The Raise the Wage Act would kill over 1 million jobs
The battle over whether to increase the minimum wage is ramping up in Congress with the House passing the Raise the Wage Act. The bill gradually raises the federal minimum wage over the course of six years to $15.00 by 2025. Not surprisingly, it has big support among the Democratic base.
But according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), while raising the minimum wage would increase wages for millions of people, it would also cause 1.3 million Americans to lose their job. The report concluded that “For most low-wage workers, earnings and family income would increase, which would lift some families out of poverty. But other low-wage workers would become jobless, and their family income would fall—in some cases, below the poverty threshold.”
In other words, the Raise the Wage Act has the government once again in the business of picking winners and losers. Some Americans will certainly benefit from a higher wage—at least until inflation catches up, which it will likely do quickly.
But what happens to the 1.3 million Americans who lose their jobs? How many small business owners will have to close their doors because they can no longer afford to pay their employees? And what happens to all of those workers who see their benefits cut so their employer can keep the lights on now that wages have more than doubled in just six years? Even worse, now that the minimum wage has more than doubled, what happens to workers whose companies turn to technology to replace the now much more expensive hourly waged workers?
While we can all agree that we should work to find a more livable wage for all Americans, there is simply too much at risk to dramatically increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour in such a short period of time.
Instead of passing partisan legislation that could kill more than one million jobs, Congress should focus on passing quality bipartisan legislation that boosts our economy and increases job growth. An example of this would be Brand USA, a public-private partnership that promotes foreign travel to the United States.
The Congressional Budget Office reported that Brand USA, would “increase direct spending by $500 million and revenues by $731 million over the 2015-2024 period, resulting in a net decrease in the deficit of $231 million over the 10-year period.” And according to a study by Oxford Economics, since 2013 Brand USA’s marketing efforts have fostered 52,000 jobs each year.
Sadly, Brand USA’s funding is at risk. Congress should be more focused on economically beneficial legislation rather than pushing highly political issues such as minimum wage increase that could be economically detrimental to millions. The Raise the Wage Act passed in the House but will have a tough time passing in the Senate, which will lead to another partisan fight. Republican leaders in the House, such as Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), should fight for Brand USA’s reauthorization, which passed in 2014 with large bipartisan support.
As the United States economy continues to prosper, it’s important that Congress does everything in its power to pass policies that foster its growth. Reauthorizing public-partnerships like Brand USA is a great start.
Robert Graham is the former chairman of the Republican Party of Arizona and served as a senior adviser to the Trump presidential campaign in 2016.
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