By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
We’ve talked a lot about the minimum wage here over the years but, since our neighbor to the north (New York) approved a $15 minimum wage at the end of next week for fast food workers, it’s time to revisit the biggest flaw in their logic.
Can you guess what it is? Unsurprisingly, Save Jerseyans, the flaw I’m citing was parroted by The New York Times Editorial Board over Labor Day weekend; here’s what they said specifically in response to Hillary Clinton’s own proposal:
Going to $12 by 2020 would bring the minimum more in line with historical benchmarks, including wage and price inflation. But it is a stretch to believe that $12 an hour in 2020 would provide a minimally decent living.”
Tattoo this fact on your brain, folks: the minimum wage is NOT a “living” or family wage no matter how many times the NYT repeats the lie! That was never the intent of it, and the reality of who earns that wage is something altogether different, too. So when the Democrats are out there on the campaign trail waging class warfare to win your vote, they conveniently leave out inconvenient facts like “[t]hree out of four of the single parents working for the minimum wage in 1998 were no longer single parents in 2006,” and “[n]ine out of 10 married-with-children minimum-wage workers have a working spouse.”
Okay. If it’s NOT single parents (as we’re lead to believe) trying to feed 15 kids a piece on $7 or $8 bucks per hour, then who is earning it? Answer: not many people at all! And as we’ve discussed before… they’re often kids (defined as Americans age 24 and younger per data synthesized by our friends at Heritage):
Relatively few Americans earn the federal minimum wage. In 2011 and 2012, 3.7 million Americans reported earning $7.25 or less per hour—just 2.9 percent of all workers in the United States. These numbers include workers who also earn tip income.
Minimum-wage earners fall into two distinct categories: young workers, usually in school, and older workers who have left school. Most minimum-wage earners fall into the first category; just over half are between the ages of 16 and 24. The rest are 25 or older.
Minimum-wage workers under 25 are typically not their family’s sole breadwinners. Rather, they tend to live in middle-class households that do not rely on their earnings. Generally, they have not finished their schooling and are working part-time jobs. Over three-fifths of them (62 percent) are currently enrolled in school. These workers represent the largest group that would benefit directly from a higher minimum wage, provided they kept or could find a job.”
To be clear: when Democrats raise the minimum wage, they’re not helping single parents raise families. They’re forcing companies to pay young, entry-level, unskilled workers – who don’t stay in their jobs for long before graduating school, marrying a superior wage earner or moving up to a better position – and secondary household breadwinners, a level of wages that these companies can’t justify budgeting for young, entry-level, and/or unskilled labor!
But what about the handful of folks who are trying to pay household bills with the minimum wage, Matt? Shouldn’t we help them? Of course! But raising the minimum wage isn’t the way to help them. I’ve already hinted at what happens in the preceding paragraph, and I suspect we’re going to see it in New York shortly. For example, Canada’s minimum wage is through the roof ranging from $10 to $12-ish in some political jurisdictions. It should surprise no one, then, that Canadian McDonald’s locations recently rolled out automated kiosks to replace human workers. Liberals always hurt the people they claim to want to help.
So when government raises the minimum wage, Save Jerseyans, it doesn’t raise employment. Just the floor for wages. See the difference? It’s a biggie! One thing government cannot do (yet) is force companies to hire employees; all it can do is tell the company the minimum it has to pay anyone it does hire. Consequently, what are small family-owned businesses and large corporate dining chains in New York likely to do? (1) Cut hours and (2) cut payroll at a time when youth unemployment is already through the roof (51% in African American communities per Bernie Sanders).
Raising the minimum wage does not help more Americans climb the proverbial wage ladder.
Raising the minimum wage breaks the first few rungs of the socioeconomic ladder, making it that much harder for an aspiring 20-something restaurant manager living at home to get valuable kitchen experience, that hard-working mom to pick up extra work at the holidays to supplement dad’s income and buy the kids’ Christmas presents, and yes, that retiree to supplement his or her Social Security check with a few hours of greeting customers with a smile and a sticker.
New Jersey’s current minimum wage is $8.38 and heading north thanks to that stupid vote you people took tying future increases to the Consumer Price Index. You probably felt good about yourself for helping those poor people who I just demonstrated don’t exist, right? Well, we’ll see how good you feel about yourselves when your kid can’t land a summer job and stinks up the basement playing Guitar Hero for a few extra months… or years… because you couldn’t be bothered to do a little critical thinking when it came to the oldest lie in the Democrat playbook.