Part of our core mission? Exposing the Left's blatant hypocrisy. Help us continue the fight and support the 2021 Year-End Campaign now.

Kay C. James / February 19, 2021

The $15 Minimum Wage Would Most Hurt the People It’s Intended To Help

The CBO reports that a $15-an-hour minimum wage increase would cost 1.4 million to 2.7 million jobs.

As someone who grew up in poverty and worked much of her career to help others out of it, I know the importance of having a good job with a good income. It’s a way out of poverty for many. It allows people to provide for their families. And we all know the sense of dignity that comes from being able to support oneself.

However, both economics and experience show us that Congress’ newest proposal to more than double the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour won’t create good incomes but would instead hurt the very people it’s intended to help. There are better ways to increase people’s wages that don’t create destruction in the process.

For starters, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports that a $15-an-hour minimum wage increase would cost 1.4 million to 2.7 million jobs.

The report shows that while some employees would certainly make more money, many of their colleagues would pay for it with cuts to their work hours and even the loss of their jobs.

That’s because when businesses are forced to pay employees more with no corresponding increase in revenues to help pay for it, they have to resort to some combination of cutting employees’ hours, laying off employees, replacing employees with automation, shipping jobs overseas, permanently closing their doors or passing the costs on to customers. We’ve already seen this happen when states and localities have raised the minimum wage on their own.

Most of the time, the cost of a higher minimum wage can’t be entirely passed on to customers, as many customers refuse to pay — or aren’t able to afford — higher prices and end up buying less of what the business is selling. That leads to more hours cut, more layoffs and more employers — especially small businesses—shutting their doors for good.

Betsy LeRoy, a Delaware restaurant owner and supporter of President Biden, recently told The Heritage Foundation about the real-world consequences businesses face. She said that if she had to pay every entry-level worker $15, their incomes would be too close to people who had been working for her for three or four years and had more experience. As a result, she would have to raise her current employees’ wages even more to make it fair.

But where would that money come from? Especially now during COVID-19 with dining restrictions and fewer customers, it’s hard for restaurants to pay the people they already have.

Government-imposed minimum wage increases are a bad idea to begin with, and they’re made worse when businesses are already struggling with COVID-19’s economic devastation. A minimum wage increase could push many hard-hit businesses out of business — then you’ll have a lot of former employees making $0 an hour.

Heritage Foundation Research Fellow Rachel Greszler recently pointed out another unintended consequence of a minimum wage increase. She analyzed the effect on child care costs and found that a $15 minimum wage would force many child care providers to pass on the costs to parents, increasing prices by an average of 21%, or $3,728 a year for families with two children. That would make child care entirely unaffordable for many. In some states, parents could see increases of up to 43% — or more than $6,000 a year.

While we know how beneficial it is for children to have one parent at home until they’re school-aged, the reality is that staying home is not an option for many poor and working-class folks and single parents, and raising the cost of child care only makes an already difficult situation even harder.

Rather than creating destructive consequences like these with a $15 minimum wage, politicians should look at policies that help create real income gains. They include expanding education and job training so people can gain more valuable skills that they can use to work their way up the ladder and eventually make more than the minimum wage.

Such policies also include reducing unnecessary government regulations that cost businesses considerable money to follow, freeing up that money so they can pay their employees more or invest in growing their businesses, ultimately creating more jobs and higher wages.

And they include reforming onerous occupational licensing requirements to make it easier for people to get jobs as landscapers, barbers, cosmetologists and other skilled occupations. While licensing can offer some protections for consumers, it often requires unnecessary training, lengthy delays and high fees that prevent people from starting a new career.

Having a good-paying job is an important part of the formula for achieving the American dream. But good pay can’t be artificially created by government. It results in unintended consequences, and the people who should be most helped are often the most harmed. Instead of imposing more heavy-handed government mandates, our leaders should focus their efforts on removing government-created barriers to work and higher wages.

Republished from The Heritage Foundation.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.