There are plenty of problems with the Fight for 15 movement and the federal minimum wage in general, and we’ve discussed them here at length in the past. But did you know that such legislation is also racist? It’s true. And it’s a conclusion being stressed in one of the more unlikely places you might imagine, coming to us from the editorial board at the Detroit News.
They begin by agreeing with Chris Christie’s recent move to veto a $15/hour minimum wage hike in New Jersey, going on to explain that the Fight for Fifteen movement may have lost in New Jersey, but they are on the move in Detroit, focusing primarily on fast food chains. They next highlight the rather obvious fact that most minimum wage workers are young… between 16 and 24. Then they really get down to brass tacks.
By raising the cost of an employee, forced wage hikes make it more expensive to hire less experienced workers.
Most businesses are not altruistic. A company’s owner does not hire an employee because the employee needs a job. Rather, business owners have specific positions to fill and are best suited to determine the value of that work.
Minimum wages require businesses to pay more for employees than they are “worth” in the marketplace. If the cost of hiring employees increases, business owners will be incentivized to hire only employees with longer employment records and more credentials, discouraging employers from hiring younger individuals with fewer skills and shorter resumes.
So how does racism come into the equation? Because, as the editors recognize, cutting down job opportunities for people in that age group with few to no real word job skills under their belts disproportionately affects minorities. (Emphasis added)
What’s more, pricing new workers out of the system by increasing the minimum wage disproportionately impacts other disadvantaged groups, such as people of color. Nearly three out of every 10 African-American teens are jobless, according to BLS. White teens are unemployed at about half that rate.
Raising the minimum wage might make a small portion of the workforce happy in the short-term, but few of them will be smiling once businesses are forced to reduce hours or lay off employees to maintain their current costs.
Obviously the charge of racism is in this equation is farcical because the policy is equally applied to everyone. But the fact is that the Left constantly brings these charges of racism in parallel situations. When voting laws are imagined to make it “harder” to vote in lower income communities, cries of racism are heard across the land. In reality, everyone gets the same chance to vote regardless of race just as everyone flipping burgers in Detroit will receive the same wage if these laws are put in place. But what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, so if you want such things to be described as racist, then raising the minimum wage is the New Jim Crow.
But all sarcasm aside, the underlying argument being made by the Detroit News editorial board is both obvious and true. If you force employers to pay fifteen dollars per hour they are going to cut back on staffing as much as they can and demand more of the employees, including more experience and increased responsibilities. If you’re the kid with no college degree yet who is out looking for your first job, you’re not going to qualify to operate the fry machine anymore.