We should emphasise here that we are not in favour of Osborne's new national living wage. The correct answer to some people being perceived as having too low an income is not to start price fixing, messing with the market. Instead it is for those who insist that those incomes are too low to put their hands into their own pockets and top up those incomes they perceive as being too low. Yes, it is simply moral that those doing the insisting do the paying.
However, it is also possible for there to be very bad arguments against this national living wage. And wonder of wonders The Guardian manages to find someone willing to make such a ridiculous argument:
The introduction of the national living wage has done two things; it has symbolically detached workers aged 21-24 from the entitlements afforded their older colleagues, and it has added another rung to the ladder that must be scaled in order to achieve financial security and independence. While today the work of a 22-year-old is recognised as adult labour, with commensurate minimum earnings, tomorrow the national living wage will reduce its relative value and the workers’ comparative income.
This is made more desperate by the terrible position young British workers are already in. Despite low levels of overall unemployment, running at 5.1% for the three months to January 2016, the unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds was two and a half times higher, at 13.7%.
That higher unemployment rate for young people is exactly and precisely why the national living wage only kicks in at age 25.
A minimum wage, whatever it is, will bite most upon those who have the least value in the employment market. That is, the young and untrained. That the youth unemployment rate is so high is exactly the evidence we need to show that the current minimum wage is already too high. For a "too high" minimum wage will show up as unemployment, that unemployment will appear among those with the least workplace value, those young and untrained, a higher unemployment rate among the young and untrained being proof that the minimum wage is too high.
But that is not why this complaint is ridiculous, that is just why this complaint is ignorant. What makes it ridiculous is the following. If we now have a higher minimum wage for those over 25 and a lower one for those under, what does this do for the relative demand of workers over 25 and under? Quite, there will be a shift in demand toward those now cheaper younger workers. That is, the very thing that is being complained about, that higher youth unemployment rate, will in part be cured by the very thing that is being complained about, the age limit on the national living wage.
As we've noted before the Daily Mash really does have something with their statement about The Guardian, wrong about everything. All the time.