Can we all agree on a $15 minimum wage now that it is worth $11?

Various state governors are arguing for a $15 per hour minimum wage. Examples:


Wikipedia says that the 15 number was put forth in 2012. How much are 15 of today’s Bidies worth in 2012 dollars? $11!

Let’s assume that these $15 minimum wage laws finally get implemented all around the U.S. What will happen to labor force participation? Some of the advocates for this higher minimum wage say that it will go up, which seems like a safe bet if we just expect regression toward the mean (see chart below).

Speaking of minimum wage, a reader sent me “Spanish husband is ordered to pay his ex-wife £180,000 for 25 years of unpaid housework based on minimum wage throughout their marriage” (Daily Mail). Divorce lawsuits aren’t lucrative in Europe compared to in the UK/US (see Real World Divorce) and the statutes reflect the assumptions that (1) that people of all gender IDs are capable of working for wages, and (2) a person who gets hold of children should not expect to support him/her/zir/theirself off those children. Because of these assumptions, alimony may not exist and child support profits are limited. Constrained by these new laws, a judge in Spain figured out that she could order a divorce lawsuit defendant to pay his plaintiff under a back wages theory.

Judge Laura Ruiz Alaminos, sitting at a court in Velez-Malaga in southern Spain, calculated the figure based on the annual minimum wage throughout the couple’s marriage…

The separated couple share two daughters and the ruling states that Ivana had spent almost all of her time looking after their family and working as a housewife during their marriage.

The mother-of-two, who wed her ex in 1995 before asking for a divorce in 2020, has said she is happy with the payout after years of hard work.

The couple’s marriage was governed by a separation of property regime, which Ms Moral’s husband had asked her to sign at the start of their marriage.

It specified that whatever each party earned was theirs alone, with them only sharing possessions.

She told [the reporter] that she has now spoken out about her case as she wants women to know what they are entitled to.

Minimum wage seems insulting for the work of being married!

(Note the misleading language in the above. Spain is a “no-fault” or “unilateral” divorce jurisdiction. Once the wife had decided to divorce her husband, she was guaranteed to get her wish and the husband’s wishes were irrelevant. But the legal proceeding is characterized as a request in which the defendant had some agency and control. The most common example of this is in the American media in which a court order following a trial is characterized as a “divorce settlement”, as though the parties had negotiated and come to a mutually satisfactory agreement.)

3 thoughts on “Can we all agree on a $15 minimum wage now that it is worth $11?

  1. I think the default state in European countries without a prenup is:

    1) Both parties keep what they owned before the marriage.

    2) Whatever is earned during the marriage by either party is split in half.

    So the innovation is to subvert the prenup (separation of property, which invalidates point 2) by fiat.

    • By the same logic the ex-husband should claim deductions for services he provided: small fixes at home, driving her around, lifting heavy objects etc etc.

  2. Chick Fil A starts back of house at fifteen dollars an hour. English not required.

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