Force businesses to pay entry-level workers more. That’s the mantra from progressives who say the minimum wage doesn’t support a family. Well, they’re right on that account. But that’s an issue of the value of the job duties to the business, not the value of the person hired to work. Carrie Lukas takes on progressives in Seattle, where the minimum wage was forcibly raised to $15 per hour, this piece for the Independent Women’s Forum.
Reality check No. 1 is that there are already far too few minimum-wage jobs for high schoolers and those with few skills or limited education. As the Employment Policy Institute recently reported, in the Seattle area the unemployment rate for 16- 19-year-olds with less than a high school diploma sits at a shocking 31.4 percent. That means that almost one in three teens looking for work—note that they are seeking positions that pay the current minimum wage, not $15 an hour—can’t find an opening. Their inability to find a job today doesn’t just mean less money for movies and going to the beach this summer. It means they won’t start a work history and gain the valuable skills and experience that are necessary for future jobs, ones that pay more and start them toward long-term careers.
And what about moms trying to balance work and family life?
But, this law will also shape the lives of many adults who are responsible for families. Proponents of the higher minimum wage have argued that the new mandate will particularly help women, who account for two-thirds of minimum-wage workers. This statistic also suggests that women will also be far more vulnerable to the potential job losses created by the new minimum wage. Nationally, women also account for nearly two-thirds of part-time workers, positions that are also are more likely to pay the legal minimum. As employment costs rise, businesses will be tempted to cut and consolidate part-time positions in favor of fewer, more highly skilled workers. That’s bad news for those who need or prefer part-time schedules to balance their work and family responsibilities.
It is yet another example of progressive policy hurting the very people the Left claims to speak for and wants to help.