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Support for $15 Minimum Wage Plummets When Americans Are Told Its Economic Impact

The minimum wage’s apparent popularity might be political pyrite.
2 ¾ min

Minimum wage laws, I’ve noted, are popular with the public. This no doubt explains why House Democrats passed a bill Thursday that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Yet the minimum wage’s apparent popularity might be political pyrite (fool’s gold).

A newly published Business Insider survey found that support for the minimum wage wilts when Americans—both Republicans and Democrats—are told of its full economic impact.

Of the 1,100 poll respondents, 63 percent supported raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Just 22 percent opposed the policy.

However, when told of the Congressional Budget Office’s recent finding that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would cost an estimated 1.3 million jobs, respondents soured on the policy.

"After being told that "a proposed policy" to raise the minimum wage could lead to 1.3 million job losses, people were considerably less enthusiastic. Thirty-seven percent of respondents would support a policy with those implications, considerably down from the 63% who backed a $15 minimum wage."

Minimum wage laws, I’ve noted, are popular with the public. This no doubt explains why House Democrats passed a bill Thursday that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Yet the minimum wage’s apparent popularity might be political pyrite (fool’s gold).

A newly published Business Insider survey found that support for the minimum wage wilts when Americans—both Republicans and Democrats—are told of its full economic impact.

Of the 1,100 poll respondents, 63 percent supported raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Just 22 percent opposed the policy.

However, when told of the Congressional Budget Office’s recent finding that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would cost an estimated 1.3 million jobs, respondents soured on the policy.

After being told that "a proposed policy" to raise the minimum wage could lead to 1.3 million job losses, people were considerably less enthusiastic. Thirty-seven percent of respondents would support a policy with those implications, considerably down from the 63% who backed a $15 minimum wage.

The CBO, which projected that job losses could be as high as 3.7 million, explained in their report who would be most affected by the minimum wage hike.

The $15 option would alter employment more for some groups than for others. Almost 50 percent of the newly jobless workers in a given week—600,000 of 1.3 million—would be teenagers (some of whom would live in families with income well above the poverty threshold). Employment would also fall disproportionately among part-time workers and adults without a high school diploma.

If Business Insider’s survey is accurate, it provides a roadmap for defeating minimum wage laws: Educate people on the economic consequences of the minimum wage. For better or worse, with more states and cities adopting such policies, it appears we’ll soon have an abundance of new empirical evidence.

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This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

[Image credit: Nick Youngson via Picpedia.org | CC BY-SA 3.0

Jon Miltimore

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has appeared in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Washington Times.

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MarcusULane
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This article is a bit one-sided and a little misleading. First, a relevant distinction: The BLM claims 434,000 workers earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. About 1.3 million had wages below the federal minimum. Together, these 1.7 million workers with wages at or below the federal minimum made up 2.1% of hourly...less than 1% of all US workers. Effects in the minimum wage to the overall economy, even when adding a trickle-up result, are next to nothing. This doesn’t account for states minimum wages above that. The assertions in the article portray job loss that isn’t certain from real-world examples. Also, the info cited may be empirical through observation. But its meaningless since it doesn’t show direct connections to wages (cause and effect) and is, therefore, anecdotal...what other factors took place at that time? I have no doubt there can/will job losses. That is how capitalism is supposed to work, while also trying to minimize the deleterious to society. “Free market,” on the other hand, would be less beneficial. Read the actual CBO report, and you see there is no certainty. Here is a good bit to know: “Why Are the Outcomes Uncertain? There are two main reasons why CBO’s median estimates of the effects of increases in the minimum wage on employment are uncertain. First, future wage growth under current law is uncertain. If wages grow faster than CBO projects, then wages in 2025 will be higher under current law than CBO anticipates. In that case, increases in the federal minimum wage would have smaller effects on employment than CBO expects. If wages grow more slowly than CBO projects, the options would have larger effects on employment than CBO expects.” The CBO report is not an end all be all. Reading it indicates there are no absolute or deterministic outcomes. It does help in mapping the best possible path forward. Jon, your article is purposely misleading for your own outcome, or just poorly thought out.
 
 

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