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Federal Minimum Wage Hike Would Cost Jobs, Opportunity, CEI Experts Warn

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House Democrats are expected to introduce legislation on Wednesday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 - a policy that will backfire, warn Competitive Enterprise Institute experts.

“It is unfortunate that congressional Democrats believe a $15 minimum wage will solve all problems for low wage workers,” said Trey Kovacs, a CEI labor policy analyst. “Research finds that a national $15 minimum wage will cost millions of workers their livelihood and impact young and low skill individuals the most. Moreover, this is a solution in search of a problem, because most workers already earn above the federal minimum wage, and most who do not are under the age of 25. Instead, Congress should be concerned with how important a worker’s first job is, even at relatively modest pay. Eliminating the first rung on the ladder of employment can have devastating impact on future earnings.”

“Advocates for a $15 minimum wage should look before they leap,” said Ryan Young, a CEI fellow. “A higher minimum wage has real world tradeoffs. It is not a free benefit. A higher wage will force employers to reduce non-wage pay such as insurance, breaks and personal time off, free meals or parking, and more. A hike in the federal minimum wage would also cause an estimated two million jobs to be lost and hit small businesses the hardest.”

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