Debunked! Another Misleading Minimum Wage Argument
In December, President Obama promised he was “going to keep pushing until we get a higher minimum wage for hardworking Americans across the entire country.” A minimum wage increase makes for a snappy political sound bite, but the impact on workers – and would be workers – isn’t something to brag about. Employers respond to an increase in minimum wage by creating fewer entry level jobs, which hurts less-skilled workers. Bottom line: raising the minimum wage hurts the job prospects for those that need jobs the most.
Yesterday, the Washington Post’s Jeff Simon attempted to refute existing evidence on the impact of minimum wage on employment. Using a few charts, Simon attempted to use state-level data on unemployment and minimum wage to prove a minimum wage increase does not have an impact on employment. Explaining the charts, Simon said, “What you see in each case is a state unemployment rate that closely tracks the national rate – despite fluctuating minimum wages.”
But James Sherk, the Heritage Foundation’s Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics, says the methodology is totally flawed.
“No one would expect changes in the minimum wage to affect statewide unemployment rates,” Sherk said. “Less than three percent of Americans earn the minimum wage. You need to look at groups of workers who are heavily affected, like teenagers or workers in the fast food industry.”
As President Obama continues to push his politicized agenda, voters and lawmakers alike will be inundated with a dizzying array of stats and facts. It is important we don’t let misleading statistics be used to justify ineffective policies.