South Dakota Think Tank: Minimum Wage Hikes Cost Jobs

With the exception of hardline minimum wage advocates and their message mavens at PR firm BerlinRosen, most rational onlookers admit that a minimum wage hikes cost jobs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the nation’s Chief Financial Officers, the country’s largest private staffing firm, and even Bill Gates—all agree that wage mandates have consequences.

Now, even traditional advocates for a higher minimum wage are jumping on board. Take South Dakota’s leading left-wing think tank, the South Dakota Budget and Policy Institute (SDBPI). In its September “impact analysis” of a minimum wage hike in South Dakota, it listed as one of its key findings that 357 South Dakota jobs could be lost as a result.

It’s a startling admission, especially because it appears SDBPI was assisted in its report by the Economic Policy Institute (EcPI)—Big Labor’s go-to think tank. It’s long been an article of faith for EcPI and others like it that a higher minimum wage won’t cost jobs, even though that viewpoint runs contrary to the evidence and forces them to hold intellectually-inconsistent positions.

The loss of roughly 400 jobs might seem like small potatoes, but it’s a very big deal if you’re one of the employees who’s no longer working. It’s especially concerning because minimum wage employees tend to be young, less-educated, and less-experienced—the exact people who need the opportunities that a wage hike would eliminate.

It’s refreshing to see a few minimum wage advocates (finally) acknowledge that their chosen policy has consequences. Let’s hope others will follow South Dakota’s lead.