Bloomberg reports that Washington State, with the highest minimum wage in the nation, beats U.S. job growth averages. Washington linked their minimum wage to the cost of living back in 1998. So according to conservatives Washington should be an empty lot by now. But that hasn’t happened. In fact, they’ve grown faster, even in their bars and restaurants sector – and that covers ALL the bars and restaurants in the state, not just the ones within driving distance of Microsoft headquarters.
Their poverty level also trails the national average, which is what you’d expect. And makes the greatest no-brainer argument for raising the minimum wage.
Raising the U.S. minimum wage to $10.10 in three steps, as Obama proposes, would reduce employment nationally by about 500,000 workers, or about 0.3 percent, according to a Congressional Budget Office report published Feb. 18. At the same time, the increase would lift 900,000 people out of poverty and add $31 billion to the earnings of low-wage Americans, the report found.
The report overstates the job losses. Real time experiments in states like Washington have not borne that result out. The report also probably understates the effect the raised minimum wage would have on raising people out of poverty and Hello! lowering government spending.
Conservatives should be embracing this because it would lower government expenditures on food stamps, medicaid, welfare, etc. Food stamps alone would be decreased by $46 Billion. And that decrease is because people have other means of purchasing nutrition, not just cutting the budget and leaving people hungry which is the usual republican plan, bless their tiny hearts.
Echoing a common liberal argument, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that by putting more income in low-wage workers’ pockets, the higher minimum wage would cut back their reliance on public assistance, to the tune of $4.6 billion annually. That amounts to roughly 6 percent of current food stamp spending, or about a tenth of 1 percent of the federal budget.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) nails their hypocrisy:
“Detractors of SNAP and the minimum wage increase can’t have it both ways,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said on a call with reporters hosted by CAP. While they decry a “culture of dependency,” Brown went on, “these same elected officials oppose efforts to make sure hard work is rewarded with fair pay.”
Bury that zombie already.