In his state of the union speech President Obama called for increasing the federal minimum wage. The Republicans say that’s a bad idea because it would kill jobs. They say this without offering any evidence or data to backup the claim. In fact, most data indicate that increasing the minimum wage has no impact or a very slight negative impact on job creation. There may even be positive effects like improved worker retention, increased demand, and economic stimulus.
But let’s give the Republicans a chance to complete their argument. I’d like to ask them several questions.
- Can you point to any studies or data you have used that support your position that the minimum wage should not be raised?
- How have you determined what the minimum wage should be?
- Is the current minimum wage, $7.25 per hour since 2009, at just the right point?
- If it is just right, please explain how that happened. Since 2009 we’ve had persistent unemployment, a banking crisis, increased inequality of income and wealth, off shoring of millions of jobs, and large structural changes in the economy.
- If increasing the minimum wage kills jobs, would decreasing it lead to the creation of more jobs?
- If $7.25 is not the perfect minimum wage should it be lowered, presumably to encourage job creation?
- Does a minimum minimum wage exist or should it be allowed to fall to as low as it will go?
- Is it OK for profitable companies to pay workers so little that people working full time must live in poverty. Is that OK even if the company’s executives and shareholders are raking in the bucks?
If any of the Republican leaders or any Republican at all reads my blog, please respond.