News and Tribune

Z_CNHI News Service

February 21, 2014

Benefits of hiking minimum wage are an illusion

(Continued)

Companies won’t notice a drain of $150 billion to $175 billion on their bottom lines, and they won’t try to offset it in ways that might hurt the poor. Hey, it might even allow taxes to be cut (try not to laugh at that one) because millions of people will no longer need government subsidies to pay for their food, rent, clothing and other basics.

I want to believe that it could be that simple. Just like I want to believe it when my “progressive” friends tell me that every dollar given to people in government benefits results in $1.70 in economic activity.

Hey, if that’s true, we should all quit working, start collecting benefits and watch the economy soar as we enjoy an endless paid vacation in which we buy products made by people in other countries, since nobody here is working.

But I can’t help but think about all the promises the president made when he was selling us on the $830 billion “stimulus.” Remember, it was going to keep unemployment at less than 8 percent and improve the nation’s infrastructure by funding thousands of “shovel-ready” projects.

Never mind. Sure, with the fifth anniversary of the stimulus just past, the president’s enablers claim it “created or saved” 6 million jobs. But even granting them that fantasy, that’s more than $138,000 spent per job.

Pay no attention to unemployment that was higher than 10 percent for four years, or the fruitless hunt for shovel-ready projects. Look over there at rampant inequality, which is the fault of successful people and former President George W. Bush!

Even the Congressional Budget Office estimates raising the minimum wage will reduce employment by 500,000 to 1 million.

I say this as someone who worked for next to nothing during my high school summers at a camp where I learned carpentry, sailing and cooking for 300 juveniles – and other intangible but invaluable skills like how to meet a deadline and supervise others.

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