It was only a few years ago that I would mock advocates of raising the minimum wage by saying “if $10 an hour is so great, why not $15 or $20 an hour?” I never thought they would take me up on that offer.
A $15 minimum wage has been rising in popularity. By the end of 2014 fourteen cities and towns had $15 minimum wages in effect. Recently, California announced a $15 minimum wage – which the Governor described as “not making economic sense” shortly after signing it into law.
Seattle was among the first to sign into law a $15 minimum wage. They’re “exhibit A” in terms of the effects of a $15 minimum wage. It’s an incremental increase, rising to $13 early this this year and to the full $15 next, but employers are already suffering from the hikes thus far, and bracing for what’s to tome.
Summer employment for teenagers has been on a long decline, pushed down by minimum wage laws and the demand to impress on college applications.
“Since 1995 the rate of seasonal teenage employment has declined by over a third from around 55 percent to 34 percent in 2015,” Competitive Enterprise Institute Research Associate Jack Salmon writes.
That dramatic decline, a 38 percent change, was at the heart of a JP Morgan Chase & Co. report on teenage employment. Researchers looked at 15 cities to measure teen employment, and in Seattle at least, employment statistics make the minimum wage increase there look unwise.
“Seattle has experienced the largest 3 month job loss in its history last year, following the introduction of a $15 minimum wage,” Salmon notes. “We can only imagine the impact such a change has had on the prospects of employment for the young and unskilled.”
Prohibition was called “The Noble Experiment,” and we all know how that turned out. What’s an appropriate name for a $15 minimum wage – “The Nutjobs’ Experiment?”
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