Barack Obama, U.S. president, has long pushed for a higher federal minimum wage, and a handful of a U.S. cities either have proposed higher minimum wages or approved them.
And while Democrats will continue to champion minimum wage increases throughout the 2016 campaign, a higher minimum wage, contrary to what progressives tell us, would end up harming the people it’s supposed to help.
In fact, it already has.
In June of last year, the Seattle city council passed a $15 minimum wage law to be phased in over time, starting on April 1 of this year.
The first increase raised the wage to $11 an hour, and the wage will increase by an additional $4 by 2017.
This will mean an eventual 58 percent increase in labor costs on small businesses, and while it’s too soon to know the complete ramifications of the hike, restaurant workers in the Seattle area already are getting a taste.
According to the American Enterprise Institute, following
April’s minimum wage increase, Seattle lost 1,000 restaurant jobs in May‚ the largest one-month decline since a 1,300-job drop in 2009 during the Great Recession.
The drop came as the number of restaurant jobs across the nation‚ as well as non-restaurant jobs in the Seattle area‚ were on the rise.
Although the minimum wage has increased in only a small handful of cities, companies across the nation are trying to figure how to adjust if more local and state increases are approved, or if Congress passes a large increase in the federal wage.
Executives with Wendy’s restaurant chain, for example, recently explained to their shareholders that mandated wage hikes will reduce the number of jobs the company is able to provide for the low-skilled workers the wage hikes were supposedly designed to benefit.
Not only is the chain considering raising prices, but it’s also looking at shorter operating hours and increased automation in an attempt to offset higher costs, all of which will reduce the number of jobs at its restaurants.
Minimum wage jobs are intended for the least-skilled members of the workforce.
These jobs are not intended to provide a so-called “living wage.” They’re meant to provide initial work experience, or to provide a wage floor for positions that receive tips.
The higher the minimum wage, the more people are priced out of the workforce.
It’s already happening in Seattle, and will happen soon elsewhere.
The country’s labor participation rate is the lowest it’s been in decades, and teen unemployment‚ especially minority teen joblessness‚ is rising.
This campaign season, as we listen to candidates’ rhetoric and head to the polls, we need to remember that even the slightest mandated raise in income will put even more people out of work.
That’s not what America needs.–Las Vegas Review Journal