Unhelpful Wage Hike

A recent Post-Gazette editorial claims there “is no reason not to raise the minimum wage” (“Raise the Wage,”¬†April 4).

Here’s one: Raising the minimum wage won’t achieve the editors’ desired goal of reducing poverty. Twenty-eight states — including Pennsylvania — increased their minimum wages between 2003 and 2007, and economists from Cornell and American University found no associated reduction in poverty. This was due in part to poor targeting, as a majority of individuals in poverty don’t work and thus can’t benefit from the wage increase.

Instead of helping, a higher minimum wage just puts a job further out of reach for less-skilled and less-experienced individuals. Don’t take my word for it: That’s the conclusion of 85 percent of the most credible economic research on the subject from the past two decades.

Michael Saltsman is the research director at the Employment Policies Institute.