What's The Real Reason For The Push To Raise The Minimum Wage?

With all the talk by Democrats about raising the minimum wage, you'd think a large portion of the workforce in the US only makes minimum wage. But when you look at the numbers you find out that a mere 1.6 million people, 1.1 percent of the workforce, are making minimum wage. That's a very small part of the workforce. Of those 1.6 million people, a little under 500,000 of them are between the ages of 16 and 19 and that number is shrinking, in part because of the recession but mostly because they are being priced out of the market.

But the Democrats would like to see the minimum wage raised to $10.10 per hour, claiming it will help raise the working poor out of poverty. But will it?

In short, an America with a $10.10 per hour minimum wage would look indistinguishable from the one we see today on the issue of income inequality, as well as the economic aspect that more conservatives focus on, opportunity for advancement. (Getting that first entry-level, minimum wage may get harder as each employee becomes more expensive to the employer.) The workers making minimum wage may very well appreciate the extra $85 to $114 per week, but it’s not going to have much of an impact on their purchasing power. Small companies on tight margins may find the $2.85 per worker per hour cost more difficult to handle, or may raise prices. Of course, if prices go up… that will eat into the budgets of those minimum-wage workers pretty fast, won’t it?

One of the real reasons Democrats may be pushing for a higher minimum wage has nothing to do with helping the working poor, but with supporting labor unions. How is that?

Many labor contracts are tied to the minimum wage, meaning that pay for certain union jobs are set a some multiple of minimum wage, so when minimum wage goes up, so does union pay. What better way to pay off labor unions supporting Democrats than for the Democrats to boost the minimum wage.

So while the Democrats want to sound as if they are for helping the poor working stiffs making minimum wage, what they're really doing is helping their union supporters to make more money, whether they deserve it or not.

So when you hear Democrats make the claim that they're doing it for the working poor, you must ask the question Cui bono?