A new study commissioned by the Montgomery County city council considering the impact of a $15 minimum wage has found that it would eliminate 45,000 jobs, $396 million in income, and $41 million in tax revenue over five years. Despite the study, there are still council members that are still pushing for the wage hike, fully understanding that the measure would destroy the livelihood of thousands of the most vulnerable in the county.
The insidiousness of the minimum wage lies in how wonderful it sounds. With a wave of the legislative pen, the State can grant a raise to everyone at once. A minimum wage, however, has the opposite effect its supporters intend. It eliminates the jobs that the most vulnerable in society require. It gives employers an artificial level of power to discriminate as to who they hire, since a greater pool of workers are competing for a smaller pool of jobs. This has the effect of making it far more difficult for teenagers, ex-cons, the mentally and physically disabled, and other minorities, to gain employment.
There is also the matter of the historically racist origins of the minimum wage. According to Thomas Sowell:
“In 1925, a minimum-wage law was passed in the Canadian province of British Columbia, with the intent and effect of pricing Japanese immigrants out of jobs in the lumbering industry.
A Harvard professor of that era referred approvingly to Australia’s minimum wage law as a means to “protect the white Australian’s standard of living from the invidious competition of the colored races, particularly of the Chinese” who were willing to work for less.
In South Africa during the era of apartheid, white labor unions urged that a minimum-wage law be applied to all races, to keep black workers from taking jobs away from white unionized workers by working for less than the union pay scale.
Some supporters of the first federal minimum-wage law in the United States — the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 — used exactly the same rationale, citing the fact that Southern construction companies, using non-union black workers, were able to come north and underbid construction companies using unionized white labor.”
If greater employment, more jobs, a higher standard of living, and greater equality in the workplace are the ultimate goals, why do so many supporters of the minimum wage continue to support it despite the evidence that its effect are the polar opposite? It does nothing more than condemn the most vulnerable in society to a minimum wage of zero.