From the July 9 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co.:
STUART VARNEY (HOST): Peter, I don't like the idea of legislating wages, period. What do you say?
PETER MORICI (FORMER USITC CHIEF ECONOMIST): Well, neither do I, and I think it's a terrible idea to have a minimum wage. It used to be that economists were against those things, but now the economics profession has become about as politicized as the U.S. judiciary that you were just commenting on. Also, I'm suspicious of this [Congressional Budget Office] study. The reason is all studies like this give a range of estimates, and their low estimate says no impact, which the Democrats can grab onto. And even their mid-range estimate indicates not a very large impact across the whole spectrum of the economy. I suspect the CBO is doing what it did with Obamacare, hedging its bets in case the Democrats are in control. The folks over there don't like conflict. Keith Hall, the director, really doesn't like conflict, and you know, no one has ever sued the CBO for being terribly imaginative.
VARNEY: Well whenever I see $15 an hour go into effect, wherever it is, I see technology come in to get rid of the workforce. Isn't that obvious?
MORICI: Well, heck, how can you double the price of something and not expect the demand to go down? And even to come up with an estimate that says it's plausible that nobody will lose a job. I mean that's absolutely absurd. I mean, that's basically saying in Newton's world if you drop the apple, it'll fly to the top of the Tower of Pisa. If they will -- if Keith Hall will go to the Tower of Pisa, go to the mid floor, say the 5th floor instead of the 10th, put out an apple and have it mystically go up and land on the top, then I will believe that study. But still, the study shows even under these circumstances, that there are going to be job losses. How do you justify putting Sally out of work so Sam can get a raise? By state fiat. I have trouble with that.
VARNEY: Right, and the results are always troubling because the number of jobs available -- and the entry level job disappears. What do you do with all those youngsters who want to get in but who can't because they're legislated out by a mandatory higher wage? I mean, you'll never know the names of those people but they're out there. They won't get the jobs.
MORICI: These are the same Democrats, you know, pushing this, that want to let in all the illegal immigrants and spread them through the country and put them to work. At $15 an hour, without any real skills -- many of them are peasants of various kinds, or, you know, very marginal skills, and no knowledge of English -- it's going to be very difficult to pay them $15 an hour, plus Social Security, plus Obamacare, and all of the rest. You're basically talking about turning entry level jobs to $25 an hour jobs. That's absurd.
VARNEY: Well said. That is absurd. Thank you very much for using the right word. Absurd.