President Obama is expected to call for a minimum wage hike in today’s State of the Union address. But Heritage Foundation expert James Sherk debunks the common liberal myth that we need to raise the minimum wage to help low-income workers:

The minimum wage does not need to rise for minimum-wage employees to get a raise. Two-thirds of minimum-wage workers make above the minimum wage a year later. This happens because most minimum-wage jobs are entry-level positions. They teach unskilled and inexperienced workers basic employment skills. Without these skills, they cannot qualify for higher-paying jobs. As they acquire these skills, they become more productive and can command higher pay.

What do you think? Should we raise the minimum wage?

Comments (44)

Robert Sedlock - January 28, 2014

In 2010, the majority of the people spoke by way of the polls and helped to elect politicians to abolish Obamacare. Why didn’t the Republican Party support the efforts of the new elected officials?

Robert Sedlock - January 28, 2014

Since Congress holds the power of the purse, what action did Congress take to use this power since Obama took office? Why does Congress continue to fund Obamacare?

Robert Sedlock - January 28, 2014

When will we take a stand that Social Security is not a benefit – it is our money and someone needs to stand up and stop the misuse of the program —now! The original program provided a means for a program that could never run out of funds.

Robert Sedlock - January 28, 2014

We need findings of who gave the order to stand down and where did the president go after leaving the meeting room where key people were monitoring satellite video of the Benghazi Massacre?

Robert Sedlock - January 28, 2014

Why did we quietly accept the promotion of the UN Representative Rice after she lied to the American people and why did we accept Obama’s lie that a video caused terrorist type activities and reluctance to provide information to Congress?

Richard Hill - January 30, 2014

Any increase in the minimum wage should require that any/all jobs impacted by the federal minimum wage must also be verified by E-verify.

Chris Tyler - January 30, 2014

By raising the minimum wage, we will add yet another entitlement for Americans. Higher wages are supposed to be earned. We will also loose jobs, like with Obamacare, because it creates more expenses for businesses. It will possibly drive more jobs overseas because of the increased costs invovled. AND lets not forget that when a business has increased costs, they must raise prices to cover the costs.

Debra Moore - January 30, 2014

The government should NOT have control over minimum wage. The market should determine minimum wage.

Fred Sadrak - January 30, 2014

What the politicians do not tell you is raising the minimum wage will bring in more money to the Treasury and to Social Security, something this debt ridden government needs. The minimum wage argument is just another distractor from such issues as the IRS, Libya, executive orders, not enforcing laws, arbitrarily changing laws, and the list goes on and on.

Betty Sakai - January 30, 2014

There should be courses in understanding and managing money taught at every grade level.

Raising the minimum wage does nothing but increase the prices on goods and services. It makes it impossible for small business to compete with big business.

As anyone who has started their own business knows, having enough money to pay for everything and take home a profit is difficult. Profit margins are often small. Survival is a daily grind.

Big Labor, those working for big business, for large corporations, and those working for government cannot empathize with small business.

Betty Sakai 1-29-14

Frank Wyrick - January 30, 2014

You cannot artificially raise a persons worth by raising the minimum wage. If someone is doing work that is only worth $5.00 an hour and the employer is forced to pay that person $7.00 and hour, then other things must change. Either the employer will have to eliminate some of the minimum wage jobs and make those employees do more work to make them worth $7.00 an hour or the prices of the goods and services that the employer provides to the market place will rise to compensate for the higher overhead of paying employees more. Eventually, the $7.00 per hour will buy the same as the $5.00 per hour used to.

Philip Capo - January 30, 2014

I wonder if those in Congress who support raising the minimum wage (laws of which should be repealed), would agree to a cap on their present or potential income, even a rollback, concurrent with any law that would raise the minimum wage? Ha! I crack myself up!

Bill Sandelin - January 30, 2014

Government should not dictate what employers should
pay, the $7.25 minimum wage is more than enough. It
is not meant to be a life time earning wage, it is to start
unskilled workers in a field that can offer advancement
if they are willing to work hard enough to get it. Why
should anyone hire someone with no skills at $400.
a week or $10. a hour. If these persons do not have the
skills to Advance or learn and grow with the job, why pay
them as much as some one who is working hard and has
the skills to advance. You will just make companies lay
off these employee’s or cut their hours back so they will

Jerry Jones - January 30, 2014

In respnse to Frank Wyrick, it seems to me irrational to suddenly make folks more productive to earn the added wages under a minimum wage increase; it just dosn’t happen like that. One other possibility other than raising “the prices of the goods and services that the employer provides to the market place… to compensate for the higher overhead of paying employees more” is that the owner takes more out of his pocket to stay competitive. I suspect Obama would count this as a victory also since it redistributes wealth. At some point not being able to fire any more workers, not being able to raise your prices beyond competition or not be willing to take less profit, all form the perfect storm to close businesses.

richard steward - January 30, 2014

If we want to reduce crime and help the destitute kids eliminate all minimum wages. That way kids get starting level jobs in industry especially the fast food stores. Wages will seek their own level as they always have until big government got into the act.

Brit Conner - January 30, 2014

There is a better alternative to the perennial battle between unionizing or not – of which raising the minimum wage is simply government taking sides — and that is providing stock options for all the workers. This concept is an essential element of what makes the magic happen in Silicon Valley. It more than motivates the employees – it puts everyone on the same side of the table by guaranteeing that all the workers share in the company’s success, not just the CEO and top management.
While I’m loathe to suggest a government mandate forcing all companies to set aside, say, 15-20 percent of their stock (or equivalent real or even phantom options) for the workers, I would like to see Republicans at least take up the idea from a bully pulpit aspect.
After 50 years of its use in the high tech industry, the power of this approach to unleash the full potential of a work force is well proven. Further, I suggest it will do more than any other short term solution to address the issue of income inequality.

James V. Burnette - January 30, 2014

Wages used to be set by the owners of businesses. The owners of those businesses had to establish wages for the different jobs they offered based on the value that job had in the production of the product or service they produced . Everything that was a “cost” to the company was registered as overhead. Wages and increases in wages were based on the financial success of the company. I see no place for government in this equation.

R K Smith - January 30, 2014

Raise the minimum rate ? Only if you want more people added to millions of unemployed, especially in small businesses. Correct me if i am wrong.

Jim - January 30, 2014

Minimum wage jobs are the jobs most high school and college students relied upon to get their spending money. This president has caused a bad economy to become worse by never concentrating on defending job creation in the country to the point that now he wants us to think that the problem is low wages. The problem continues to be that there are not sufficient good paying jobs in the country to sustain our population. He can’t turn minimum wage jobs into household sustaining jobs. This “president” has never entertained the notion of improving living conditions in this country, he only knows how to pursue his socialistic policies aimed at an end result of destruction of the country as we have come to know it. Have you ever heard him make a push for more job creation other than close to an election? No, and you won;t. He lied to get elected, he lied to keep the heat off of himself, he lied every time he answered with an “I don’t know” on any issue, and he will lie to keep his minions, the democrats in office. He is all about lies, that is his life.

Pamela Arnold - January 30, 2014

As a single, divorced mother, raising two children, with no child support and too proud for any type of welfare, I could have used a higher than minimum wage job. Instead, I worked two jobs. That is not an easy task when you are trying to raise children on your own. I do not want accolades, as it was a struggle. Yes, I did it, somehow. Maybe I should have gotten some help with at least food stamps, I don’t know. I’ll never know, as they are now in their 30’s. They put themselves through school on scholarships and student loans. We made it. But when I look back, I might have done it differently. So yes, I do think minimum wage should be raised so people do not depend on the government. Just my opinion. Thank You for listening.

william - January 30, 2014

who was that liar wasting my time? oh! i know just a commie ( just a communist or comedian, take your pick)

P Heyler - January 30, 2014

One thing I have never heard anyone talk about regarding the minimum wage is the fact that it is the MINIMUM wage and will always be the lowest wage legally paid. If we were to raise the minimum wage to $100/hour, within a relatively short period of time anyone making $100/hour will again be at the bottom of the wage scale and will be as poor as they are now because of the increase in prices that will follow. Instead let the market set wages – minimum and above – and people will be able to be paid what the job they are doing is worth. The market, via the negotiation process, will determine a balance between the minimum an organization wants to pay and the higher amount the employee wants to receive. It’s not always a smooth process, but it will work to the mutual benefit of all involved.

Bob Erdmann - January 30, 2014

I started out working for minimum wage nearly 50 years ago. The people I grew up with started as I did or for much less. Our parents taught us to work hard and always do our best and job opportunities and wages would get better. And they were right! The work ethic of today is lacking in many areas of society today. We’ve created a society that expects much for little effort put forth. It’s easy to follow the progression of moral decay and lack of values since liberals gained a foothold starting with the “Great Society” and Roe v Wade. Conservatism needs to find a way to the forefront in the coming years or we are doomed to be a failed society.

Ray - January 30, 2014

No, it would only reduce the number of employed to mke
up the difference, plus probabley raise the price of all

James Connealy - January 30, 2014

I believe there should be a minimum permanent wage for long term employees to be paid and not be relegated to a permanent low wage. By the same token there needs to be an entry level wage that you are paid while you are being trained and learning to be a value to your employer. There needs to be a distinction between a permanent employee that is in a low paying job but is of value to an employer and someone that is being trained and is more or less probationary. Caution should be exercised when mandating things like wages because the companies know what they can pay where the government does not. Unions also will try to make gains if they feel they are not making a sufficient amount above minimum wage.

Marjorie Joder - January 30, 2014

Announcing a minimum wage does not accomplish much.
Employers pay the wages they need to offer to get the type employees they desire. We need some low pay jobs for students and trainees to obtain the skills they need to command better salaries. It is not so much the wage that employers abuse. It is trying to classify employees so that they can avoid overtime pay or benefits.

Wayne Adamson - January 30, 2014

I sent e-mails to both Senators and my congressman (all Democrats) and explained why I opposed an increase in the minimum wage. I find it fascinating that none has come back with a refutation of my arguments. That is the first time that has happened. Of course, we know that there is no justification for raising the minimum wage. It buys nothing for most people and hurts many at the low end of the economic spectrum. Apparently they can’t find good talking points to disprove me.

John R. Ashburn, Jr. - January 30, 2014

When the minimum wage is increased, most employers will raise prices for their products. Thus, the increase in pay received by the employee will be at least matched or eclipsed negatively when that employee purchases the products or services from other providers. But, the real losers will be those on a fixed income.

vernon seebaran - January 30, 2014

Why raise it? If there is a minimum wage then there is a “maximum wage”.If people have the option to work for a wage then they can choose which.Stop engaging in the discussion about “minimum wage”. It is not a valid subject.

Rachel Verdon - January 30, 2014

There is no point in having a MINIMUM WAGE without a MAXIMUM TAX. Who is getting the raise? the government. If we really want to fight the gap between rich and poor, we have to end INFLATION, which is the culprit nobody is addressing.

The Federal Reserve is outstripping the raise in minimum wage ten to one by printing trillions of dollars in funny money, devaluing the dollar to a dime. If you can’t do the math, you don’t know who is cheating you. Audit the FEDs, not just TARP bank bailouts, but Federal Housing Fannie Mae bailouts for past half century.

J Johansen - January 30, 2014

Raising the minimum wage simply raises the cost of living! The mimimum wage is entry level and never was intended to be a living wage.

Jack Rode - January 31, 2014

I think people who a higher wage should use their period of low paying employment to educate themselves for a higher paying position.
I also think the minimum wage is inflationary because it is an increase in cost with no corresponding increase in wealth to the nation. Why do you think people on the min. wage are always poor?????

Frank Leitnaker - January 31, 2014

The government should not raise the minimum wage any more than it should legislate anything that should be left to the private sector. The liberal nonsense that one cannot support a family earning the minimal wage is true but should be irrelevant. One is supposed to have a job that pays enough to support a family before acquiring a family. So if, due to hard times, one loses a well-paying job and the only job one can get is an entry-level job for which one is over-qualified, that may be necessary but not sufficient and other, hopefully temporary, measures would be necessary. Raising the minimal wage is just another liberal vote-buyer.

Don Sebert - January 31, 2014

As a fixed income taxpayer, I think that the minimum wage is the least of my concerns about the current policies in Washington. It is clear to me that congress has no interest in resolving it’s spending habits. The recent passage farm bill is just one example. We need Heritage to go back to problem solving and forget debunking the unimportant things. As far as I am concerned, our federal government is out of control and not worth saving!

Connie - January 31, 2014

About the minimum wage—I think we should allow the free marlet place to determine wages. Teenagers who have no work experience need a chance to get their start. They will get raises when they have some skills that warrant a raise. How many businesses can give an inexperienced youth $10 an hour as a starting wage?

David - January 31, 2014

It should actually be lowered!, let me explain:
In 2006 we had a Minimum wage increase in our state, I forgot all about it when it kicked in, so I went in to but doughnuts, and was shocked to see the prices, so I asked the lady (which had a very unpleasant grim) why were the prices increased so much? unhesitatingly she said: “Minimum wage just went up!” I quickly thought and retorted: “Well that’s good then you now probably make more money”.
Now listen to her profound and revealing answer!:
“No, only in paper, because now they take more for taxes, and just like you, I have to pay more for everything else, and in the end I have less money to go around”. this top notch Economics lesson from a minimum wage earner!!!
And our politicians I believe know the game it sounds good for politics and it works for raking in more cash in taxes while the poor people are being duped into thinking they are being looked after! It definitely is a scam!
God help us to vote principled people in place, and Bless America

James Phillips - January 31, 2014

The minimum wage hikes will not and never have solved poverty, nor have government programs. Sound fiscal poilcy, and smart but fewer regulations where government gets out of the way will do more to spur real economic activity and good paying jobs which will decrease poverty. Paying people not to work, or hiking wages for minimal skills will increase poverty and make for a dormant society.

Madman - January 31, 2014

If we wait for the republicans to cut spending hell will freeze over first. Obama is using the Departments in the
Government against the people and against the job creaters. The republicans should pick one starting with
the EPA and compleatly defund it and close it down. I don’t think the Minimum wage is important for Obama
to have a say in it and it shouldn’t be raised that high.

Molly Burke - January 31, 2014

There should be no national minimum wage hike. It should be the business of the individual states to vote on one. Personally, I would favor a hike to $9.00 an hour for Texas. Mandatory tips added to food and drink bills should be outlawed, leaving the tip up to the patron.

Linda - January 31, 2014

Of course not, but politicians will keep on doing what politicians do. It took me a while to understand that the real government mandated minimum wage is zero, but that is just what it is for the unemployed who would work for less.

Michael Schmidt - January 31, 2014

I am going to round the # s for simplicity. At $8 per hour FICA and Medicare receive about $1.36 for every hour worked. If we raise the rate to $10/ hr the FICA Medicare recieve $1.60 per hour. That is a tax increase of $.24 per hour to the Government or 15%. It wont raise revenues only unemployment. Minimum Wages, Cost of Living increases etc are inflation. You reduce the buying power of the dollar and make poor people poorer.

Marilyn - February 1, 2014

There shouldn’t be a minimum wage set by the federal government.

Joyce Howard - May 23, 2015

No! Minimum wages set by those other than the business owner are wrong. Only the business owner can decide what profit is needed to pay back the investment and still make a reasonable profit. Elected people have no idea what is required in THISE businesses. Increased minimums mean higher prices for the product, fewer people who can afford to buy the product, reduced income

Joyce Howard - May 23, 2015

No! Minimum wages set by those other than the business owner are wrong. Only the business owner can decide what profit is needed to pay back the investment and still make a reasonable profit. Elected people have no idea what is required in THISE businesses. Increased minimums mean higher prices for the product, fewer people who can afford to buy the product, which reduces income, which reduces profits, which reduces employees, and the spiral goes on until the business owner locks the doors. Most food businesses operate on small margins of profit as do grocery stores and other businesses. Fewer regulations and lower minimum wages ….AND LOWER SUBSIDIES TO THE UNEMPLOYED. WELFARE SUBSIDIES SHOULD BE LOWNSO PEOPLE WILL ME MOTIVATED TO WORK TO HAVE BE ABLE TO PURCHASE MORE THINGS !

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