Unemployment seems stuck around 8.2 percent, but black unemployment jumped from 13.6 percent in May to 14.4 percent in June, while Hispanics are at 11 percent and teens are at nearly 25 percent. In addition, economists predict that poverty rates—the result of long-term unemployment—will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010 to as high as 15.7 percent, which would be the highest level since 1965.
So what do liberals want to do? Why, put even more low-skilled workers out of a job.
They don’t say it quite like that, of course. What liberals say is they want to raise the minimum wage.
A Kansas City Star story quotes Doug Hall of the left-wing Economic Policy Institute as saying, “Doing so in a weak economy not only helps those who most need help, it also provides an immediate boost to the economy, generating additional economic activity that benefits everyone.”
Really? Like President Obama’s vaunted claims of economic growth from his nearly $800 billion economic stimulus package, there is just no evidence to back up Hall’s claims.
We increased the minimum wage for three years in a row: to $5.85 in 2007, $6.55 in 2008, and $7.25 in 2009. And yet low-skilled workers have had a terrible time finding work.
As a new Cato Institute study on the minimum wage points out, “The main finding of economic theory and empirical research over the past 70 years is that minimum wage increases tend to reduce employment.”
And liberals would admit that if they were honest. When they buy a car or house, they try to negotiate the lowest price they can get. None of them say, “I’ll pay 10 or 20 percent more because that will stimulate the economy.” Yet that’s what they think employers should do for labor.
It’s a pattern we’ve seen consistently for decades: Liberals pushing policies that increase unemployment, and ultimately impoverish, low-skilled workers. It’s enough to make one wonder why liberals hate them so much.
Today’s PolicyByte was written by IPI Resident Scholar Dr. Merrill Matthews.