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Another Voice: Minimum wage of $15 an hour could harm millions

By Jay Ambrose

If you’re thinking of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, you need maximum compassion, and liberals don’t have it. Promises of more money for lots of people can make voters ridiculously happy if they don’t understand that more for some always means less for others. So the liberals get elected, do their thing and ruin lives of the poorest and most disadvantaged of our fellow citizens.

Here’s a big issue just underlined in a report by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office. It says increasing the current $7.25 minimum wage by that much could fatten the wallets of 17 million workers. That sounds great except that, maybe for 1.3 million others, it could bring their paychecks to zero. They could lose their jobs.

Such calculations are, of course, just educated guesses. The Heritage Foundation, for instance, says that a wage boost to $15 would affect a third of those earning wages and salaries and could put a devastating 7 million of them on the streets.

The point is that businesses would have to come up with the extra money one way or the other, an obvious means being to lay off people, usually the less skilled sometimes replaceable by technology. The fired then don’t get the experience leading to better jobs.

Businesses may also raise prices, thereby reducing purchasing power for people who often can’t afford the squeeze. The owners could also substitute part-time jobs for full-time jobs or, if nothing worked well, close down their operations. Another issue is that a federal minimum wage of $15 might seem appropriate for the economy of one area but malware for another.

But never mind. Right now we’ve got a bunch of Democrats running in a primary that they hope will advance their cause of White House residence. On this issue, they could opt for a lower minimum wage to help reduce the negatives, but at least 19 of the candidates like $15. An argument is that the current minimum wage has been squatting in a corner for years while wages in general have been stagnant. Some would have you know it’s all because of the greedy rich exploiting workers with Republican aid.

Nope. A Republican named President Trump has raised wages, with unemployment rates reaching historic lows. Trump’s tool was not governmental impositions making businesses seek a place to hide, but deregulation and tax reform.

Oh no, it didn’t happen, say the Democrats. Their plan is to spend like crazy. And look, one of Trump’s major weaknesses has been ignoring the debt, but these people could rush us to a crisis in a minute. To help fix everything gone crazily amiss, there would be their minimum wage hikes and, soon enough, the public would realize they are on the Titanic.

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service

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