At the Huffington Post economist Dean Baker is calling for a 20% increase in the minimum wage. “There are some policies that are pretty much no-brainers,” he writes. “Most recent research finds that it has no impact on employment. Even the research that finds job loss shows that the effect is small, suggesting that a 20 percent increase in the minimum wage may reduce employment of young people by around 2 to 3 percent.”
Mark Perry has a thorough rebuttal that is worth reading, but to illustrate that Mr. Baker is flat-out wrong about the minimum wage’s impact on employment among entry-level workers, let’s take a look at some numbers from Wisconsin.
In Wisconsin, like most of the rest of the nation, the minimum wage has increased dramatically thanks to Congress passing higher mandated minimums. As the minimum wage has gone up so has the unemployment rate among teen workers while the average number of hours per week they work has gone down. From the MacIver Institute:
The minimum wage acts as a tax on entry-level labor, inflating its cost. Employers respond to the higher cost of entry-level labor by hiring fewer entry-level workers.
What’s better, more people with jobs at lower wages? Or higher wages and fewer jobs?