The former chair of President Barack Obama’s White House Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger, warned in 2015, “Research suggests that a minimum wage set as high as $12 an hour will do more good than harm for low-wage workers, but a $15-an-hour national minimum wage would put us in uncharted waters, and risk undesirable and unintended consequences.”
Those consequences would be unequal across the country. Large cities with high costs of living — many of which already have or are on the path to a $15 minimum wage — may not experience huge consequences. But non-urban areas and places with lower costs of living could be devastated.
Imagine if policymakers were proposing a minimum-wage hike to nearly $36 — ensuring that all full-time workers earned at least $74,000 per year.
Most people would say that’s too much, realizing that such a high minimum wage would have massive consequences in terms of lost jobs, increased prices and a complete and utter disruption of the American labor market and economy.
Yet, $15 per hour in Mississippi would be equivalent to $35.74 per hour in D.C., where federal lawmakers seek to impose a national standard across the U.S.
Minimum wages are best left to local governments, where decisions can be made based on economic conditions and the cost of living.
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