28 November 2015

The Right's Anti-Minimum-Wage Arguments Have Pretty Much Stayed the Same for 80 Years

By Branko Marcetic, In These Times | News Analysis

Over the past year, the campaign to raise the minimum wage has been steadily accumulating prominence, political allies and, most importantly, successes. Not surprisingly, it has also occasioned a pushback from conservative politicians and columnists who view its increase as a misguided, self-defeating folly.

The main points of the conservative argument against raising the minimum wage tend to be as follows: Increasing it would lead businesses to either raise prices or fire workers (or both) in order to deal with a spiraling cost of labor. This means that while some workers would be lifted out of poverty, many would lose their jobs, plunging them into greater financial straits, while all consumers would lose out from paying more for goods and services. This would ironically hit young, inexperienced and low-skill workers the hardest, as they have the least bargaining power and are typically the first to be fired. It is therefore better to let the market take its course and allow businesses to gradually raise their wages of their own accord.


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