Raising The Minimum Wage Doesn’t Help Workers

minimum wage cartoon2

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?

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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