Minimum Wage and Collateral Damage

The CBO, the other day, looked into the Democrats’ proposal—demand, really—to raise the Federal minimum wage to $10.10 from the present level of $7.25 per hour.

The CBO found two key outcomes from such a hike.  The first is that the increase is almost certain to cost jobs, to increase unemployment.  While acknowledging that the headline number of jobs lost—500,000—is only an estimate, the CBO said quite clearly that the range of the number of jobs that will be lost from this forced wage increase runs from a “very slight decrease” in jobs to 1 million jobs lost.  Notice that.  No increase at all in job availability will ensue.  A “very slight decrease” in jobs is a decrease in jobs.  Full stop.

The other key finding is this: the

increase to $10.10 an hour by July 2016 would eliminate 500,000 jobs, but lift 900,000 Americans out of poverty from the total of 45 million projected to be living in poverty in 2016.

900,000 Americans will be able to use the wage increase to climb out of poverty.  But 500,000 Americans will be forever locked out of that opportunity, will be sacrificed in favor of those others.  Low-wage jobs—minimum wage jobs—are low skilled jobs, are entry level jobs, in which the worker can accrue experience with which to earn promotion, gain needed skills for better jobs, bring extra money home to the family so the family as a whole can have a chance to climb out of poverty.  These jobs are how teenagers, just starting out, can begin to learn a work ethic, can start earning some money for college or for a car, or just earn some walking around money.

These folks, though, apparently are just necessary collateral damage on the way to equal outcomes for the survivors.

So much for equality of opportunity.

The CBO’s full report can be seen here.

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  1. Pingback: Seattle’s Minimum Wage | A Plebe's Site

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