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    Is Raising Minimum Wage A Bad Idea?
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    Is Raising Minimum Wage A Bad Idea?

    August 22, 2019


    There’s a movement in cities across the
    country to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. One of the most prominent advocates
    is former labor secretary Robert Reich who thinks that $15 per
    hour should be the minimum wage for the entire country, this is a bad idea. Here are three reasons why,
    first of all, it would kill jobs. One of the basic lessons of economics is
    that when the price of something goes up, people buy less of it, so, if the price of pumpkin lattes rises you
    can expect consumers to buy fewer of them. This law of demand also
    effects the market for low-skilled workers,
    raising the minimum wage means a higher cost of employing each worker which makes
    workers less affordable than before. Our coffee shop won’t keep a worker at
    a mandated $15 per hour if that worker’s efforts only result in $7.25
    per hour in added revenue. Over the course of the year, a shop
    that keeps such a worker full-time would lose $15,500, so instead,
    it would eliminate that job and evidence shows that employers in fact do
    respond in this way to minimum wage hikes. Recent research by economists
    Jeffrey Clemens and Michael Wither finds that 1.4 million jobs
    were destroyed in the late 2000s when the minimum wage rose across all 50 states
    by an average of nearly 30%, and worse, those job losses were probably suffered
    by the people who need jobs the most. This fact brings us to reason number 2, the minimum wage actually hurts
    the people we most want to help. When the minimum wage rises, the workers
    fired first and the ones hired last are those who employers judge to be
    the least productive, the inner city teen from the lousy school district or
    the immigrant with poor English will be fired before the suburban American
    teen from the excellent school district. So those who are most disadvantaged, tend to suffer the most job losses, this
    reality is compounded by the fact that raising the minimum wage causes
    more competition for jobs. A supermarket job that once paid $8 per
    hour draws more applicants when it pays $15 per hour, applicants who include
    retirees, and people with higher education who reenter the workforce only
    because of the higher wage. Because these people often have more
    skills, they squeeze out immigrants and those from disadvantaged backgrounds who
    are likely more desperate for the jobs, and certainly more desperate
    to gain job experience. The third reason is that minimum
    wage hikes aren’t necessary to give deserving workers raises. 96% of American workers today earn wages
    higher than the current minimum wage, which proves that employers don’t just
    pay the minimum that they’re obliged to pay by law. Employers respond to the value
    that each employee adds, so they can retain the best talent. It’s expensive to train new employees and businesses don’t wanna lose good
    workers to their competitors, so they raise worker pay voluntarily as
    employees gain more skills and experience. But when government imposes such
    raises by hiking the minimum wage, some of the least experienced workers
    will not only lose their current jobs, they’ll find it incredibly
    hard to find other jobs. In essence, the minimum wage cuts off
    the first rung on the employment ladder. And it’s that first, lowest paying rung,
    that provides the skills and experience workers need to
    reach the next rung, and to continue climbing their
    way to a better life.