In the world's most unsurprising news, a new study shows that radically increasing the minimum wage in a city leads to fewer hours of minimum wage labor being worked. FiveThirtyEight lays out the cold hard math:
Monday’s report looks at the impact of the second wage increase under the law: the January 2016 hike to $13 an hour for large employers. This time, the findings look very different: Compared to a counterfactual in which Seattle didn’t raise its minimum wage, the number of hours worked by low-wage workers (those earning less than $19 an hour) fell by 9.4 percent over the first nine months of 2016, and the number of low-wage jobs fell by 6.8 percent. Cumulatively, those add up to the losses of 5,000 jobs and 3.5 million hours of work. The average low-wage employee, they found, saw his or her monthly paycheck shrink by $125, or 6.6 percent.
Yikes! Of course, as anyone who has ever managed hourly employees could tell you, this makes total sense: labor costs are monitored constantly, with employees being sent on their breaks when business slows and fewer workers are needed. You do this because excess labor costs massively cut into relatively thin profit margins at places like grocery stores and fast food joints; increasing the hourly cost of labor only exacerbates this problem.
Recent Stories in Politics
Here's a bit more from the Washington Post:
"This strikes me as a study that is likely to influence people," said David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was not involved in the research. He called the work "very credible" and "sufficiently compelling in its design and statistical power that it can change minds."
Compelling! Unless, of course, you're working for a nonprofit that's being funded by labor unions to deny economics. Though, for all those millions, you'd think they might get a bit more cogent denier on staff:
"Like, whoa, what? Where did you get this?" asked Ben Zipperer, an economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington.
That quote seemed … familiar. I racked my brain. And then, voila! It came to me. Behold! Keanu Reeves, wonk:
So yeah, on the one hand, you have science showing that minimum wage increases hurt those they're trying to help; on the other, Keanu Reeves-mimicking science deniers. Seems like an easy choice, to me. You shouldn't support these disastrous minimum wage increases.
Unless … no.
You don't … deny science.