Leftists aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed when it comes to a basic understanding of economics. This might be why so many of them are still proponents of hiking up the minimum wage to “help” the poor.
Though their hearts are in the right place in wanting to help those trying to work and provide a living for their families, raising the minimum wage is the wrong solution.
In fact, hiking up the minimum wage is actually hurtful, particularly to the young black demographic who is currently experiencing a serious lack of opportunity due to this and several other factors.
Our very own Col. Allen West recently wrote on this topic over at Fox News:
[A] contributing factor to the lack of opportunity for young black job-seekers is the dramatic minimum wage increases sweeping the country that outlaw employment below a certain wage rate. According to a recent San Francisco Federal Reserve review of minimum wage research, wage hikes cause “job loss for the least-skilled workers — with possibly larger adverse effects than earlier research suggested.” Black youth often get hit by these employment barriers the hardest because they have the least skills on the job market.
While the fight for a higher wage floor may be well-intended, public policy should focus on raising the wage ceiling for average Americans to a place where they can live a fulfilling life and provide for their families. In other words, policymakers should try to raise the wage ceiling for average Americans by fighting for $50,000-a-year careers, not a counterproductive $15 an hour floor. When I attended Army Airborne school in 1984, the “Blackhat” instructors taught us that if you set the bar low, you will jump low. The fight for individual economic independence means setting the sights on $50,000, not $15.
To win this fight, policymakers should focus on eliminating the skills gap between 5.6 million unfilled jobs nationally – millions of which pay $50,000 or more – and the 1.6 million unemployed black Americans looking for work.
These available $50,000 a year careers are within the reach of almost anyone. They include hundreds of thousands of open jobs in fields like sales, office administration and home utility repair, which pay roughly $50,000 a year or more on average, according to the Labor Department. While these jobs often require more skills than a high school education, they usually don’t require a bachelor’s degree.
What these jobs do usually require, however, is work experience at entry-level jobs and the technical and soft skills that come along with them. Entry-level jobs in almost any industry teach skills like basic accounting, customer service, teamwork, and a sense of urgency that every employer values. These skills allow entry-level employees to quickly move up the career ladder; two academic studies suggest these skills allow minimum wage employees to earn a raise within their first one to eleven months on the job.
For America’s black youth, many of whom have been relegated to failing schools, lack of stable families, and positive role models, these entry-level jobs are the training grounds where they can pick up the skills necessary for a fulfilling career. Protecting them from the fight for $15 is therefore a vital battle in the fight for $50,000-a-year careers, the real living wage, the key that unlocks the chains of economic enslavement. Don’t forget: Before you can get a good job, you need a first job.
Couldn’t have said it any better.
[Note: This article was written by Michael Cantrell]