Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Raise the Wage Act, which aimed to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. This came after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report finding that up to 3.7 million jobs would be lost as a result of the policy.
But now, presidential hopefuls are pushing for even higher mandated wages, with some landing at $22 an hour. This should alarm business owners and the very people this proposal is promised to help—American workers.
Higher minimum wages only hurt workers and the businesses that employ them, especially small businesses who often cannot afford the added labor costs. While a higher minimum wage sounds like a great idea, positions that pay the minimum wage are intended for entry-level workers to learn skills for a future career. If the minimum wage is increased, these individuals will lose out on learning opportunities because small businesses might be forced to cut hours or lay off employees to stay afloat.
A recent CNBC/SurveyMonkey poll found that confidence in the economy is soaring amongst small business owners across the country. 56 percent of small business owners say their businesses are in good condition.
As the economy continues to boom, the focus should be on policies that will fuel continued growth–not douse it with job-killing mandates.
Instead of raising the minimum wage, policymakers should promote workforce development initiatives aimed to equip workers with the skills to fill the 7 million vacant jobs that pay over $50,000. We don’t have a wage gap issue, we have a skills gap. To learn more about the skills gap, visit Fightfor50.com.