Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage

 The minimum wage became an indelible aspect of the American policy landscape in 1938, with the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The minimum wage is the lowest amount an employer can pay a worker for her services. The federal minimum wage is set (or not) by Congress, although states, counties, and municipalities can set a higher (but not a lower) minimum wage than that mandated by the federal goverment.

Cry Wolf Quotes

The question of the minimum wage goes beyond the immediate problem. It strikes at a basic underpinning of our democratic system. It touches on the ability of individuals to enter freely into contract without coercion and without arbitrary restrictions for mutual profit. Have we so soon forgotten that the American Revolution was fought in part because of such restrictions? Have we forgotten that there is a correlation between a free market economy and the amount of personal freedom enjoyed by the inhabitants of a country? I certainly hope not. What we are accomplishing by setting a minimum wage is restricting the ability of persons to freely contract for their services and, in so doing, effectively limiting their opportunities to achieve economic well-being.

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Tom Hagedorn (R-MN), Congressional Record.
04/26/1977 | Full Details | Law(s): Minimum Wage

The problem is raising the minimum wage actually hurts, not helps, low-income workers. Minimum wage laws make it illegal to have a job that pays below the government mandated limit. If that wage is more than a job provider will pay for a certain job, then no worker can get—or keep—that job.

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Martin, Catherine, Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
03/01/1999 | Full Details | Law(s): Minimum Wage

The proposal is couched in the soothing and smarmy rhetoric of leftist populism….But if that's all it takes, why stop there? If a simple legislative act increasing the minimum wage to $7.75 is all that is needed to improve the lot of the working poor by just a little, then why not raise it to $10 an hour and get them to the poverty level? For that matter, why not raise it to $50 an hour, assuring every working Californian a comfortable living?

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Tom McClintock, California Republican state senator. “The Los Angeles Times.
04/11/2006 | Full Details | Law(s): Minimum Wage

The truth is that if your labor is worth $6.75 an hour and the minimum wage is raised to $7.75, you simply become unemployable. The first rung of the ladder is gone, and there's no place to start….This legislation is the ultimate expression of the cruelest of all human lies: ‘I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.'

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Tom McClintock, California Republican state senator. The Los Angeles Times.
04/11/2006 | Full Details | Law(s): Minimum Wage

Evidence

Backgrounders & Briefs

Minimum Wage Policy Brief

By Professor Stephanie Luce

The idea of minimum wage laws has been around for more than a century. They are still a good idea.

Resources

Raise the Minimum Wage is a project of the National Employment Law Project. The effort is devoted to preserving the wage floor by raising the federal minimum wage.