Minimum Wage and the Era of Feel Good Politics

Minneapolis recently voted to increase the minimum wage in the city to $15 per hour, and the push will certainly be on soon to do so statewide.

Some of us, however, feel strongly that this path is disastrous for those in our state most in need of help and it’s why we don’t support a $15 minimum wage.

Now, it’s true that some people will benefit from a higher minimum wage, but they tend to be those who least need the help. Really, this would be a wage hike for my teenage sons.

A study from San Diego State and Cornell Universities shows that about 11% of those who benefit from a minimum wage hike live in poor households. That means 89% don’t. Most of those who benefit live well above the poverty line and many are 2nd (or even 3rd or 4th) earners in middle-income households – like my teenage boys.

The losers in all this: Those who have the hardest time finding and keeping a job – the very poor, the disabled and those with little education.

Bottom Line: A minimum wage hike might make politicians feel good, but unfortunately it will even further increase income disparities in Minnesota.

Why? Because when government forces a small business to increase spending dramatically in one area, that business needs to make up the difference by raising prices and cutting costs, employees and hours. It’s pretty basic economics.

And it’s not speculation what a large minimum wage hike brings to a city the size of Minneapolis. We now know firsthand from Seattle the disastrous effect this has had.

A new study from the University of Washington found that jobs, work hours and take-home pay fell for Seattle’s lowest paid employees at a faster rate than surrounding areas after the city raised the minimum wage to $13 last year. Those who most needed the help were hit the hardest.

And the reason we should all care about this wherever we live in Minnesota: It’s a perfect example of the far-left mindset that has consumed the DFL party. We can no longer afford to be led by people who don’t even understand middle-school economics and who govern based on their feelings rather than facts, even while hurting those they so smugly claim to care about.

So how do we help everyone in Minnesota prosper? It’s not through more central planning but by unleashing the innovative and creative power of individuals and of entrepreneurs who desperately want to create decent jobs for Minnesotans. You can read a lot more about how we’ll do that on my website Johnsonforgovernor.org.

So next time someone tells you we need another minimum wage hike statewide, remind them that they might be helping the middle-income kids in the suburbs but they’re digging an even deeper hole for those really in need of a hand up in Minnesota.


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