To the Editor:
Economist Bryan Caplan developed the theory of Rational Irrationality, which describes the tendency of people to systematically vote erroneously for policies that don’t necessarily solve an issue.
These tendencies are the result of a person’s humane effort to aid others less well-off. Common policies that are affected by this methodology include, among others, minimum wage.
Gov. Pat Quinn has proposed making Illinois’ minimum wage the highest in the nation. Although raising the minimum wage would undoubtedly put money in the hands of those that need it most, Illinois is not in a position to embark on a minimum wage crusade. Illinois’ already lackluster business environment might not support such a change.
You might recall that in 2011, New Jersey Gov. Christie sent letters to 553 Illinois-based businesses encouraging them to relocate to his state. With Illinois ranking among
the top 10 states with the highest corporate and property taxes, Christie’s temptations might still resonate with strapped businesses.
There is a point in which businesses might begin to consider the benefits of relocating to
neighboring states. An increase in minimum wage, however beneficial it may be to some, might bring more businesses to this point.
There will certainly be a proper time for this debate, but currently our efforts should go toward making Illinois a more business-hospitable state. When Illinois’ burgeoning pension system, unemployment rate, and cumbersome taxes are resolved, only then should we debate minimum wage.