NCPA Expert Says Raising Minimum Wage Helps Politicians, Not Poor: 436,000 Teen and Minority Jobs May Be Lost With Hike to $6.15

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the President prepares to focus on a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $6.15 an hour by 2002, policy which Congress is due to consider this year, Bruce Bartlett, economic expert and senior fellow for the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, warns Congress to reconsider. According to Bartlett, raising the minimum wage has extremely harmful effects on the very people it is designed to aid - the poor, particularly black teenagers. "A raise in the minimum wage has always been an easy sell in Washington," Bartlett says. "But whatever the political realities, it's still a bad idea."

WHO: Bruce Bartlett

WHAT: Minimum Wage Expert

WHEN: Available Immediately

WHERE: National Center for Policy Analysis, 655 15th Street, NW, Suite 375, Washington, DC

Based on demographic studies of past minimum wage hikes, according to Bartlett:

  • A 10% raise in the minimum wage will reduce overall youth employment by 2.1%
  • For low income workers earning minimum wage or slightly better, a 10% minimum wage raise has an even greater impact - 10% job loss.
  • For minimum wage workers who do not lose their jobs as a result of a mandated wage hike, 80% of the net benefits will go to employees who live in families who are not poor.
  • A higher minimum wage encourages teenagers to drop out of school, reducing their overall capacity to rise above low-skill level jobs.