The Fight for $15 has pressured countless communities into drastically raising the minimum wage through their “direct action.” The Employment Policies Institute is reporting that 18 states and 19 localities are raising their minimum wages on Jan. 1. Soon, Americans will discover the unfortunate consequences of these costly wage hikes.
California boasts the greatest number of localities raising their minimum wages in the new year, and the localities with the largest percentage increases — Santa Clara (17.12 percent), Sunnyvale (15.38 percent) and Mountain View (15.38 percent). Both Mountain View and Sunnyvale will officially hit the $15 mark in 2018, and by 2022, all of California will have a $15 minimum wage floor.
This is bad news for the Golden State’s most vulnerable workers. Food, service, and retail employees tend to be affected the most.
"Studies consistently show that raising the minimum wage leads to job losses for less-skilled individuals,” Michael Saltsman, managing director of the Employment Policies Institute, told Red Alert Politics.
Economists from Miami University and Trinity University found that this $15 minimum wage will cost the state 400,000 jobs by the time it is fully phased-in. This does not even account for the impact of minimum wage increases at the local level. San Francisco’s $15 minimum wage led to a large number of restaurant closures as employers struggled to make payroll. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Seattle’s recent hikes led to reduced work hours.
New York, home of the Fight for $15, can expect similar consequences in the new year as it imposes a host of wage hikes that are determined by the city, industry, business size, and type of employee.
University of Chicago business professor Steve Kaplan believes increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour is “a terrible idea” because it gives technology an advantage over people.
“Technology is already taking jobs," Kaplan told ABC News. "What you ought to do is make it easier to hire people."
As progressive politicians gleefully cave to relentless community organizers on the issue of minimum wage, low-income families will continue to pay the price for job loss and underemployment.
“Rather than celebrating New Year’s minimum wage increases, policymakers should recognize their inevitable hangover of fewer job opportunities for those who need them most,” Saltsman told Red Alert Politics in a statement.
Brendan Pringle (@BrendanPringle) is a freelance journalist in California. He is a National Journalism Center graduate and formerly served as a development officer for Young America's Foundation at the Reagan Ranch, and an alumnus of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.