LEAVE THE MINIMUM WAGE ALONE…. In these difficult economic times, there’s nothing wrong with some outside-the-box thinking. But it seems the Conservative Idea of the Week is to improve the economy but slashing the minimum wage. And there’s something definitely wrong with that.

The Washington Post‘s Charles Lane recommended a minimum-wage cut in an op-ed yesterday. Fox News quickly embraced the idea.

Pat Garofalo sets the record straight.

[N]one of the anchors mentions that almost all of the economic research on the subject shows that the minimum wage has little to no effect on employment. The most well-known researchers on the subject — David Card and Alan Krueger — examined a minimum wage increase in New Jersey, and found that “employment actually expanded in New Jersey relative to Pennsylvania, where the minimum wage was constant.” […]

[I]f the minimum wage were decreased, how many employers would simply cut the wages of their current workers, at a time when consumer demand is already low? There are plenty of job creation ideas being bounced around these days, but you can count on Fox News to seize on one that would mean less money and a lower standard of living for workers.

As far as I can tell, congressional Republicans have not yet embraced the idea — given that the minimum wage tends to be pretty popular, the GOP would have to tread carefully — but it’s something to keep an eye on. Indeed, if anyone sees GOP lawmakers call for cutting the minimum wage, let me know.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.