Remember back when we were arguing about the minimum wage? One of the things I pointed out–here’s a post on the topic but unfortunately I can’t find myself making this specific point–is that even if you conceded that “modest” increases in the minimum wage wouldn’t lead to significant drops in employment, that that had no bearing on whether Obama’s proposed 24% increase (to $9/hour) would have an effect.
Now check this out. As you probably know, fast food workers are striking because they want the minimum wage to more than double, from its current $7.25/hour to $15.
In a story on August 29, NPR reported this:
Industry officials say a sharp increase in the minimum wage would kill jobs.
“Doubling the minimum wage is absolutely, positively going to reduce the number of jobs,” says Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and government affairs at the National Restaurant Association.
Yep, there’s nothing wrong with that statement at all. To my knowledge, there is not a single empirical study claiming that a doubling of the minimum wage wouldn’t lead to a reduction in employment.
And yet, Media Matters jumps in to “correct” this shocking falsehood:
Contrary to industry officials’ claims, economic studies have concluded that raising the minimum wage has no effect on employment. In a Center for Economy and Policy Research report titled “Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment?” senior economist John Schmitt determined that there is “little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage.” According to Schmitt, extensive research revealed that raising the minimum requirement has little or no statistically significant effects on employment at all.
Schmitt’s conclusions are supported by more than 650 economists — including Nobel Laureates and former presidents of the American Economics Association — who signed a statement affirming that increasing the minimum wage would have little or no effect on employment but would improve workers’ well-being:
We believe that a modest increase in the minimum wage would improve the well-being of low-wage workers and would not have the adverse effects that critics have claimed. In particular, we share the view the Council of Economic Advisors expressed in the 1999 Economic Report of the President that “the weight of the evidence suggests that modest increases in the minimum wage have had very little or no effect on employment.” While controversy about the precise employment effects of the minimum wage continues, research has shown that most of the beneficiaries are adults, most are female, and the vast majority are members of low-income working families.
OK, so the parts I put in underline above come from the Media Matters writer, Samantha Wyatt. In contrast, the parts in bold come from the economists when she’s literally quoting them, not “paraphrasing” them. Notice an important difference, in the context of a proposal to (more than) double the minimum wage?