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The government officials who knowingly granted pension benefits to public-employee unions that could not be paid are examples of this kind of corruption (e.g., Detroit).

Mr. Obama’s new budget adds to the long-term problem of “entitlement” funding. Competent economists and actuaries (including those in government) who have looked at the problem correctly say that the current course is unsustainable.

A responsible Congress and administration would not continue on this course — but most members of both parties will vote to continue toward disaster because they are making a bet that they will benefit politically in the short run, by not making the necessary cutbacks — and the disaster will occur on someone else’s watch.

Those who can think logically (including most, but not all, economists) understand that it is possible to make a few (the politically favored) better off by raising the minimum wage, but most others (particularly the least skilled) will be worse off.

Joseph Sabia, an expert on the minimum wage, wrote in the March edition of the Cato Tax and Budget Bulletin: “The minimum wage fails to reduce net poverty because of its adverse effects on employment and poor ability to target workers living in households below the poverty threshold.”

Only corrupt and uncaring members of the government class would make it illegal for a person to accept a job that they want (particularly if there are no other jobs available), because it does not meet some politically decided arbitrary “minimum wage.”

There is at least a 2,000-year history of politicians imposing various forms of wage and price controls in attempt to deny market reality — almost all of them ending badly. The minimum wage is also a denial of a basic human right — that is, the liberty to sell one’s labor in order to survive, and better one’s self, or learn a new craft.

Richard W. Rahn is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth.