The Democratic Party is taking the position that its time to raise the minimum wage. David Brooks does his usual number on this issue. He claims that it is a "muddle" because some economic studies have shown that the minimum wage can be raised without causing a loss in jobs, and some studies show that raising the minimum wage will reduce jobs. Having satisfied his readers that he been objective, by citing both sides of the issue, he reaches a predictable conclusion. Raising the minimum wage is a bad idea because it will hurt the least skilled workers. Employers will refuse to hire them at a higher price. He does not oppose raising the minimum wage because it might increase labor's share of compensation; he is for the little guy. Underneath all of his babble on the topic, is his faith in the idea that markets do a better job of determining prices than government. That may be true when both sides of the wage negotiation have equal power, but that condition does not prevail in this segment of the market. There is a reason why we have a minimum wage law. There is also a reason why the minimum wage has not risen at the rate of inflation. His favorite political party has no "muddle" about the topic. They oppose raising the minimum wage. David Brooks job is to justify their opposition by claiming that it will cost jobs and hurt the little guy. He has no "muddle" about raising the minimum wage either.
This is classic David Brooks. Its always a good idea to go right to the last paragraph in his op-eds. He reveals his position only after he has demonstrated his objectivity by looking at both sides of an issue. He is not an economist, and it is not likely that he reviewed the economic research that he cited in this op-ed. Its pretty certain that one of the conservative think tanks did most of this for him. That is one of the reasons why they exist. Brooks job is to package their work into a readable op-ed that is suitable for the NYT.