Nick Hanauer Flattens Right Wing Lies On Minimum Wage

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A breath of fresh air from what we normally hear from our corporate media: Real Time's Bill Maher sat down with entrepreneur and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer this Friday to discuss a national $15.00 minimum wage. Hanauer did a wonderful job of debunking the myth that raising the minimum wage destroys jobs.

Contrast this to the freakout lies over at Faux "news" where it's gospel that you can't raise wages or companies will be forced to move their jobs overseas, turn to automation, or start laying off their workers.

HANAUER: The idea that drives that is this incredible, insidious, repeated thing, which is, if jobs go up, employment goes down. If wages go up, employment goes down. […]

And the thing is that it has been repeated endlessly in our country and the facts are there is no evidence for this whatsoever, but if you can get the broad public to believe that if wages go up, employment will go down, you get forty years of wage suppression.

Maher proceeded to debunk the talking point on automation replacing servers, noting that if it was possible for companies to replace those workers with machines and not harm their businesses, they'd have done it already. Their discussion proceeded to the real welfare queens, corporations like Walmart, who pay wages so low that their employees are eligible for food stamps and Medicaid. That's taxpayer-funded wage enhancement, and it's what makes companies like Walmart so profitable.

Hanauer's Op-Ed published at Business Insider last month has more: A report that analyzed every minimum-wage hike since 1938 should put a bunch of nonsense ideas to rest:

From the fear-mongering headlines marking passage of $15 statutes in New York and California, you would think nobody ever dared raise the minimum wage before.

"Raising minimum wage risky," the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader tersely warned.

"Raising minimum wage hurts low-skill workers," the Detroit News bluntly declared.

"Even left-leaning economists say it's a gamble," Vox solemnly cautioned.

Nonsense. We have been raising the minimum wage for 78 years, and as a new study clearly reveals, 78 years of minimum-wage hikes have produced zero evidence of the "job-killing" consequences these headline writers want us to fear.


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In a first-of-its-kind report, researchers at the National Employment Law Project pore over employment data from every federal increase since the minimum wage was first established, making "simple before-and-after comparisons of job-growth trends 12 months after each minimum-wage increase."

What did the researchers find? The paper's title says it all: "Raise Wages, Kill Jobs? Seven Decades of Historical Data Find No Correlation Between Minimum Wage Increases and Employment Levels."

The results were clear. Of the nearly two dozen federal minimum-wage hikes since 1938, total year-over-year employment actually increased 68% of the time.

In those industries most affected by the minimum wage, employment increases were even more common: 73% of the time in the retail sector, 82% in low-wage leisure and hospitality.

"These basic economic indicators show no correlation between federal minimum-wage increases and lower employment levels," the authors write.

In fact, if anything, the data suggest that increases in the federal minimum appeared to encourage job growth and hiring.

Perhaps even more striking, of the only eight times that total or industry-specific employment declined after a minimum-wage increase, the US economy was already in recession (five times), technically just emerging from recession (twice), or about to head into recession (once).

Read on...

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