Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

My must read of the day is “New Jersey just became the fifth state to add a minimum wage in its constitution,” in the Washington Post:

Well, it’s official, the state that easily reelected the man who could well become the next Republican presidential nominee has also enshrined minimum wage increases in its constitution.

The Associated Press called it early for the measure—as of when this was written, it had 60.3 percent of the vote with just under two thirds of precincts reporting. But it doesn’t come as much of a surprise. One late-September poll showed support at 76 percent with opposition at just 22 percent. Another showed a margin just as large.

The now-approved constitutional amendment raises the state minimum wage from the federally mandated $7.25 to $8.25 and sets it to increase automatically with inflation. It is the fifth state to add a minimum wage to its constitution and the 11th to implement automatic hikes, according to data maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

I’ve said it before, but if I thought for a second raising the minimum wage would help alleviate poverty, I’d camp out to protest in support of it. The fact is, it does nothing to alleviate poverty and ultimately has adverse negative consequences – hurting the very people it meant to help.

Those who hold minimum wage jobs are typically less educated, less skilled, and many times they’re young. It’s the entry-level job market; people aren’t starting out with a wealth of skills.

Why would a business owner hire the young person, who lacks work experience, to pay them more money than their skills merit? They won’t, and the people who will lose job opportunities are the individuals taking jobs at the minimum wage rates.

If the minimum wage is $8.25, it makes more sense to pay $15.25 to one employee who already has experience and skills to do the job. Businesses may be paying a little more, but comparatively it’s a much better investment because the experienced worker won’t need as much initial training.

No savvy business owner would hire two unskilled (and untested) workers at $8.25 when they can hire one skilled worker for less than both of them.

If Christie runs in 2016, and if he wins the GOP nomination, maybe the country will have a readily available example as to why today’s push for minimum wage increase is nothing more than an arbitrary feel-good proposal.