Congress Should Ease Burden on Businesses

Posted on February 05, 2010

Democrats’ proposed job creation plan will only add to the $12 trillion national debt while ineffectively handling the country’s double-digit unemployment rate (“Treasure Valley residents wonder how Obama’s plans will play out,” Jan. 28). A better idea would be to revisit the burden Congress has placed on employers through a 40 percent increase in the minimum wage.

In 2007, when Congress passed the Fair Minimum Wage Act, we warned about the unintended consequences of forcing higher labor costs on employers. Research repeatedly shows that increasing the minimum wage triggers unemployment for vulnerable groups like African-American teens.

Two years later, those warnings are now a painful reality, with nearly half of African-American teens seeking jobs unable to find one.

It doesn’t take a “jobs summit” and billions in taxpayer dollars to provide jobs for the unemployed. Congress should take steps to lessen the financial burden that minimum-wage increases have imposed on employers, allowing them to hire workers with greatest need for experience and income.

MICHAEL SALTSMAN, research fellow, Employment Policies Institute, Washington, D.C.