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May 9 2003



Calls for full employment of San Franciscans

San Francisco, April 30, 2003 - Libertarian candidate for Mayor Michael Denny roundly panned proposals to implement a so-called "living wage" law in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering raising the minimum wage in San Francisco beyond the state's minimum requirement. In a letter to Board President Matt Gonzalez, Denny said, "While I appreciate your intent, these laws most severely harm the people you are trying to help."

Denny went on, "It's interesting that our first minimum wage law was intended to help women in low paying jobs. The immediate result in 1913 was a loss of 6-14% of these women's jobs. Can San Francisco afford to unnecessarily cause thousands of workers to lose their jobs?"

Nobel-winning economists have repeatedly shown that a minimum wage makes less-skilled workers unemployable. They can offer an employer less value than the law requires they be paid; as a result, they are denied the chance to learn new skills that would broaden their opportunities. Instead, the primary benefactors of such laws are children of middle-class families working entry-level food-service jobs.

Denny observed, "Only a free, vibrant and diverse economy with broad division of labor across many small and large businesses can create wealth for masses of people."

He cautioned Supervisor Gonzalez and the Board: "Economics is a science with well-established laws, just like physics. Those laws can't be dismissed by legislation any more than the law of gravity can. To understand the logic, imagine how many would be rendered jobless by increasing the minimum wage to $100 per hour.

"When elected government officials ignore the laws of economics, citizens suffer, especially the poor. The proposed legislation targets the poorest and least-skilled workers among us, and will increase homelessness even more. It's the complete opposite of what's truly needed.

"The best thing government can do for the poor is to stop making their employment illegal."

About Michael Denny:

Michael Denny is a husband, a father of four children, a small business owner, and a Libertarian candidate for mayor of San Francisco. His campaign Web site is michaeldennyformayor.com. Libertarians believe in personal freedom, in both social and economic spheres, and in minimal government to protect those freedoms.