Even those who claim the minimum wage doesn’t cost jobs know deep down inside it does – or at least will if stretched to a large enough extreme. As crazy as a $15 minimum wage is, why would its proponents stop at $15 an hour if they really don’t believe it’ll adversely affect employment? Why not turn that “living wage” into an upper-class wage and make it $50 an hour at that point?
Obviously they must realize there does come a point where their opponents have a point in that the minimum wage will cause job losses, even if they disagree about the dollar value.
Unfortunately for them, reality isn’t kind to the prospects of a $15 minimum wage. We don’t even need to look at studies predicting the consequences of a $15 minimum wage to prove as much. Just look at the unemployment rates (youth and overall) in European countries with a minimum wage as opposed to those without one, and there’s a clear picture painted of the minimum wage’s effects.
Reality can’t be ignored just because a policy appears compassionate to the public, and Baltimore’s mayor learned that last week.
As the Washington Examiner reported, It was a strange sight.
Standing behind a podium emblazoned with her city’s logo, last week Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, a liberal Democrat, reversed her position on increasing the minimum wage and announced her decision to veto legislation that would raise it.
In a union questionnaire signed during her campaign for mayor, however, Pugh addressed the very initiative she would come to reject, writing at the time, “I am aware of the current initiative to raise the minimum wage in the City Council to $15 per hour and when it reaches my desk I will sign it.
It did, and she did not.
Just short of four months into her term as mayor, Pugh took to the podium on Mar. 24 to explain her unmistakable flip-flop in the same language routinely deployed by fiscal conservatives. Like watching Margaret Thatcher’s words come from Meryl Streep’s mouth, Pugh’s meek, and uncomfortable, recitation of her opponents’ talking points was transfixing.
Hiking the minimum wage, Pugh explained, would cause employers to flee the city and result in a loss of job opportunities available to Baltimoreans. Given the “economic impact” of the policy, she asserted it was “not appropriate at this time” to implement it.
Well, good for her for admitting that she was wrong and following the evidence, even if it’s not politically popular.
Many of those who voted for her will undoubtedly be angry over the veto – but at least they can be angry over it at a job they won’t lose as a result of it.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]