Minimum wage laws hurt low-wage workers

Minimum wage laws reduce employment.

By making it illegal for anyone to work for less than say, ten dollars per hour, government makes those who would only be employable at $8, $9, or $9.99 per hour unemployed. When those worth less than the mandated minimum are shut out of the labor market they lose the opportunity to gain skills that translate into higher earnings later. The skills we’re talking about here are basic work skills such as showing up on time every day, doing the work they are hired to do, dressing appropriately, getting long with co-workers and bosses, etc.

Liberals and self-styled “progressives” need to understand that low-wage workers don’t earn low wages because employers are greedy and mean. Low-wage workers earn low wages because they don’t have a lot of valuable skills, yet. They should be given the chance to acquire those skills.

Birmignham, Alabama City Council recently voted to impose a minimum wage in that city to $10.10 per hour. Art Carden, associate professor of economics at Samford University, writing in The Huntsville Times, gives 5 reasons why that is not a good idea. Read his article for an explanation following each the five reasons:

1. Fewer jobs, fewer hours, or both.

2. Fewer workplace perks.

3. Substitution of higher-skill for lower-skill workers

4. Higher prices and a small impact on poverty.

5. Larger effects in the long run.

Apparently, Huntsville, Alabama is considering a similar minimum wage. Here is guest opinion by Bronwen Murray in which she attempts but fails, in my opinion, to show why it’s a good idea.

What would be the ideal minimum wage? I’d say zero would be the ideal that would lead to more and better employment for more people.  I’d bet that wages in general for low-skilled workers would be higher than it is today because more employers would be trying to hire them and thus bidding up wages for them.  More low-wage workers would be acquiring habits and skills employers are looking for, and in the process those workers would be earning higher wages.

We can’t make it happen, but it will happen on its own if we just let it.

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