By Dustin Hurst│Washington State Watchdog
Award-winning economist and Wall Street Journal writer Stephen Moore wants the average voter to know one thing about increasing the minimum wage: It will irreparably harm poor people in America.
Moore’s swimming against the current in America today. Just three months ago, President Obama prescribed a minimum wage hike as one method to combat income inequality and lift citizens out of poverty. With that message in mind, left-wing organizations and labor unions have become the movement’s eager foot soldiers, pushing for the hike in communities and statehouses across the nation.
Yet, Moore said Thursday night at a debate on the Gonzaga University campus in downtown Spokane, that the best way to train people to work and lift them out of poverty is to place them in the workforce. “One of the best predictors in your career is to start working at a younger age,” Moore told the audience, composed mostly of Gonzaga businesses students. “We want people young into workforce.”
Liberals on the panel disagreed and suggested that raising the minimum wage to the president’s ideal of $10.10 per hour would add millions in new money to a struggling economy and lift Americans off welfare programs such as Medicaid and food stamps.
“When you put more money in people’s pockets, you have more money to spend,” said Sarah Jane Glynn, associate director for Women’s Economic Policy at American Progress. “That money can actually boost business.”
Through the two-hour discussion, Moore pounded the idea that work, not government programs, regulations and controls, would solve poverty. By raising the minimum wage, Moore said, young people and inexperienced workers lose out because businesses either cut their jobs or reduce positions due to labor costs, which limits opportunity and mobility.
“The people who get hurt by the minimum wage are the people at the bottom,” Moore said. “What’s their minimum wage? It’s zero. If no one is working in the household, there’s no way they are going to escape poverty at all.”
Here’s what Moore said about the issue immediately following the debate: