Mark Levin’s perspective
Mark Levin is an author and talk-show host. Mr. Levin makes the oppositions case very well in Chapter eight of his book Plunder and Deceit. “On the Minimum Wage” is the title of that chapter, and here is a list of Mr. Levin’s key points on the issue:
- The minimum wage “….is a job killer, especially for low and unskilled workers in general, and young people in particular.” Mr. Levin cites important, influential studies to bolster his argument that the workforce is shrinking in part because of the minimum wage; putting more of a burden on those who do work. Also, Mr. Levin presents several benefits to teenagers and their families if more jobs were to be made available to them.
- Mr. Levin points out that increasing the minimum wage may sound good, but those dollars have to come from somewhere. He uses a hypothetical fast-food restaurant employing twenty people as an illustrative example. Faced with increased labor costs, “The restaurant can try to sell more food, it can increase the cost of the food, it can cut the hours of its employees, it can hire fewer workers, or it can lay off those currently employed.” It can probably be inferred that Mr. Levin sees all of those options as bad.
- Early minimum wage laws were struck down by the Supreme Court on the grounds that they interfered with the individual’s and businesses’ combined rights to freely enter into mutually beneficial contracts of employment (Adkins v. Children’s Hospital – 1923). There were several other Supreme Court decisions around the same time that went the same way. The trend to go against the minimum wage was later reversed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal (1936). Mr. Levin feels the President “improperly” influenced the Supreme Court to get a pro minimum wage ruling, which he did when the Court upheld the state of Washington’s minimum wage law (1937). Congress then enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which established a minimum hourly wage of $.25.
- Mr. Levin and others feel that the mandatory minimum wage law “extended the Great Depression,” by eliminating the option for an employer to reduce wages across the board.
- Mr. Levin cites evidence that a minimum wage drives up prices and lowers demand for our products (page 138).
- Mr. Levin gives evidence of labor intensive businesses shutting their doors after minimum wages rose. The implication could fairly be drawn that minimum wages negatively impact certain segments of the economy, causing a disproportionate burden. In other words, it’s unfair. Workers in those industries have lost jobs or benefits.
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