Minimum Wage Hurts Beginners

Seattle was the first big city to pass a $15 minimum wage.

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People there were excited.

“I think it’s pretty awesome since I benefit from it,” one told us. Another added: “I wish it was all over the place, not just Seattle.”

Now, five years after the law passed, the evidence is in: while some did earn more, entry-levels jobs decreased. (

The politicians never mentioned that when they passed the bill says Erin Shannon of the Washington Policy Center ( “It’s really presented by minimum wage advocates as … a win-win for employers … a win-win for workers.”

But she pointed us to a factory that moved hundreds of jobs out of state, and to a store that stopped hiring beginners because of the $15 minimum wage.

“The politicians, in Seattle especially, have no sense whatsoever about what it means to small businesses like us,” the owner of Retrofit Home tell us.

A minimum wage hurts young people who need a first job, say three young people who won a contest organized by Stossel in The Classroom, which provides free videos and lesson plans about free markets to teachers.

Dillon Hodes won the high-school level video contest. He says a friend who worked at Kroger saw her hours cut as the store implemented a $12 minimum.

“Raising the minimum wage causes increased unemployment,” explains Rigel Noble-Koza, the college-level contest winner.

Stossel says he learned things from Noble-Koza’s video, which noted that Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland have no national minimum wage.

The minimum wage “stops us from actually getting a job,” says Esther Rhoads, who won the high school essay contest.

She points out that the earliest advocates of the minimum-wage wanted to price black Americans out of the market.

About hundred years ago, blacks were often paid less, but they were more likely to be employed than whites. (

Congressman Clayton Allgood said he hoped the min wage would stop: “cheap colored labor in competition with white labor.”

“It was meant … to keep the poor and the minorities from getting jobs,” Esther tells Stossel.

The minimum also harms young people.

Esther explains: “I’m 14, it’d be very difficult for me to find a job … my labor wouldn’t be worth $15 an hour.”

“If only politicians were as smart as those kids,” Stossel says.

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