In an op-ed for USA Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) says that a $9 per hour minimum wage is not enough. He says, “While I was heartened to hear President Obama make the minimum wage a centerpiece of his State of the Union Address, I believe that his proposal of $9 per hour does not go far enough to ensure that working families can make ends meet.”
But might I ask you Mr. Harkin how the small business owners that employ these minimum wage workers will afford more than $9 an hour? What now small business owners aren’t suffering in this economy? Instead now we should penalize them for trying to make a living and creating jobs for those who would otherwise be employed?
The senator then goes on to give his proposal, “Soon, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and I will introduce legislation that would gradually increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, and raise the minimum wage for tipped workers for the first time in more than 20 years. Our proposal, like President Obama's, would also provide for automatic increases linked to changes in the cost of living.”
But what the Senator and President Obama are both forgetting is that this has an adverse effect on the hiring practices of business owners. With higher minimum wage requirements, this provides no incentive to keep hiring, and in would perhaps even lead to cutting employees from the payroll. When each employee will need to be paid an extra $2 per hour in some places, many employers will most likely have to cut others from the ranks and focus on those they can afford to pay. The senator attempts to fight these claims by simply saying, “Contrary to publicized myths, research proves that increasing the minimum wage will not cost us jobs; in fact, our proposal would create at least 100,000 jobs through increased consumer spending.” But where is your proof sir? You say “in fact” but do not quote any figures or explain the reasoning.
Perhaps the Senator should look to the Heritage Foundation for help in understanding the logic of what a rise in the minimum wage would really do to the workers and their employers. And in fact, if he read the Wall Street Journal’s article about the minimum wage, he would also know that this is not a politically smart move because it hurts his, and the President’s biggest supporters, young people. So instead of making it harder for today’s youth to enter the job market, why don’t we support our business leaders and those currently looking to make a better living for themselves and not raise the minimum wage.
The Wisdom of Bastiat, as Revealed by Great Moments in Federal, State, and Local Government | Daniel J. Mitchell