No shocker here, but a New York Post op-ed contributor is peddling the same misleading bullshit about minimum wage increases that opponents always peddle.
Enter Nicole Gelinas.
Raising minimum wage — as per the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act — is “left-wing social engineering.” (Classic Post prose, really.)
She cites a report about a similar bill prepped in January claiming that “some low-paid workers would get raises — but others would become unemployed…Under one estimate, for every 6,017 Bronx residents who’d get a raise, 1,067 people would lose their jobs…Plus, the initiative would have almost no effect on poverty; it could even make extreme poverty worse. Hike the minimum wage, and employers will search for higher-skilled workers, harming poor people with no skills.”
Now, the Voice has openly noted valid concerns that upping the minimum wage might have impacts on employment, but any potential effects are far more nuanced than Gelinas’ writing suggests.
When a minimum wage increase was discussed in Albany, for example, some economists described any such moves as “ambiguous” in a downturn economy with a higher-than-desired unemployment rate.
Most, though, were enthusiastic: They saw it as a spending engine that would boost local economies.
Right now, so many New Yorkers are so poor that the can’t buy anything except basic necessities. More income would mean they can shell out for non-essential goods and services, which would provide even more jobs, so the thinking goes.
However, any problems — if they were felt — would be more of a concern for firms competing across state lines, not for jobs on the lower end of the spectrum.
Ultimately, we don’t know with certainty how an increase would pan out, but the important thing to remember is that the minimum wage increase is probably not an out-and-out job killer.
And we def don’t have a pure market economy, so the old black-and-white paradigm — that intervention and regulation always fuck things up — is likely too simplistic.
The best thing to do would be to reach a compromise, by finding the highest point at which a wage floor and employment rate intersect.
Also, any increase should probably involve all businesses in the state — not just government-subsidized enterprises or those in a particular municipality — to disincentivize companies from moving.
[H/T City and State First Read]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 1, 2012