The Minimum Wage: Turning common knowledge on its head

Throw everything you thought you knew about raising the minimum wage out the window. Only benefits high school students working summer jobs? Not quite. Hurts small business? Nope. Results in more unemployment? Again, no.

Our friends at the Economic Policy Institute released a study today entitled, "Minimum wage trends: Understanding past and contemporary research." In the report, the "new economics of the minimum wage" is outlined, and it drastically alters how the minimum wage should be viewed. Some facts:

  • If the minimum wage were increased nationally to $7.25:
    o 14.9 million workers would receive a raise,
    o 80% of those affected are adults age 20 or over, and
    o 7.3 million children would see their parents income rise.
  • Families with affected workers rely on those workers for over half of their earnings.
  • 46% of all families with affected workers rely solely on the earnings from those workers.

Virtually all the general categories of dispute are addressed in this new research, including job growth, small business growth, and unemployment. In plain English, the report concludes, "The positive effects of the minimum wage are difficult to dispute. The minimum wage sets a floor for the value of work and lifts the living standards of low-wage workers." A common sense argument that's difficult to dispute.