The Evidence-Free Case for a Wage Hike

When politicians don’t use facts to defend their position, there’s a good chance the facts don’t back them up. Exhibit A is a recent op-ed from New Jersey Senate President  Stephen Sweeney (D) in support of the state’s January 1st minimum wage hike.

Sweeney claimed in the Times of Trenton that predictions about jobs being cut thanks to a higher minimum wage “have predictably fallen flat.”  Unfortunately, he didn’t offer a single fact, economic statistic, or study to prove his point. Instead, he just asked readers to take his word for it.

In this case, Sweeney’s say-so is at odds with the facts. A recent Employment Policies Institute survey of businesses in the state found that 27 percent were highly likely to reduce employee hours in response to the wage hike, and 29 percent were highly likely to reduce job opportunities.

For instance, the owner of a food market in West New York, New Jersey, said “I had to reduce the hours of my employees to make up for the difference [in cost].” A retail store owner in Newark agreed, stating “The impact [minimum wage] had on my business is, I had to raise prices and I had to let go one of the peoples that worked for me.”

If Sen. Sweeney wants to add to the debate on minimum wage, he has the platform to do so. He was even invited to the White House recently to speak on the topic. But without any facts to back up his arguments, perhaps Sen. Sweeney should defer to more credible experts like the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that up to a million jobs would be lost if the federal minimum wage is increased to $10.10.