One more minimum-wage story: The Bitter Lesson From Seattle’s Minimum Wage Hike. Excerpt:
The Post recently highlighted a new study from a group of economists who were commissioned by the city of Seattle to look at that city’s minimum wage hike from $9.96 an hour to $11.14 an hour. What they found was enlightening.
To begin with, the economists said, some of the workers weren’t helped at all, since their pay would have likely gone up anyway with experience and tenure on the job.
But the city didn’t bargain for what happened to other workers it had sought to help: “Although workers were earning more, fewer of them had a job than would have without an increase,” the Post said. “Those who did work had fewer hours than they would have without the wage hike.”
Indeed, depending how it’s calculated, the economists found that the minimum wage hike that sounded so generous when passed resulted in somewhere between a $5.54 a week raise and a $5.22 a week reduction in pay.
The tragic irony of this is that those who are worst hurt by a higher minimum wage are those with little education or training, mostly minorities, immigrants and the young. They get priced right out of the labor market by the well-meaning nanny-staters who want to impose a one-size-fits-all minimum wage on the entire country — regardless of the damage it does.
Let’s be perfectly clear about this; the minimum wage isn’t a minimum wage. It is a ban on low-skilled workers taking low-wage jobs. The minimum wage prices many, if not most, low-wage workers out of the market by forbidding them from freely entering into an employment arrangement with an employer on terms agreeable to both parties, when the agreed wage is below the Imperial (or state, or city) minimum.
In what free society is appropriate for the government, at any level, to arbitrarily set a minimum on low-skilled labor? If a retired man decides it would be entertaining to work in the bait and tackle shop his nephew runs, say for ten hours a week, and agrees to take $5/hour for doing so – why should the government prohibit that?
You’ll hear a lot of shrieks that “you can’t raise a family on $7.25 an hour,” which is the current Imperial minimum. To that I can only say this; if you are trying to raise a family on one income at $7.25 an hour, you need to take a long, hard look at your life.
Heartless? Hell yeah. It is (for the umpteenth time) not the role of government to shelter people from the consequences of their own poor decisions – or their own poor planning.