On Friday Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about a recent bill sponsored by Washington, D.C.’s city council.
The article reports:
On Tuesday, 7 of the 13 members of Washington’s city council sponsored a bill to jettison the wage hike for tipped workers that 56% of D.C. voters had approved by a ballot initiative less than a month before.
Under Initiative 77, the workers would see their minimum wage climb from the current $3.89 an hour to $15 an hour by 2026, erasing the difference between tipped and nontipped workers.
Keep in mind that D.C. is about as heavily Democratic as you can get. It went for Hillary Clinton by a 91%-4% margin.
But the D.C. council members came to understand what economists — and D.C. restaurant workers themselves — already know. Sharp increases in the minimum wage will cost lost hours, lost jobs and lost income.
The article concludes:
This wage mandate, just like the one the council is trying to repeal, will also end up hurting the very people it’s supposed to help.
That’s not speculation. It’s what happened in Seattle, which four years ago decided to gradually hike the city’s minimum to $15. Researchers from the University of Washington found that the average low-wage worker lost $125 a month as the mandate took effect and employers cut back on hours and jobs.
Other parts of the country are catching on as evidence rolls in of the job-killing side effect of these mandated wage hikes. The mayor of heavily Democratic Baltimore vetoed a minimum-wage bill last year. The city council in Flagstaff, Ariz., decided to scrap the planned hike to $12, and cap it at $10.50.
“Fight for $15” makes a good bumper sticker. But as Democrats are finding out first hand, it makes bad public policy.
Maybe the answer is not raising the pay for minimum-wage jobs, but in better educating our children so that when they enter the workforce at minimum jobs, they are able to learn skills and progress to better paying jobs. In many cases, companies have responded to increases in the minimum wage by replacing workers with machines. Minimum-wage jobs are valuable–they teach workers entering the workforce the basic principles of holding a job–showing up, working hard, being courteous to fellow employees and customers, and being dependable and on time. Drastically increasing the minimum wage will result in many minimum-wage jobs being eliminated.