On June 8, Wall Street Journal opinion editor Paul Gigot faced off against The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel on ABC News’ “This Week” program (check out the video)…
During the debate, vanden Heuvel—a strong supporter of a job-killing minimum wage hike—made four big claims, all of which are dead wrong.
Claim 1: Only one out of 10 minimum wage workers are teens or young people (i.e., most people working for minimum wage are adults, with all the financial responsibilities that entails).
The Truth: According to Politifact.com (based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics), “workers who are 16 to 24 years old comprise 50 percent of workers who earn at or below the federal minimum wage.” vanden Heuvel “was wrongly describing a study of who would get a raise from increasing the minimum wage. According to the liberal Economic Policy Institute, teens would make up 12.5 percent of people who would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $10.10. We rate her claim False.”
Claim 2: Better paid minimum wage workers create growth.
The Truth: According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), if a $10.10 minimum wage were to be fully implemented in the second half of 2016, it “would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, or 0.3 percent.” And “as with any such estimates, however, the actual losses could be smaller or larger; in CBO’s assessment, there is about a two-thirds chance that the effect would be in the range between a very slight reduction in employment and a reduction in employment of 1.0 million workers.” If employment drops by half-a-million to a million workers, how will this benefit growth?
Claim 3: Walmart employs the most low-wage wage workers.
The Truth: The average full-time hourly wage for a Walmart associate is $12.81 per hour, and less than one-half of 1% of associates earn minimum wage.
Claim 4: The current minimum wage is about the values of this country (i.e., not raising the minimum wage is antithetical to our values).
The Truth: Besides being totally subjective (and intellectually wishy-washy), this isn’t even true. If employment drops by a million workers (as the CBO says could happen) or even a half million, how is that consistent with our values? And what about stories of businesses adding “living wage” fees to the costs of their products and services? Those won’t hurt the wealthy or upper-middleclass much, but they will very much hurt blue collar and low wage workers, who’s gains in wages would be more than eaten up by cost increases.