Daily Archives: Feb. 23, 2013

Pro-con: Should U.S. raise minimum wage?

Little evidence exists to suggest that modest increases in the minimum wage lead to job losses, so the battle ahead in Congress is really one between free-market orthodoxy and basic human decency. We would invest our money in decency. In his State of the Union address, President Obama called upon Congress to boost the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour by 2015, up from the current $7.25. The wage would rise in steps and after hitting the maximum in two years would thereafter be indexed to inflation. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage in the late 1960s was about $10 per hour, and it was even higher in the 1980s. President Obama’s call to raise it to $9 is far from excessive. The state of Washington is already higher. Conservatives may argue that the market should set wages, but they argued the feds should let GM fail, too. Working people need a raise. Congress should give them one. – Battle Creek (Mich.) Enquirer

At a time when the U.S. economic recovery has slowed to a standstill, President Obama’s State of the Union speech seemed to come from an alternate universe as he prescribed more tax hikes and costly federal regulations. His call for a 24 percent increase in the minimum wage to $9 an hour would be especially damaging. Hiking the minimum wage discriminates against entry-level workers. The higher it goes, the minimum wage not only raises business costs and reduces the number of available jobs, but also biases the labor force toward workers who already have work experience – or just eliminates jobs altogether. You only need to go back to the last minimum -age hike to see its negative effects. In 2007, Congress passed an ill-timed minimum-wage bump – a two-year, 40 percent, phased-in increase from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour by 2009. The result was a plunge in working youths. To protect entry-level jobs and priceless working experience, Congress should hold off on any new wage increases. – Detroit News