Letters: Debating a minimum wage increase
E.J. McMahon's opinion piece "Higher minimum wage would hurt the poor" [Opinion, June 14] is the usual right-wing shoddy "research" designed to keep our economy the most unequal in the developed world, so that the top 5 percent can continue to get wealthier at the expense of everyone else.
Despite such continually unproven, regressive propaganda, there is no evidence that increasing the minimum wage results in higher unemployment. The Center for Economic and Policy Research found that raising the minimum wage has no discernible impact on employment, and in fact, it concluded that wage increases are more likely to result in more jobs rather than fewer jobs.
McMahon should try supporting a family on the current abysmal minimum wage to see how out of touch with reality he and the Manhattan Institute are.
Ed Ciaccio, Douglaston
E.J. McMahon's column could not be a more timely warning. All anyone needs to understand this issue is a little common sense, which is sadly lacking from what I read in some of the online comments criticizing the column. A higher minimum wage hurts the working poor by weakening the economic incentive to hire more people. And with the American economy already edging toward recession, thanks to global economic weakness, there could not be a worse time to raise the minimum wage.
Raising the minimum wage also negatively affects the wider economy and depresses the creation of jobs for even skilled workers. That's because union wages are often contractually pegged at a given amount above the minimum wage. Thus, raising the minimum wage forces already generous union wages higher in many industries. This same effect is present in nonunion workplaces as well.
Conservatives, Republicans and business owners generally instead support raising the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credit, a refundable credit that puts money into the pockets of minimum-wage earners who are heads of households. The tax credit is a wage subsidy paid directly by government; thus no disincentive is created affecting the hiring of entry-level workers.
Mark Alesse, Kittery Point, Maine
Editor's note: The writer lobbied on behalf of small business for 18 years as the New York State director for the National Federation of Independent Business.