LETTER: Study faulty on family income

Posted on August 31, 2012

To the Telegram:

A recent article on the Superior Telegram website cites a report from the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute, which gives the impression that minimum wage earners are mostly breadwinners “trying to support families” (“Could $9.80 be the new minimum wage?” August 20). The facts show otherwise.

According to Census Bureau data, the average family income of a beneficiary of a $9.80 minimum wage in Wisconsin is $53,817 — well above the $15,080 figure cited by proponents of wage hikes. That’s because nearly 60 percent of the people impacted either live at home with family (e.g. a teen living with their parents), or have a spouse who also works.

But poor targeting isn’t the worst of it: 85 percent of the most credible economic studies from the last two decades confirm that raising minimum wages reduces employment opportunities for the least-skilled jobseekers.