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Abolish The Minimum Wage

The BriefGet Up To Speed

The first attempt at establishing a national minimum wage, a part of 1933'€™s sweeping National Industrial Recovery Act, was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1935. But in 1938, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law a minimum hourly wage of 25 cents'€”$4.07 in today'€™s dollars. Three-quarters of a century later, we are still debating the merits of this cornerstone of the New Deal. Do we need government to ensure a decent paycheck, or would low-wage workers and the economy be better off without its intervention?


Raising the wage will make it more expensive to hire younger and low-skill workers. There are better ways to help the poor.

Sunday, March 10, 2013
Kevin Hassett and Michael Strain

From the standpoint of public policy, the minimum wage is a symbol of the view that "feel-good" policies are viable solutions to social ills.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Bryan Caplan

Most economists believe that minimum wage laws cause unnecessary hardship for the very people they are supposed to help.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Linda Gorman

A higher wage will lift hardworking Americans out of poverty and break their link with government assistance.

Sunday, March 10, 2013
Andy Stern and Carl Camden

<a name="subsidies" id="subsidies"></a>Both the minimum wage and the tax credit subsidize low-wage labor. The difference between the two is that the minimum wage puts the cost of the subsidy on employers, whereas the EITC puts it on taxpayers.

Sunday, February 24, 2013
The Editors

Dube discusses the minimum wage as a policy mechanism.

Thursday, February 14, 2013
Arindrajit Dube interview with Mike Konczal

A history of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Jonathan Grossman

A table of federal minimum wage rates under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 1938 – 2009.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Minimum wage and <a name="overtime" id="overtime"></a>overtime premium pay standards applicable to nonsupervisory, nonfarm, private sector employment under state and federal laws.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013
U.S. Department of Labor

Much of the new minimum wage research is flawed. The authors conclude that the evidence still shows that minimum wages pose a tradeoff of higher wages for some against job losses for others, and that policymakers need to bear this tradeoff in mind.

Saturday, September 1, 2012
David Neumark

Living wage laws reduce employment among the least-skilled workers they are intended to help. But they also increase wages for many of them.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
David Neumark

The authors find that a rise in minimum wage has an instantaneous impact on wage rates and a corresponding negative impact on employment.

Saturday, October 1, 2011
Yusuf Soner Baskaya and Yona Rubinstein

The weight of evidence points to little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage.

Friday, February 1, 2013
John Schmitt

Minimum wage increases—in the range that have been implemented in the United States—do not reduce employment among <a name="teens" id="teens"></a>teens.

Friday, April 1, 2011
Sylvia A. Allegretto

There are no detectable employment losses from the kind of minimum wage increases we have seen in the United States.

Monday, November 1, 2010
Arindrajit Dube

The authors studied a rise in New Jersey’s minimum wage and found no indication that it reduced employment.

Thursday, September 1, 1994
David Card and Alan B. Krueger

<a name="hardship" id="hardship"></a>Across all measures, the authors find no statistically significant evidence that a higher minimum wage has helped reduce financial, housing, health, or food insecurity.

Sunday, April 1, 2012
Joseph Sabia

The authors show that raising the federal minimum wage continues to be an inadequate way to help the working poor.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Joseph Sabia and Richard Burkhauser

The minimum wage reduces inequality in the lower tail of the&nbsp;wage distribution but impacts are typically less than half as large as those reported in the literature and are almost negligible for males.

Monday, November 1, 2010
David Autor

The multiple positive effects that would result from a higher minimum wage are clear: It would boost the earnings of working families hardest hit by the Great Recession, spur economic growth, and create about 100,000 net new jobs.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Doug Hall and David Cooper

<a name="inequality" id="inequality"></a>Setting the minimum wage at an appropriate level can help spur broad-based wage growth and move us toward an economy where workers benefit from productivity growth.

Thursday, February 21, 2013
Lawrence Mishel

The economics of the minimum wage are complicated, and it’s far from obvious what an increase would accomplish. A more generous earned-income tax credit would provide more support for the working poor and would be <a name="pro-business" id="pro-business"></a>pro-business at the same time.

Saturday, March 2, 2013
Christina Romer

The authors’ results imply that the minimum wage and subsidies for low-skilled workers (such as the EITC) are complementary policies.

Friday, January 29, 2010
David Lee and Emmanuel Saez

The results of this simulation suggest that the EITC leads to an increase in the share of less-educated women that will be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits and leads to an increase in their monthly benefit amount.

Monday, March 5, 2012
Molly Dahl

Studies have found that the EITC encourages work, reduces poverty, helps families meet basic needs, and improves children’s achievement in school and likely increases their earnings as adults.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Jimmy Charite

Tax credits are worthwhile in their own right, but they are not plausible substitutes for an increase in the minimum wage.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Max B. Sawicky

Whether the policy combination of a high Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and a high minimum wage is viewed as favorable or unfavorable depends in part on whom policymakers are trying to help.

Friday, July 1, 2011
David Neumark and William Wascher

Response to a request by Senator Grassley about the effects of increasing the federal minimum wage versus expanding the earned income tax credit.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
January 9

Failure to index the minimum wage makes workers worse off each year as inflation erodes the purchasing power of each dollar. Despite proposals to the contrary, using the tax system to augment wages could make workers even worse off.

Monday, January 1, 2007
Elaine Maag

By a wide margin (71% to 26%), the public favors increasing the minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 per hour to $9.00 an hour.

Thursday, February 21, 2013
Pew Research Center

A panel of 38 economic experts respond to questions about the minimum wage.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Chicago Booth IGM Forum

$22 minimum wage, per hour, is an idea that Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised at a recent hearing. President Obama has suggested raising the rate from the current $7.25 to $9.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Peter Grier

The White House is coming under pressure from liberal Democrats in the House and Senate to press for a minimum wage hike as high as $10.10.

Thursday, February 28, 2013
Daniel Strauss

Now that President Barack Obama has proposed an increase in the U.S. minimum wage, people on both sides of the debate in Washington might want to look to Europe for ammunition.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Liz Alderman

Less than a week after Costco CEO Craig Jelinek spoke out in favor of raising the minimum wage, the big-box retailer’s earnings showed that paying workers a living wage doesn’t always hurt business.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Huffington Post

A map of minimum wage laws around the world.

Thursday, February 21, 2013
Heather Brady