Last updated on: 3/22/2016 3:44:30 PM PST
Should the Federal Minimum Wage Be Increased?
The National Employment Law Project (NELP), in the "Minimum Wage Question and Answer" section of its Raise the Minimum Wage website, available from raisetheminimumwage.com (accessed Feb. 10, 2016), wrote:
"Raising the minimum wage right now is more important than ever. Minimum wage increases stimulate the economy by increasing consumer spending, without adding to state and federal budget deficits. Consumer spending drives 70 percent of the economy, and increasing demand is key for jumpstarting production and re-hiring. A raise in the minimum wage puts money into the pockets of low-income consumers, who immediately spend it at local businesses... Strengthening the minimum wage can help build a sustainable economic recovery – without increasing costs for taxpayers…
[S]ix of the top ten growth occupations projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for next decade are low-wage jobs, including home health aides, customer service representatives, food preparation and service workers, personal and home care aides, retail salespersons, and office clerks. Raising the minimum wage would boost pay scales in these types of jobs where millions of Americans today spend their careers… Research has documented how, especially in low-wage industries, raising wages reduces turnover, because workers who are paid more stay with their current employer longer."
Feb. 10, 2016 - National Employment Law Project (NELP)
The New York Times and CBS News, in a May 28-31, 2015 poll of 1,022 people, as reported in a June 3, 2015 article in the New York Times titled "Americans' Views on Income Inequality and Workers' Rights," found:
"As you may know, the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour. Do you favor or oppose raising the minimum wage to $10.10?"
May 28-31, 2015 - CBS News
New York Times
Barack Obama, JD, 44th President of the United States, in his Feb. 12, 2013 "State of the Union Address," available from whitehouse.gov, stated:
"Tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour…
Feb. 12, 2013 - Barack Obama, JD
Robert B. Reich, JD, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and former US Secretary of Labor, in a May 7, 2015 blog post titled "Raise the Minimum Wage to $15," available from robertreich.org, stated:
"If the minimum wage in 1968 had simply kept up with inflation it would be more than $10 today. If it also kept up with the added productivity of American workers since then, it would be more than $21 an hour…
May 7, 2015 - Robert B. Reich, JD
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, a network of business owners, executives and investors, in the "Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Federal Sign on Statement," available from the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage website (accessed Feb. 11, 2016), wrote:
"As business owners and executives, we support gradually raising the federal minimum wage to at least $12 by 2020. It's good for business, customers and our economy. Today's outdated minimum wage has far less buying power than it had in the 1960s. Stuck since 2009 at $7.25 an hour – just $15,080 a year – the minimum wage impoverishes working families and weakens the consumer spending at the heart of our economy.
Feb. 11, 2016 - Business for a Fair Minimum Wage
Nick Hanauer, Founding Investor of Amazon.com, in a June 2014 op-ed for Politico magazine titled "The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats," stated:
"If a worker earns $7.25 an hour, which is now the national minimum wage, what proportion of that person's income do you think ends up in the cash registers of local small businesses? Hardly any. That person is paying rent, ideally going out to get subsistence groceries at Safeway, and, if really lucky, has a bus pass. But she's not going out to eat at restaurants. Not browsing for new clothes. Not buying flowers on Mother's Day...
June 2014 - Nick Hanauer
600+ economists, including seven Nobel Laureates, in a Jan. 14, 2014 letter to President Obama, available from the Economic Policy Institute's website under the title "Over 600 Economists Sign Letter in Support of $10.10 Minimum Wage," wrote:
"July  will mark five years since the federal minimum wage was last raised. We urge you to act now and enact a three-step raise of 95 cents a year for three years—which would mean a minimum wage of $10.10 by 2016—and then index it to protect against inflation...
Jan. 14, 2014 - Letter from 600+ Economists to President Obama (205KB)
New York State's Department of Labor, in a Feb. 2016 report titled "Analysis: Raising New York's Minimum Wage to $15," available from governor.ny.gov, stated:
"Raising the hourly minimum wage to $15 in New York State – as Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is proposing – provides vitally important benefits to the state's economy, ensuring opportunity for millions of New Yorkers and creating jobs.
Feb. 2016 - New York State Department of Labor
Hillary Clinton, JD, former US Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate, in a Nov. 3, 2015 speech to constituents in Iowa, reported on by the Huffington Post in an article titled "Hillary Clinton: Raise Federal Minimum Wage to $12 Per Hour," stated:
"I want to raise the federal minimum wage to $12, and encourage other communities to go even higher… I think we can manage it, and I don't think there should be any unintended consequences to job creation."
Nov. 3, 2015 - Hillary Clinton, JD
Bernie Sanders, US Senator (D-VT) and 2016 presidential candidate, in a July 22, 2015 speech at a "Raise the Minimum Wage" rally, available from sanders.senate.gov, stated:
"In the year 2015, a job has got to lift workers out of poverty, not keep them in it. The $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage. It has got to be increased to a living wage!
July 22, 2015 - Bernie Sanders
Mitt Romney, MBA, JD, former Governor of Massachusetts and 2012 presidential candidate, in a May 9, 2014 interview reported on in part by Steve Benen in an article for MSNBC titled "Romney, Santorum Back Minimum-Wage Hike," stated:
"I, for instance, as you know, part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage. I think we ought to raise it… Because frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay."
May 9, 2014 - Mitt Romney, MBA, JD
The US Chamber of Commerce, in the "Labor" section of its website, available at uschamber.com (accessed Feb. 11, 2016), wrote:
"We oppose minimum wage increases and living wage laws that ultimately hurt entry level workers. Economic studies have shown that mandatory wage hikes price the lowest skilled workers out of jobs. If companies are forced to pay an arbitrarily higher wage, they will seek workers with skills to match."
Feb. 11, 2016 - US Chamber of Commerce
The Cato Institute, in a fact sheet titled "Four Reasons Not to Raise the Minimum Wage," available from cato.org (accessed Feb. 11, 2016), wrote:
"Some policymakers are proposing to raise the minimum wage, but that policy would be harmful. Research shows businesses would respond to the increased costs by reducing employment, particularly for low-skilled workers. Some businesses may pass the higher costs on to consumers. Despite the hope of proponents, the minimum wage does little, if anything, to decrease poverty.
Feb. 11, 2016 - Cato Institute
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, PhD, President of the American Action Forum and former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, in a Dec. 4, 2013 opinion piece for the New York Times titled "Raising Minimum Wage Is Misguided Policy," wrote:
"Myriad research indicates that raising the minimum wage, while not destroying jobs, impedes job creation. That means an even slower recovery to full employment. California's new bump in the minimum wage to $10 will prevent the creation of almost 200,000 new jobs. If every state followed suit, more than 2.3 million jobs across the country would never see the light of day."
Dec. 4, 2013 - Douglas Holtz-Eakin, PhD
Antony Davies, PhD, Associate Professor of Economics at Duquesne University, and James R. Harrigan, PhD, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Political Economy at Utah State University, in an Oct. 21, 2013 article for usnews.com titled "Raising the Minimum Wage Is No Free Lunch," wrote:
"Raising the minimum wage does not increase the value of the worker's labor. It increases the cost of the worker's labor. And as everyone knows, the more something costs, the less of it we buy...
Oct. 21, 2013 - James R. Harrigan, PhD
Antony Davies, PhD
The National Restaurant Association, in an issue brief titled "Minimum Wage," available from restaurant.org (accessed Feb. 11, 2016), wrote:
"As businesses struggle to recover from the economic recession, dramatic, mandatory wage increases would place yet another financial burden on business owners who are already feeling the pressures of a weak economy and additional costs and regulatory complexity associated with the Affordable Care Act...
Feb. 11, 2016 - National Restaurant Association
Steve H. Hanke, PhD, Professor of Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University, in an Apr. 2014 article for Globe Asia titled "Let the Data Speak: The Truth Behind Minimum Wage Laws," available from cato.org, wrote:
"There are seven European Union (E.U.) countries in which no minimum wage is mandated... If we compare the levels of unemployment in these countries with E.U. countries that impose a minimum wage, the results are clear. A minimum wage leads to higher levels of unemployment. In the 21 countries with a minimum wage, the average country has an unemployment rate of 11.8%. Whereas, the average unemployment rate in the seven countries without mandated minimum wages is about one third lower — at 7.9%...
Apr. 2014 - Steve Hanke, PhD
Ed Rensi, former CEO of McDonald's USA, in an Aug. 20, 2013 interview with the Fox Business Network, available from foxbusiness.com under the title "Would a Minimum Wage Increase Be a Jobs Killer?," stated:
"The one thing you need to know about the minimum wage, it was designed for entry-level jobs that teach people soft work skills. It was never meant to be a career, it's meant to be a career starter... If they did this minimum wage thing, I'm telling you there'd be another 15 to 20 percent [of small businesses] that are going to go away... You can't afford it."
Aug. 20, 2013 - Ed Rensi
Kevin A. Hassett, PhD, Director of Economic Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and Michael R. Strain, PhD, Research Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) at the time of the quote, in a Mar. 10, 2013 article for the Los Angeles Times titled "The Minimum Wage Debate," wrote:
"Facts clearly demonstrate that raising the minimum wage is a bad idea.
Mar. 10, 2013 - Michael R. Strain, PhD
Kevin A. Hassett, PhD
Jeffrey Clemens, PhD, Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of California at San Diego, and Michael J. Wither, PhD, teaching assistant at the University of California at San Diego at the time of the quote, in a Nov. 24, 2014 working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) titled "The Minimum Wage and the Great Recession: Evidence of Effects on the Employment and Income Trajectories of Low-Skilled Workers," wrote:
"Over three subsequent years, we find that binding minimum wage increases had significant, negative effects on the employment and income growth of targeted workers. Lost income reflects contributions from employment declines, increased probabilities of working without pay (i.e., an 'internship' effect), and lost wage growth associated with reductions in experience accumulation...
Nov. 24, 2014 - Jeffrey Clemens, PhD
Michael J. Wither, PhD
George Reisman, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Pepperdine University, in an Apr. 4, 2014 open letter to US Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, available from the mises.org under the title "How Minimum Wage Laws Increase Poverty," wrote:
"Raising the minimum wage is a formula for causing unemployment among the least-skilled members of society. The higher wages are, the higher costs of production are. The higher costs of production are, the higher prices are. The higher prices are, the smaller are the quantities of goods and services demanded and the number of workers employed in producing them...
Apr. 4, 2014 - George Reisman, PhD
Marco Rubio, JD, US Senator (R-FL) and 2016 presidential candidate, in Feb. 13, 2013 comments reported on in part by MSNBC in an article titled "Rubio Takes a Stand Against Minimum Wage," stated:
"I want people to make a lot more than $9… Nine dollars is not enough. The problem is that you can't do that by mandating it in the minimum wage laws. Minimum wage laws have never worked in terms of helping the middle class attain more prosperity...
I don't think a minimum wage law works."
Feb. 13, 2013 - Marco Rubio, JD
Donald Trump, real estate developer and 2016 presidential candidate, in an Aug. 20, 2015 interview with MSNBC's Morning Joe show, available from MSNBC's website under the title "Trump: Minimum Wage Isn't a Bad Thing," stated:
"You know, we're in a global economy now. It used to be people would leave New York state and companies would leave New York state or leave another state and go to Florida, go to Texas, go to wherever they go because of the wages, you know all sorts of different things. Well, now it's not leaving New York or New Jersey or wherever they may be leaving. Now they are leaving the United States and they're going to other countries because they're competing for low taxes and they're competing for low wages and they're competing for all sorts of things... [W]e are no longer competing against one state against the other, we're competing, it's the United States against other places where, Joe [Scarborough], where the taxes are lower, where the wages are lower, where lots of things are lower. Now, I want to create jobs so you don't have to worry about the minimum wage, you're doing a great job making much more than the minimum wage. But I think having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country."
Aug. 20, 2015 - Donald Trump