Scapegoating the Minimum Wage

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What critics do do – in both good economic times and bad – is offer the usual bromide that the minimum wage is a “job-killer.” In reality, though, the most careful studies of state and federal minimum wage increases have found little evidence of job loss. For example, states that raised their minimum wages higher than the federal level between 1997 and 2007 (when the federal minimum wage was stuck at $5.15 an hour) enjoyed lower unemployment rates than states that did not. When Congress finally raised the minimum wage in 2007, the move was endorsed by more than 650 economists, including five Nobel laureates and six past presidents of the American Economics Association, who argued that the increase would significantly improve the lives of low-wage workers “without the adverse effects critics have claimed.”

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