She writes as if she hates admitting that real economists have said for centuries that raising the minimum wage hurts poor people.
Even as she raises the issue she tries to make “conservative economists” appear unreliable:
This week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour, from the current $9, by 2020, joining the ranks of other liberal cities like Seattle and San Francisco who are acting despite federal inaction on the issue. But L.A. is the largest city to have raised the minimum wage so far, and the increase is much higher than the proposed federal hike to a little more than $10 from the current $7.25. Not only that, but as much as 50 percent of L.A.’s workforce may be affected, which is many more people than in any city that has raised its minimum wage so high to date.
Can a minimum wage be too high? Conservative economists have long warned that minimum wage hikes will increase unemployment or push businesses out of cities with such requirements. Most economic research hasn’t found such warnings to be true. But the federal minimum wage is at a historic low, and the increase in L.A. is so big, that the truth is it could have a small effect on factors like unemployment, how long it takes workers to find a new job after they lose one, and how many hours they receive at work. Still, most observers agree the benefits of the higher wages far outweigh the risks of these problems.
Thus writes Monica Potts in her editorial, “How L.A.’s New Minimum Wage Could Hurt the Poor.” She doesn’t seem to understand that when she claims “the benefits of higher wages far outweigh the risks” she is talking about two different groups of people. The higher wages are experienced by some people while others end up unemployed. They are sacrificed for the pay of others.
Her real worry, however, is that a higher minimum wage hurts the ability of the poor to receive welfare benefits.
The finances of those at the bottom are delicately balanced and intertwined with so many safety net programs, like food stamps and rental assistance, that the question of whether workers are better off must be weighed against whether and how they lose the support they receive from those programs. And the truth is it’s not clear how much better off people who make the minimum wage will be.
In L.A., a worker who currently makes $9 an hour and works 40 hours a week (which is not a given, but that would be a full-time workload) will earn $360 a week, or about $1,440 a month and $18,720 a year, before taxes. If that worker is a mom with two children, she is below the poverty line. She qualifies for a bevy of federal and state programs like food stamps, rental assistance, child care subsidies, health care for her children, and Medicaid because she is lucky enough to live in a state that agreed to expand that program under Obamacare.
What is funny about this is that Liberals have been outraged that people at McDonald’s and Walmart take an active interest in informing their workers of these programs. The outrage was used to claim that wages needed to be raised so that these employees no longer used these programs.
Liberals really can’t make up their minds.