Don't Let Congress Hurt the Economy with a Minimum Wage Hike
Posted in the Levelland Forum
#1 Jan 7, 2007
Contrary to the wishful thinking of those backing a hike in the minimum wage, such mandates have been shown to do little or nothing to raise the living standards of low-wage workers. Instead, it is likely that employers will react to higher government-imposed costs by increasing automation, getting rid of less efficient employees, or simply picking up and moving overseas.
One common misperception among the general public is that workers tend to remain at the minimum wage over the long run. According to research by William Even of Miami University of Ohio and David Macpherson of Florida State University, of the youngest and most inexperienced workers (age 16-18), 11.6 percent earn the minimum wage. As workers age, however, that proportion shrinks -- 99.3 percent earn more than the minimum at ages 46-55. The percentage of those earning the minimum wage also declines as workers achieve higher levels of education -- from 6.2 percent for those who have not finished high school to just 1.5 percent for high school graduates.
This evidence, among other studies, shows that the minimum wage is not the anti-poverty tool that some would have you believe. After all, if mandated wages really pulled workers out of poverty, why stop at $7.25 an hour? Why not mandate a wage of $40,000 annually? The damage done by a small increase in mandated wages may be relatively minor within the overall economic picture, but if Congress were to mandate a $40,000 annual wage, massive unemployment and economic dislocation would be the immediate result. The laws of economics do not cease to exist on the continuum from a wage of $5.15 an hour to $40,000 annually. Government mandated minimum wages constitute poor public policy and should be opposed.
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January 11, 2007
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