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Your Views: Myths hold back efforts to boost minimum wage

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February 15, 2014

The illusion that raising the minimum wage will harm the economy and low-wage earners is simply a myth. The minimum wage is one of the most studied issues in all of economics. Many “natural experiments” have been studied in which one state raises its minimum wage while others do not. The great predominance of the evidence of this research indicates little if any negative effect of minimum-wage increases on employment.

To confirm these positive results, please review: Do Minimum Wages Really Reduce Teen Employment? (2011); Minimum Wage Effects Across State Borders (2010); Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (2000).

Census Bureau data indicate that 66 percent of low-wage workers are employed by large companies with over 100 employees, not small businesses. Wal-Mart and McDonald’s have strong earnings, continue to give large pay packages to executives and can afford higher wages for their employees.

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek, March 2013: “We pay a starting hourly wage of $11.50 in all states where we do business, and Costco is still able to keep overhead costs low. Costco knows it’s more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover, maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty. Costco supports increasing the federal minimum wage.”

Two decades of rigorous economic research have found that raising the minimum wage does not result in job loss. Objections are essentially objections to the very existence of a minimum wage and are not based on fact.

ROBERT OBLAK

Walworth



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