Non sequitur

Latin for “it does not follow,” the non sequitur is a common logical fallacy.  The statement itself may be true or false, but the conclusion it purports to support, doesn’t actually follow from the statement.

An example of this would be:

  1. Humans are mammals
  2. Dogs are mammals
  3. Therefore, humans are dogs

An example of a non sequitur in political debate is as follows:

  1. The federal government might raise the minimum wage
  2. Only X amount of people even make the minimum wage
  3. Therefore, only X amount of people would benefit from a  minimum wage increase

The first two parts are indeed true, but the conclusion is false.  As of March 8, 2014, the federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour and it may be raised to $10/hour.  So in fact, anyone making anything below $10.00/hour ($7.50, $8.00, $8.50, etc) would benefit from the increase.  And in fact, at the time of this writing, about 1/4 of private sector US workers make less than $10/hour*

* On the subject of non sequiturs, it should not be assumed that 1/4 of the workforce would necessarily benefit from a minimum wage increase to $10/hour, since some workers can legally receive below the minimum wage.  On the other hand, raising the minimum wage also has a ripple effect, which leads to an increase in pay for employee who make above the minimum wage employers for slightly more skilled employees.

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