Debunking 5 Common Arguments Against the $15 Minimum Wage

A Historical past of Minimal Wage Development within the U.S

In 1938, the minimal wage was initially set at $0.25 an hour below the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The nation was recovering from the Nice Melancholy, so with a view to curb what he known as “hunger wages,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt fought the Supreme Court docket and Congress repeatedly till the act handed.

The aim of minimal wage was to create a base degree to guard the well being and well-being of workers, although some have argued that it was designed to guard the lowest-paid workers who don’t have any bargaining energy.

Till 1968, the minimal wage saved up with inflation and productiveness development. Since then, the minimal wage has not saved tempo. The minimal wage has elevated irregularly since 1938, often after Congress chooses a brand new minimal and amends the FLSA. 

Since 2009, the federal minimal wage has remained at $7.25. 

The Division of Labor has supplied a chart to trace the historical past of minimal wage charges. See beneath:


The Results of Elevating the Minimal Wage

There are a number of methods researchers mannequin the impact of a minimal wage enhance, together with totally different variables that researchers deal with, similar to business or the age of individuals affected. Consequently, there’s debate on precisely how elevating the minimal wage would have an effect on employment, small companies and the federal deficit. Listed here are widespread arguments for and towards elevating the minimal wage.

Elevating Minimal Wage Will Kill Jobs and Enhance Costs of Items and Companies

Many arguing towards elevating the minimal wage level to potential job losses that may outcome from companies absorbing the prices of getting to pay workers extra. Nevertheless, totally different analysts could come to very totally different conclusions about potential job losses, based mostly on what mannequin that they use. A latest report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated 1.4 million jobs can be misplaced (0.9 p.c of employment) by the point the federal minimal wage reaches $15 in 2025 and would enhance the federal deficit by $54 billion over the subsequent 10 years because of elevated spending on federal packages, similar to Medicaid.

Arindrajit Dube, a professor of economics on the College of Massachusetts and a analysis affiliate on the Nationwide Bureau of Financial Analysis argues that the CBO’s estimates are improper because of its methodology, and the general analysis {that a} minimal wage hike’s results on employment are tough to precisely pin down. He estimates {that a} nationwide minimal wage enhance to $15 per hour, utilizing the CBO report’s proof, would result in just below 500,000 misplaced jobs.

“…The report’s assumptions about job losses are problematic — considerably out of step with fashionable analysis on the topic,” Dube writes in a recent op-ed for the Washington Post. He claims the report solely seems at a choose pattern of research to attract its conclusions and is inconsistent with the formulation it makes use of to calculate its estimates.

Daniel Kuehn, analysis affiliate at The City Institute, says the general consensus of the consequences of minimal wage are that sure, it is going to end in jobs misplaced—however the variety of jobs it removes from the financial system aren’t statistically vital (though they arrive at a human price that’s tougher to quantify). Employers might additionally soak up the wage hike prices in different methods, similar to lowering fringe advantages (similar to free meals for restaurant servers or worker reductions for retail servers).

However what about these memes of a minimal wage hike turning your $7 Massive Mac meal right into a $20 splurge? Is that true? In response to Kuehn, it’s additionally unlikely to occur.

$15 minimal wage? congrats your taco bell order simply turned sit-down restaurant value

— ?????? ?????? (@yeahrightgirlhg) January 15, 2021

“A wage hike would possibly elevate costs of products and providers, however the will increase will probably be unfold out amongst many customers,” Kuehn says. Costs could enhance, however not sufficient for customers to actually really feel a burn of their pockets.

Arguments for Elevating Minimal Wage: It Will Profit Thousands and thousands, Carry Struggling Staff Out of Poverty

The CBO report does have some silver linings: It estimates a federal minimal wage hike to $15 per hour would elevate practically a million individuals out of poverty and practically 27 million staff can be affected by the rise.

Although the advantages of a minimal wage enhance are optimistic when it comes to the general financial system, it’s vital to notice that results can fluctuate by location. Since some states have greater requirements of residing than others, the consequences of a excessive $15 federal minimal wage might have an effect on states like Kentucky or Alabama in far more consequential methods than states like California or New York, the place costs and wages are already greater.

Kentucky and Alabama’s present state minimal wages are the federal minimal, the place California’s is $13 or $14 an hour relying on the variety of the corporate’s workers, and New York’s is $15 per hour. Greater than doubling the minimal wages for states like Kentucky and Alabama would probably be a shock for his or her small companies, since the price of residing is already low, and subsequently their revenues are probably smaller in comparison with firms the place the price of residing is greater.

Twenty-one states and Washington D.C. presently have minimal wages above the federal minimal wage. The proposed enhance to $15 per hour would occur in levels over a interval of 4 years to provide employers time to determine the right way to steadiness the prices.

Future Minimal Wage

Beginning in Sept. 2020, L&I’ll make a cost-of-living adjustment to the minimal wage based mostly on the federal Client Worth Index for City Wage Earners and Clerical Staff (CPI-W). This new minimal wage will probably be introduced on Sept. 30, and take impact Jan 1, 2021, and yearly thereafter.

MYTH: Elevating the wage will blow a gap within the federal funds and enhance authorities debt

This query is predicated on the identical trickle-down assumption that elevating wages kills jobs that we debunked within the first query. The declare is that when the wage goes up, these droves of newly unemployed individuals would require authorities advantages to outlive, thereby rising authorities expenditures and reducing the variety of working individuals paying taxes into the system. 

Quite the opposite, a brand-new paper out this month by UC Berkeley economist Michael Reich tasks that if the Elevate the Wage Act is totally applied in 2025, it “would have a optimistic impact on the federal funds of $65.4 billion per yr,” largely by means of payroll taxes, FICA , and different sources. The mathematics right here is easy: When extra individuals generate income, they pay extra in taxes — producing roughly $650 billion in authorities income over the course of a decade.

However elevating the wage would not simply enhance tax income — it additionally elevates staff out of poverty, getting them off authorities help. Another study released earlier this month tasks that if the Elevate the Wage Act is applied by 2025, “annual authorities expenditures on main public help packages would fall by between $13.4 billion and $31.0 billion.” 

Many millions of workers in the USA are paid so little that they want the Supplemental Vitamin Help Program, aka “meals stamps,” to get sufficient meals on the desk to outlive. Shifting the federal minimal wage to $15 would yearly save someplace between $3.3 and $5.4 billion in SNAP funds alone. 

Taxpayer cash that proper now subsidizes low-wage employers by means of authorities help packages might as an alternative be put towards infrastructure, schooling, or different pursuits.

MYTH: For those who elevate the minimal wage, the price of groceries and burgers will skyrocket

There’s zero proof that that is true. Right here in Seattle, a 2017 College of Washington research saved tabs on the costs of 106 gadgets throughout six totally different grocery chains within the metropolis, earlier than and after the wage went up. They discovered that the wage enhance “did not affect the price of food at supermarkets.” 

A research by the Upjohn Institute additionally discovered that value will increase have been “a lot smaller than what the canonical literature has discovered,” and that these small will increase in prices have been restricted to the month that the wage went into impact, that means that prices do not creep up within the years and months after a wage is handed. 

And anecdotally, prospects in high-wage cities like Seattle and Los Angeles can verify that you can still get a double cheeseburger for $5 or less at your favorite fast-food chain

Stagnation within the Nineteen Eighties

Since 1938, the federal minimal wage went up little by little each few years. Nevertheless, the rise stopped within the Nineteen Eighties, largely below the Reagan administration. On the time, America ushered in a wave of conservative pondering that bolstered the thought of the free market. The argument towards rising minimal wage is that it might end in a lower in jobs, as a result of companies can be much less inclined to rent extra staff.

“The minimal wage has triggered extra distress and unemployment than something for the reason that Nice Melancholy,” Ronald Reagan stated in 1980 concerning the Truthful Labor Requirements Act.

Reagan additionally suggested that employers ought to be capable to pay younger individuals at a price decrease than the federal minimal wage. He stated that teenaged staff are usually unskilled and a lower-than-minimum wage would assist relieve the excessive youth employment price, which was greater than 18% in 1980.

Economic system Mar 22, 2021

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The Way forward for the Federal Minimal Wage

The Elevate the Wage Act of 2021 should endure Congressional evaluation and vote. If it passes, the federal minimal wage will probably be $15 by 2025. Past that, although, there isn’t a mandate assuring that the federal minimal wage will proceed to extend. If the act doesn’t go, the minimal wage will stay $7.25 for the foreseeable future.