to Unskilled,” Dateline Canada: Understanding Economics Through Press Reports, pp. 37.

Block, Walter E. 1996. "Labor Market Disputes: A Comment on Albert Rees' 'Fairness in Wage Distribution,'" Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 217-230;

Block, Walter E. 2000.  “Heritage Stumbles on Minimum Wage,” The Free Market, October, Volume 18, Number 10;

Block, Walter E. 2001. “The Minimum Wage: A Reply to Card and Krueger,” Journal of The Tennessee Economics Association, Spring,

Block, Walter E. 2014. “The Minimum Wage Law.” January 17;

Block, Walter E. and William Barnett II. 2002. “The Living Wage: What’s Wrong,”Ideas on Liberty, December, Vol. 52, No. 12, pp.23-24;

Block, Walter vs Boyd Blundell. 2006. “Unions: Social Benefactors or Gangs of Thugs?” November 10;;

Block, Walter E., Jerry Dauterive and John Levendis. 2007. “Globalization and the Concept of Subsistence Wages.” Journal of Income Distribution. Vol. 16, No. 1, March; pp. 74-88;

Block, Walter and William Quigley. 2002. New Orleans, LA, Loyola University, Debate between Professors Walter Block, Economics, and William Quigley, Law School on “The Preferential Option for the Poor: Free Markets vs. Government Intervention and the minimum wage law,” May 7, sponsored by the Economics Club and the Loyola Poverty Law Center

Cappelli, Peter and Walter E. Block. 2012. “Debate over the minimum wage law.” Economics, Management, and Financial Markets7(4), December, pp. 11-33;

Greene, Zoe, Sally Henry, Coby Nathanson and Walter E. Block. 2007. "Negative Impacts of Minimum Wage and anti Sweatshop Legislation" Humanomics Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 83-92;

McCormick, Paul and Walter E. Block. 2000. "The Minimum Wage: Does it Really Help Workers," Southern Connecticut State University Business Journal, Vol. 15, No. 2, Fall-Spring, pp. 77-80;;

Schuldt, Robert, Davis Woodall and Walter E. Block.  2012. “Drowning the Poor in Excessive Wages: The Problems of the Minimum Wage Law” Humanomics, Vol. 28, No. 4, pp.258 – 269;

Sohr, Kevin and Walter E. Block. 1997.  “Minimum Wage,” Freeman, Vol. 47, No. 11, November, pp. 681-682.

Best regards,


Walter E. Block, Ph.D.
Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics
Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business                   
Loyola University New Orleans


  1. Do these people SUPPORT unemployment for unskilled workers? Yes, when it means the vast majority of unskilled workers are better off.

    According to a study recently published by the CBO, raising the minimum wage to 10.10/hour will make 16.5 million people better off and 500,000 worse off.

    97% better off, 3% worse off.

    That's the trade off.

    Nobody said it was a free lunch. That only exists in the "free market" (the place where the economy grows 10%/year and slavery is not so bad).

    1. JW: Troll

      Now that's out of the way, let's take this opportunity to show how idiotic socialist dogma is.

      1. What study? Supply the link. Silly quoted numbers like this remind of those goofy recycling promises that such-and-such green initiative saved 87 million trees. How the f*ck do they know many trees were saved? They don't. They're making it up. And paying some idiot executive with a Women's Studies degree top dollar to do it.

      2. How would one measure "better off" versus "worse off?" Economics teaches us that when a trade is made, it happens because both parties believed they would benefit. If NO trade is made because of a law preventing such trading, it is impossible to know if the parties would have benefited. We are not privy to their value scales. This is so basic a concept, yet completely unnoticed by the schemers and planners such JW: Troll.

      3. Did he really just use the free lunch argument by forcing some people out of work was an example of "no free lunch?" Is this guy retarded?

      David B.

    2. What is your life? Are you happy with what your life is?

    3. Jerry, come clean. We all know you're a troll. Who is funding your trolling? Is it an alphabet soup agency of Leviathan? Or are you free-lancing?

      Really, Jerry. Some of your stuff is downright embarrassing. Aren't you squeamish about some of the crap you peddle online?

      Come on, Jerry. Time for you to show your hand. What's your ulterior motive?

  2. Makes me realize I have been a little lazy in my productivity.

  3. Dear Mr. Wenzel

    Of course Walter Block does not support a higher minimum wage - after all, he believes even slave wages are not so bad.


    Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D.

    President, Loyola University