If you listen to Democrats, most Americans are working at jobs for minimum wage pay. It’s not even close to the truth.
The Democrats are using the minimum wage debate as a way to garner sympathy for liberal causes and to paint Republicans as Scrooges.
Let’s get real. Many adult Americans who are working at minimum wage jobs probably can’t get better jobs for two reasons: First, the Democrats have so messed up the economy that upward economic mobility has been made more difficult. High taxes, the ObamaCare debacle, prohibitive and expensive government regulations, and fear of what might happen in the future if Bill de Blasio Democrats get in power have put a damper on business expansion.
Second, many adults who are working at minimum wage jobs aren’t able to work at a higher level, and employers who might like to take a risk on inexperienced workers feel that they can’t take the risk because of how costly it is to train a new employee. Employers would rather give a raise to an existing worker and pass the additional work on to him or her than hire a new inexperienced worker.
Here are some facts about the minimum wage that rarely come up in discussions and the media ignore:
As I mentioned above, the number of minimum wage workers in the United States is small compared to the overall work force. It’s around 2.8 percent and even less than that if you include restaurant workers who make money on tips:
“The U.S. Department of Labor says 1.6 million people make the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Another 2 million earn below that rate, such as restaurant servers who make tips in addition to a lower base hourly wage which, according to U.S. News and World Report, ‘in many cases actually puts them significantly above the minimum wage in reality, if not officially.’ That means in a nation of 317 million people, just 3.6 million (1.1%) make at or below the minimum wage. As a share of the U.S. workforce, just 2.8% of people working make minimum wage.”
Coupled with the low number of minimum wage workers is the fact that most of these workers are between 16-24 and “‘about half of those paid the Federal minimum wage or less’ are below age 25. Many of these are students working while in school or teenagers with part-time or summer jobs. That means half of the people most affected by a minimum wage hike are among those least likely to show up at the polls to vote, especially in a midterm election year. Indeed, minimum wage workers who are 16 and 17 years old are not even legally eligible to vote.”
Democrats continually argue that minorities and the poor are hardest hit by minimum wage pay. Actually, it’s the increase of the minimum wage that hurts these two groups.
“Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman famously noted that ‘the most anti-black law on the books of this land is the minimum wage law.’ Higher wages mean employers seek higher, more skilled workers. That, said Friedman, puts those with disproportionately less education and experience at a significant disadvantage when looking to put their foot on the first rung of the employment ladder.’”
Liberal economic policies kill jobs and keep wages low. It’s too bad that the GOP can’t get this message across.
For more on the minimum wage, see “Seven Minimum Wage Facts That Have Democrats Worried.”