President Obama has been making a heavy pitch for increasing the minimum wage, even going so far as to use his executive power to mandate a $10.10/hour minimum wage for federal contractors, but data compiled and presented by the White House itself undermines many of the President’s claims.
“The White House prepared a slideshow dated February 12, 2014 ahead of a Wednesday speech on the minimum wage touting the economic benefits of a 40 percent increase to the minimum wage,” reports the Free Beacon. “The president’s own data demonstrates that the majority of the wage increase will benefit those making well over the poverty line.”
Obama and other supporters of a wage hike have focused the debate on the fact that a full time worker making the current $7.25 hourly wage will earn about $15,000 per year.
“I’m going to keep pushing until we get a higher minimum wage for hard-working Americans across the entire country. It will be good for our economy. It will be good for our families,” he said in a December speech about the economy. He reiterated that message during the January State of the Union address and has pledged to make the minimum wage a top priority in the run up to 2014 elections.
The White House’s own chart shows that nearly 75 percent of all the beneficiaries of a minimum wage increase are either teenagers or adults with no children.
The slideshow shows that 22 percent of earners who will benefit from the hike come from households that bring in more than $75,000 per year—50 percent higher than the median household income in 2013.
Another 32 percent of beneficiaries come from households that earn between $35,000 and $75,000 annually, placing them at least 48 percent above the federal poverty line for a family of four.
A December report from the American Action forum found that teenagers represent 37 percent of all minimum wage workers and concluded that the wage increase could actually end up increasing inequality.
“Those families with teenagers earning minimum wage had average incomes of $103,964.30, well above the 2011 national average of $75,203.78,” the report found.
This is reminiscent of the debate over health insurance coverage. Obamacare was justified because there were tens of millions of Americans uninsured. We were supposed to believe that those people couldn’t access health insurance, but in reality a lot of them had insurance available (be it through an employer or an existing government program, etc.) but just weren’t availing themselves of it.
The slow-going in Obamacare enrollments, when we were assured that Americans would flock to the program, shows just how much Democrats over-sold the uninsured problem.
Just like they’re overselling the minimum wage problem.
What America needs, economically, isn’t mandatory higher wages through government fiat, but more opportunities for Americans to work and prosper. Though, these days, we seem to be celebrating Americans leaving the work force rather than joining it.