You know that “fiscal conservative” among your family or friends? The one who is
probably trying to talk “sense” to you right now about the dangers of raising the
minimum wage to $15? Here’s the key thing you need know:
Those arguments you hear? They are neither historically nor economically sound.
In a report just filed on The Daily Dot, Hanna Brooks Olsen demolishes seven claims
she characterizes as “the most dangerous myths” circulating in the present debate:
1. The minimum wage was never supposed to be a living wage.
2. An increase in the minimum wage won’t help anyone if all other costs go up, too.
3. An increase in the minimum wage is bad for employers.
4. $15 is a random number.
5. It will cost us jobs and raise unemployment.
6. Only teenagers and uneducated people work for the minimum wage.
7. Seattle already has a $15 minimum wage and it’s terrible.
What becomes clear when you read her rebuttal to each of these myths, is the politics
of fear at work. Employers and workers beware!! But what also becomes clear when
you reflect on her evidence, is the absolute absurdity of arguments suggesting that
a higher minimum wage will harm our still delicate economy.
Should fiscal conservative dismiss your informed responses to these myths
as liberal claptrap, you could then cite evidence from a page produced by the U.S.
Department of Labor that debunks these, as well as other myths, obfuscating the
Of course, there will be those who call into question anything issued by the government,
especially on policies perceived to be in the service of wealth redistribution. In which
case, it’s best not to waste any more oxygen on willed ignorance.