Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, desperate to prove that workers are underpaid by their greedy employers, reported that their data showed 56 percent of money flowing from the federal and state level, that was spent between 2009 and 2011 on welfare programs, went to “working families and individuals with jobs.”
Ken Jacobs, chairman of the university’s Center for Labor Research and Education, who co-authored the report, pontificated, “When companies pay too little for workers to provide for their families, workers rely on public assistance programs to meet their basic needs.”
But what the researchers ignore in their pitch that employers ought to raise employees’s pay is this: the study clearly states, “We define working families as those that have at least one family member who works 27 or more weeks per year and 10 or more hours per week.” Obviously, if someone is only working ten hours a week, there is probably time to find a second job, rather than rely on government assistance.
The report found that 48 percent of home care workers and 25 percent of part-time college faculty are on the government dole.
UC Berkeley has been desperately trying to cull data that would support raising the minimum wage; in March, a UC Berkeley report suggested that raising the minimum wage in Los Angeles to $15.25 per hour by 2019 would have more advantages than disadvantages.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, has a different perspective than the Berkeley researchers, stating that income-support programs make business more expensive for low-wage employers. He wrote, “The reality is that low-wage employers compete with income-support programs for the time of workers. Those programs may contribute to pricing low-skilled workers out of jobs and increasing the incentive to substitute modernization and technologies.”