Misguided Logic

Posted on December 19, 2009

Calls for an even higher minimum wage are severely misguided (“Just making ends meet is hard for area families, report finds,” Dec. 9). Decades of economic research show that mandated minimum-wage increases spike job losses, particularly among vulnerable groups like teens, minorities, and adults without a high-school diploma. This job loss is exacerbated in a weak economy.

In fact, the vast majority of minimum-wage earners are teens living at home (41 percent) and second-wage earners in a household (21 percent), whose income is supplemental to the head of the household. The average family income of those who benefited from the 2009 federal minimum wage hike is more than $47,000.

Those concerned about the working poor should support increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which delivers 88 percent of its benefits to poor families without eliminating job opportunities for the most vulnerable workers.

Kristen Lopez Eastlick
Senior Economic Analyst
Employment Policies Institute
Washington, D.C.