Liberals always accuse conservatives of disregarding science, yet when it comes to the economic science behind the minimum wage, they turn a blind eye.
President Obama stressed the need of raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9/hour in Tuesday’s State of the Union address in order to supposedly alleviate poverty for “millions of working families.” It seems as if the President and his supporters have forgotten–or decided to ignore–the widely accepted truth about raising the minimum wage: it doesn’t reduce poverty, it increases unemployment.
I discussed this yesterday on Fox Business Network’s Varney & Co:
Contrary to popular belief, no study in history has proven that a raise in the minimum wage reduces poverty among families. In fact, the majority of people making the minimum wage aren’t supporting a family. Less than 1 in 5 people making the minimum wage are the head of a family, while half of minimum wage earners are young Americans.
The rise in the minimum wage disproportionately hurts young and poor Americans compared to the rest of the population. Businesses can’t afford to hire inexperienced workers at the mandated wage level, causing massive unemployment among the youth demographic. As Wynton Hall reported on Tuesday, more than 600,000 teen jobs disappeared after the federal government raised the minimum wage by 10.6 percent in 2009.
Today, youth unemployment is 17.6 percent–more than double the national average.
The effect on young minorities is even more devastating. Young, black males took the biggest hit after the federal government raised the minimum wage in 2009. In July 2009, prior to the minimum wage hike, black male youth unemployment was 39.1 percent. This number spiked to 50 percent by September of 2009–an increase of 28 percent in just three months. Black youth unemployment remains at this unprecedented level today.
Still, President Obama and his allies in the media claim that hundreds of thousands of people will be lifted out of poverty if we keep raising the minimum wage. He’s wrong.
In fact, a minimum wage hike is nothing short of immoral. Businesses, many of which are struggling in this economy, can’t always afford to give their employees a government-mandated raise. When they can’t afford it, they cut jobs–jobs Americans desperately need.