$15 Minimum Wage: Good for Teenagers, Not So Good for their Parents
Wouldn't it be wonderful to be paid $15 instead of $10 at the restaurant that you work at? Or perhaps even $25, or $40? Well, in blue states, these fantasies may very well become realities- but we should be careful of what we wish for. Leftists have been pushing for a higher minimum wage ever since the first federal minimum wage was implemented in 1937, and while the idea sounds great in theory, the consequences on small businesses would be devastating for people of all age groups.
There is much contention on the left over what the right minimum wage would be, but the primary policy that has been attempted is working toward a $15 minimum wage.
First of all, would this benefit this country’s youth? Even the left-leaning EPI said that fewer than 10% of teens would see a pay increase, so the idea of teens everywhere getting rich from this policy is not credible. In fact, given that so many teens across the country work at small businesses, it is unlikely that the small subset of our generation that would get a pay increase would benefit from it anyway, given that so many of their businesses would have to either lay them off, cut their work hours, or shut down altogether.
Regarding the negative impacts on small businesses, progressives severely contradict themselves when they preach the benefits of a high minimum wage. Despite how anti-corporation they are, the only businesses that could support their expensive plans are those corporations that they hate so much.
Corporations are the only kind of businesses that could reliably sustain this sort of minimum wage, demonstrated by the average small business owner’s annual income juxtaposed with the average big business CEO’s income, which is a difference of $6,937,538 — and that’s using the most generous estimate of a small business owner’s salary. Now, many small businesses would be able to operate, of course, but job losses and reduced work time are sure to follow.
This policy has been tested in Seattle, making it an excellent touchstone for evaluating how well it would work. According to the University of Washington, it has, as expected, hurt more people than it has helped. Their study explored how Seattle’s businesses have been affected, and they discovered that the costs outweigh the benefits by a ratio of 3:1.
The study also discovered that the average low-wage worker lost $125 monthly. They concluded as well that Seattle’s average wages rose 3 percent — a small, yet certainly significant increase —but average work hours fell 9 percent. A contradictory study by the University of California, Berkeley, found that employees have actually been receiving an increase in their wages, and that the businesses haven’t been firing employees after all — however, this study only tested restaurants in Seattle, most of which paid their workers higher than the minimum wage anyway.
Given that the study by the University of Washington acquired “more detailed data than have been available in past research,” says The Washington Post, this study is much more reliable to draw conclusions from than that by UC Berkeley.
As jobs are becoming ever harder for teens to acquire, keeping one should be the top priority for any young adult that is able to find one. If the minimum wage increases, business owners will have to lay off a lot of people- according to the Congressional Budget Office, even a $10 federal minimum wage would cost about 500,000 jobs- and the first people they will turn to are teenagers, because teens need jobs less than adults.
Business owners would much rather fire someone who doesn't pay rent, taxes, or car payments than someone who does. It is an understandable, yet avoidable measure- one that can be avoided by allowing the employers to decide what to pay their employees based on their own individual circumstances and budgets.