Jobs for kids? Try cutting the minimum wage

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The Boston Globe remains an unapologetic public-relations arm for government at all levels. Yet another story in today’s paper unquestioningly feeds us the government line that government funding is a requirement for kids aged 14-21 to get summer jobs.

It opens with the obligatory anecdote – the teen who suggests that if government hadn’t provided a job for him, he would have spent last summer either idle or hanging out on the street, getting in trouble.

See, your tax dollars are hard at work not only transforming the lives of teens, but cutting crime!

It bemoaned the fact that funding for YouthWorks, the state jobs program, has declined from $8 million to $6 million this year – largely because one-time federal stimulus funds, which were supposedly going to stimulate the private, not public sector, went away. That means even though government will “create” 3,000 youth jobs this summer, it will be 1,900 fewer than last year.

But nowhere does the story even raise the possibility that a major reason kids have a tough time finding a summer job is because the state has set the minimum wage so high – $8 an hour, which is 75 cents more than the federal minimum. There is no waiver for kids who are obviously not supporting families and for whom real job training would be much more valuable than a couple more bucks an hour.

The story never even questions whether these are real jobs – would these companies, or government-funded agencies, be hiring if government wasn’t paying for it?

It is a perverse system that confiscates more money from businesses through higher taxes and fees, undermines their competitiveness and financial stability by dictating to them what they have to pay entry level employees, and then turns around and takes credit for supposedly creating jobs because for some reason nobody is hiring the kids.

If government lifted its heavy hand on business, companies might hire teens without the need of a tax-funded subsidy.