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Raise the minimum wage? It's a maximum mistake

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Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Making a bad idea even worse, President Obama, emboldened by voters equally ignorant of basic economics, now wants to raise the $7.25 federal hourly minimum wage — not to the $9 he called for in his February State of the Union address, but to $10.10.

Mr. Obama issued that call just days after voters approved hiking the state minimum wage from $8.25 to $9.25 in New Jersey and the local wage floor in SeaTac, Wash., home of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, to $15. He endorsed the $10.10 federal minimum proposed by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. George Miller, D-Fla.

The higher a minimum wage is, the greater are its negative effects — including failure to achieve positive effects touted by advocates. As Heritage Foundation labor scholar James Sherk told Congress in June, the minimum wage “has proved ineffective” at lifting families out of poverty.

Hikes “reduce overall employment” and make “entry-level positions less available, in effect sawing off the bottom rung of many workers' career ladders,” Mr. Sherk testified. And higher minimum wages can actually hurt impoverished workers, costing them federal tax credits and assistance as their incomes rise and burdening them with effective tax rates exceeding 50 percent.

What Obama is advocating is greater economic damage — the proven and predictable consequence of raising wage floors by government fiat.

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