Lower wage is better than none

Posted on July 23, 2009

Federal and state politicians’ feel-good rhetoric merely reinforces policies that result in unemployment for entry-level workers, especially in a weak economy (“Employers face rise in minimum wage,” July 18).

Decades of economic research predicted that there would be an increase in job losses following minimum-wage increases, particularly among vulnerable groups like minority teens and adults without a high school diploma.

The federal unemployment rate has skyrocketed 70 percent from June 2008 to June 2009. (Missouri’s unemployment rate has increased 60 percent during that time). Mandating yet another increase in labor prices without any regard for what is happening in the economy will force employers to cut hours and eliminate some jobs entirely.

Rather than creating barriers to entry into the work force, now is the time to give employers the tools to create new positions and help workers keep their jobs. For working Americans, especially vulnerable entry-level workers, a lower minimum wage is much better than none at all.