January 15, 2014 | Vol.54 N.3

Raising minimum wage is just a smoke screen

Dear Editor,

President Obama has proclaimed that the major priority of the remainder of his term will be about economic equability, he has begun by pushing for extending unemployment benefits and raising the minimum wage.

Neither of these ideas will actually help the poor and will have a negative effect on jobs.

I can demonstrate the harmful effects of extended unemployment benefits by using the words of Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, he wrote in his economics textbook: “Public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect…. In other countries, particularly in Europe, benefits are more generous and last longer. The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job. Generous unemployment benefits in some European countries are widely believed to be one of the main causes of “Eurosclerosis,” the persistent high unemployment that affects a number of European countries.”

If Dr. Krugman didn’t drive the point home, then how about President Obama’s Director of the White House United States National Economic Council and current President of Harvard University, Larry Summers who wrote, “the existence of unemployment insurance almost doubles the number of unemployment spells lasting more than three months.”

The raising of the minimum wage will hurt the people who need these “starter” jobs the most. Current youth unemployment is in double digits and will likely rise due to a large increase in the minimum wage.

The Democrats are using raising the minimum wage as a “smoke screen” to hide the fact that better income jobs just aren’t being created by their policies. They say people need a raise to give families a living wage, but only three percent of minimum wage workers are over the age of 25.

The President and his Democratic colleagues want to make the poor comfortable being poor instead of providing the engines to assist in living a self-sufficient life that will raise them out of poverty.

The Democrats love to demonize the ideas of “trickle down economics” but instead embrace “trickle-up poverty”.


Todd Welch

Lake Stevens

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