Minimum Wage

Stossel: Minimum Wage Hurts Beginners

How Seattle’s $15 minimum wage killed entry-level jobs.


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Seattle was the first big city to pass a $15 minimum wage.

People there were excited.

"I think it's pretty awesome since I benefit from it," one told us. Another added: "I wish it was all over the place, not just Seattle."

Now, five years after the law passed, the evidence is in: While some workers did earn more, entry-levels jobs decreased.

The politicians never mentioned that when they passed the bill, says Erin Shannon of the Washington Policy Center: "It's really presented by minimum wage advocates as…a win-win for employers…a win-win for workers."

She pointed us to a factory that moved hundreds of jobs out of state, and to a store that stopped hiring beginners because of the $15 minimum wage.

"The politicians, in Seattle especially, have no sense whatsoever about what it means to small businesses like us," the owner of Retrofit Home tells us.

A minimum wage hurts young people who need a first job, say three young people who won a contest organized by Stossel in The Classroom, which provides free videos and lesson plans about free markets to teachers.

Dillon Hodes won the high-school-level video contest. He says a friend who worked at Kroger saw her hours cut as the store implemented a $12 minimum.

"Raising the minimum wage causes increased unemployment," explains Rigel Noble-Koza, the college-level contest winner.

Stossel says he learned things from Noble-Koza's video, which noted that Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland have no national minimum wage.

The minimum wage "stops us from actually getting a job," says Esther Rhoads, who won the high school essay contest.

She points out that the earliest advocates of the minimum-wage wanted to price black Americans out of the market.

About 100 years ago, blacks were often paid less but they were more likely to be employed than whites. Rep. Miles Clayton Allgood (D–Ala.) said he hoped the minimum wage would stop "cheap colored labor in competition with white labor."

"It was meant…to keep the poor and the minorities from getting jobs," Esther tells Stossel.

The minimum wag also harms young people.

Esther explains: "I'm 14. It'd be very difficult for me to find a job—my labor wouldn't be worth $15 an hour."

"If only politicians were as smart as those kids," Stossel says.

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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  1. Young working Americans need to learn how to show up for work on time, be dressed properly, and do see what its like to do menial work.

    That is what starter jobs are for. Low pay and shit work, so you decide how to do better for yourself or become a ditch digger.

    Capitalism needs ditch diggers to actually dig ditches to help people. Socialists need ditch diggers to bury the bodies of dissidents.

    1. How dare you attempt to connect compensation to productivity? We all know the only purpose of a “job” is to give a person money and status, aka “dignity”. Demanding anything in return is racist, classist oppression.

    2. “Young working Americans need to learn how to show up for work on time, be dressed properly, and do see what its like to do menial work.”
      Why? Life, like college, should be free.
      Menial work should be done by the political prisoners on the right.

    3. Get up. Clean up. Dress up. Show up. Shut up. Stand up. Don’t f up. It works for many people.
      Why would anyone think that San Francisco and Biloxi should have the same minimum wage? Why would anyone think that 60 Senators would have any idea of those complexities? Minimum wages should vary all over the place according to the economic circumstances that prevail there. Who is best equipped to figure out the right solution? It’s the local authorities…What am I missing?

  2. “It’s really presented by minimum wage advocates as…a win-win for employers…a win-win for workers.”

    Let’s not kid ourselves: the people who got this good and hard were the people who voted for it in the first place. And now that it didn’t work out, they’ll vote for another statist scheme to redistribute money their way.

  3. This is one of the major reasons I’m a left-libertarian rather than a progressive. Almost all my progressive friends want the minimum wage to be at least $15 / hour, while I argue there should be no lower limit at all. Abolishing the minimum wage, combined with implementing a Koch / Reason open borders immigration policy, would end the #DrumpfRecession and create an economy that works for everyone.

  4. What is the definition of “living wage”? What standard of living does this refer to?

    1. I highly doubt the girl pimping that in the video thought deeper about it.


    2. “What is the definition of “living wage”?”

      Whatever number some imbecile pulls out of his or her ass.

      1. I think Bernie defines it as having three houses.

  5. “minimum wage hurts beginners”

    … and the sky is blue. And men are not women. anything else?

    1. In Los Angeles the sky is gray and in Berkeley men are women. Just saying.

  6. Just a temporary set back. Mandated minimum wages are just the first phase in the progressive economy three step program. Next up will be mandatory hiring followed by strict price controls.

  7. “Everybody deserves a living wage”

    Then build the skill set that lets you earn that wage.

    1. Have you noticed parallels between the living wage movement and the incel movement?

      1. They are expecting to be given the sexe for nothing?

    2. +1000

      You mean kids straight out of high schools are not loaded with useful business acumen and skills to be super productive in the business world?

    3. That’s a bit hard to do when your a father working 3 minimum wage jobs just barely abel to afford rent and food.

      Minimum wage jobs are not the jobs of young first time workers any more.

  8. If young people want to reverse the minimum wage, they are going to have to do better. Leaving old rich farts like Stossel to carry your water for you isn’t enough. Recently I’ve seen crowds of young people mobilized on environmental issues and gun issues. Until I see similar mobilization against higher minimum wages, I will remain unimpressed.

    1. Meanwhile, communists blow me away.

      1. “communists blow me away”

        No, communists have their gulags. It’s anarchists who believe in politics through chemistry.

        1. Like Chemjeff?

    2. “”Until I see similar mobilization against higher minimum wages, I will remain unimpressed.””

      You won’t see that. You might see them protesting the affects of minimum wages. Lack of jobs or less hours, higher costs, ect.

      1. “You might see them protesting”

        No luck so far. If you see any young people protesting an increase in minimum wage, please be sure to tell the rest of us.

        1. A child will not protest you giving it candy all day, but one day may protest against not enough being done about diabetes.

          1. “A child will not protest you giving it candy all day”

            These are not children, but adults. In many societies they would be married and raising their own children. Infantalizing them is no more persuasive than Stossel’s hand wringing.

            1. The point being neither seem to understand the consequences of their actions and are will to satisfy the short term without considering the long term.

              1. “The point being neither seem to understand the consequences”

                It’s a good thing the rest of us understand consequences so well. Otherwise we’d all be up to our eyeballs in debt. (This is sarcasm. The rest of us are just as blinkered, even more so, than the typical student or young person.)

    3. That’s an interesting approach. It beats thinking about the issue.

      1. It’s my usual response when I see old rich people taking up an issue for the sake of young poor people who don’t seem to care. Call me cynical if you must.

  9. But Paul Krugman would disagree.
    He has a Pulitzer Prize for profound stupidity in economics.
    Plus he writes for the New York Times, a liberal rag from hell itself.
    Who could argue against those credentials?

    1. Plus he has the ‘conscience’ of a liberal.

      More like illiberal.

    2. “Paul Krugman Says Markets Will ‘Never’ Recover From Trump; Dow Hits Record High”

      Like that asshat Ehrlich, he hasn’t the decency to apologize.

  10. That guy at the two minute mark. Yeh him.

    He says ‘someone else will replace’ the businesses that close up.

    This is a mindset of a statist bureaucratic individual who is clueless and completely ignorant about how business works. Never mind if he’d stop to think about his inconsiderate arrogance he’d realize those businesses were run by PEOPLE with FAMILIES.

    They seem to think when one closes another pops up and all is good. Doesn’t work that way my commie pal. When a business closes consider the permanent losses and unseen damage it does to your community. Think about the time and effort to ‘replace’ such businesses you smug prick.

    Go take a fricken course because I guaranfuckingtee it you and authoritarians like you won’t think that way when it happens to YOU.

    This is a common trope among progressives. It’s a variation of ‘if you can’t afford $15 then you shouldn’t be in business’ or ‘deserve to close’.

    Evil twits.

    1. If these buissness can’t survive except by paying their workers the same tiny wage as years ago than they are failures and they should take some personal responsibility and get in line with the rest of the so called ditch diggers and earn their keep like the rest of us.

      It is not a right to own a buissness it is a privilege and if you can’t earn a profit the right way to bad they shouldn’t have gambled with their families livelihood in such a way.

  11. Politicians know full well the negative effects of a minimum wage. But they don’t care. It makes them “look” virtuous and gets them votes.

    Still, if Seattle or NYC wants a $15 minimum wage. Fine. It might not even effect them. But a national minimum? How does it make sense for towns like Kerrville, TX or Newark, OH to have the same floor as Seattle or NYC? These communities and countless others would be be destroyed by a national minimum wage and nobody is talking about them.

    1. “These communities and countless others would be be destroyed by a national minimum wage and nobody is talking about them.”

      Wouldn’t towns and communities with military bases fare better? Especially in flyover country. These towns have a large pool of uniformed tax parasites to exploit. As Trump continues scaling back overseas military involvement, these towns will become bigger and more numerous.

  12. I would suggest that the best way to get the government out of setting minimum wages is to have more labor unions. These unions could bargain for wages that are appropriate for the living standards of the community. They could also bargain for working conditions minimizing need for government regulations to set safe fair conditions. It would seem that unions are the natural compliment to employers in a capitalist system. They should be encouraged.

    1. Right because as soon as you mention union they won’t fire your ass and pull some one else in.

  13. Yes, yes it does. The minimum wage hurts everyone in the form of liberty, but it especially harms those whose skills are marginal enough to not be worth at least the minimum wage.

    1. *in the form of lost liberty

  14. very informative and enlightening video for me. thank you


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