The latest gripe about President Obama’s “lawless” presidency is his executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors. The argument on the right against raising the minimum wage is that it will kill jobs and that the only people earning the minimum wage are teens entering the work force. The argument on the left is that if you don’t pay adults a living wage they will require government services, e.g., food stamps, Medicaid, subsidized housing, etc.
The “killing jobs” argument has no verifiable evidence. It’s pretty simple to figure out why. If you pay the minimum wage and your competition pays the minimum wage, you’re all in the same boat. The notion that teens entering the work force make the minimum wage has two flaws. First, are teens second class citizens? This is why we have child labor laws. Second, these days a lot of minimum wage earners are adults trying to make a living.
If the right’s hatred of government “entitlement” programs is to be believed, why would they support wages that require people to depend on these programs to survive? We are essentially giving businesses that pay the minimum wage a subsidy.
And the bottom line in this emotional debate is that so few actually pay the minimum wage it would have essentially no impact on the economy.