From Washington, D.C., to Seattle, the $15 minimum wage already has taken a discernible, if not predictable, toll:

–Wal-Mart dumped plans for two locations in D.C.

–Employment rates for low-wage workers in Seattle have dropped by about 1 percentage point in comparison with other regions that didn’t raise wages.

Such is the fallout predicted by “the long-standing economic consensus on the effects of the wage mandates,” writes Richard Berman of the public affairs firm Berman and Co. for The Washington Times.

No less predictable is the response from the apologists for government-mandated wage floors. Among them, union-backed Media Matters reports that overall, Seattle’s job growth is triple the national average. But, just like a good magic trick, that argument shifts attention from job losses at the bottom rung and instead focuses on the overall ladder.

At stake are more than entry-level jobs. For example, Chicago teenagers who landed summer jobs were 43 percent less likely to be charged with violent crimes nearly a year later, according to a 2014 study in the journal Science.

“Hopefully, leftist wage-hike proponents will one day realize that before you can get a good job, you need a first job,” writes Mr. Berman.

Robbing young people of that opportunity in blind pursuit of an artificially inflated wage is an injustice beyond the economic consequences.


(c)2016 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

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