A new report from the Employment Policies Institute proves there is little, if any, relationship between minimum wage increases and a reduction in government assistance.
“Federal and state minimum wage increases have had no measurable impact on the use by working-age adults of SNAP, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and the Women, Infants, and Children program,” the report reveals.
The report comes at a time when both of the major contenders for the Democratic nomination – Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – have come out in favor of a $15 an hour federal minimum wage. But according to EPI’s research, this ham-fisted approach would help very few individuals move off of food stamps and Medicaid.
“Not only does the research show that a higher minimum wage costs jobs, but a new study finds that it has no net effect on means-test government programs,” said Michael Saltsman, EPI’s research director. “Policymakers who are serious about helping the poor should look to the evidence rather than to misleading anecdotes offered up by labor unions and the White House.”
What use do they have for evidence? None of these policies are grounded in sound research. They don’t have to be. They are driven by the same thing that drives 99% of Democratic Party platforms: emotion. And because taxpayers find it very hard to associate these initiatives with money coming out of their own paychecks, Republicans have floundered in their attempts to fight back.
The minimum wage as a concept has always been a difficult balancing act. Why set it at $15? Why not set it at $50? These Democrats don’t arrive at a figure after a sober analysis of the market, because the minimum wage has nothing to do with the market. This is a top-down handicap. Why we need both labor unions and a minimum wage is a question few politicians seem willing to address. Why the minimum wage in the relatively-cheap South needs to be the same as it is in the hyper-expensive Northeast is another.
But even if we ignore those questions and accept the fact that some kind of minimum wage should be in place, we should at least make sure that it is accomplishing what we want it to accomplish. Are we really helping the poor, or are we simply making life easier on teenagers who don’t need to support themselves in the first place?
Democrats want their voters to look at minimum-wage jobs as the lifeblood of the economy. But that’s not the case, is it? You don’t have to stay at the minimum wage for the rest of your life, do you? You don’t have to raise a family on your McDonald’s wages, do you? Of course not. You can learn skills, work your way up the ladder, get an education…you don’t have to stay at the bottom.
But if we raise the minimum wage to the point where industries rush to replace workers with robots, entry-level jobs will disappear and the very people these wages are supposed to help will be the ones hurt the most. Otherwise, costs will soar, hurting American families and crushing all but the most insulated companies. Either way, it’s a recipe for disaster.