Democrats in the House of Representatives are moving a bill that would more than double the national minimum wage to $15. It is all part of the campaign to “Fight for $15” that may do more harm than good.
I have documented in previous commentaries there will be winners and losers. The winners are those who receive the bump in pay. The losers will be those who receive a pink slip or aren’t even hired in the first place.
The editors at the Wall Street Journal notice what has been happening in New York City when the minimum wage rose again on December 31. Businesses with 11 or more workers must pay $15 an hour. They wonder if it is mere coincidence that the city’s full-service restaurants have fallen into a jobs recession. Employment in January dropped more than three percent and appears like it dropped a little more in February. The New York City Hospitality Alliance surveyed hundreds of eateries last year and found that nearly half (47%) planned to eliminate jobs in 2019 due to higher labor costs. Three-fourths planned to cut employee hours.
The editors also point to a research paper that raises a question that never occurred to me. The economists found “robust evidence that minimum wage hikes increase property crime arrests among teenagers and young adults ages 16-to-24, a population for whom minimum wages are likely to bind.” The economists provide some sobering estimates about the possible increased costs due to property crimes.
The current bill in Congress makes no adjustment for the cost of living. So the editors conclude that, “a cashier in New York, Texas (population nine) cannot be paid a dime less than the $15 hour due in New York City.” If passed, this bill could do significant harm.