Higher government-mandated minimum wage scales reduce opportunities for the very people proponents claim to be helping - men and women with minimal skills.
Yet Democrat leaders in the West Virginia Legislature want to increase the state-required minimum wage by $1. That would take it to $8.25 an hour, $1 more than the current federal level of $7.25.
House of Delegates Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, and other Democrat lawmakers have released an agenda for the Legislature's regular session, which began this week. The minimum wage increase, proposed to take effect during a 16-month period, is on the list.
Ironically, Democrat leaders also said they plan to evaluate legislative proposals by asking four questions about every bill:
- Does it benefit families and communities?
- Does it expand academic opportunities for students and provide support to the education system?
- Does it bolster the state's energy industry?
- Does it spark economic development in a meaningful way?
Increasing the minimum wage does not help families and communities because it reduces the number of entry-level jobs available. It is likely to prompt many employers to lay some workers off.
Young people just graduating from high school and attempting to enter the job market are harmed, not helped, by increasing the minimum wage.
An increase would create another drag on the economy as a whole because it would hamper job creation and expansion of businesses.
All these things have been proven time and time again in objective studies by economists.
So what motive do Democrat leaders have for suggesting an increase in the minimum wage? Consider the timing, just before an election campaign in which candidates will be eager to find ways to sway voters.
Obviously, Democrat leaders are fishing for votes - and that is a terrible reason for a major change such as they are proposing.