$15 wage would cost jobs

Posted on October 26, 2016

Former NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous builds his case for a $15 minimum wage on talking points that work better in a campaign speech than in the real world (“Demand $15-an-hour minimum wage in Pa.,” Monday).

Jealous argues that a $15 minimum wage would “instantly lift millions of Americans out of poverty.” Using that flawed logic, a $30 minimum wage should instantly lift millions more. Economists and business owners understand that when customers won’t pay the corresponding higher prices, employees end up paying for a $15 minimum wage with fewer hours and fewer jobs.

This isn’t a partisan argument. Notable economists from the Obama and Clinton administrations have opposed $15, with one even describing it as “extremely risky.” Last year, a University of New Hampshire survey of 166 economists also found overwhelming opposition to $15.

If Jealous is truly interested in helping the job seekers of West Philadelphia, he should consider poverty-reduction alternatives that won’t price them out of the workforce.