A new study revealed that the negative impacts of a higher minimum wage stretch well beyond the workplace.
Researchers from the University of New Hampshire and the University of Connecticut found that a mandated increase in the minimum wage led to increased levels of crime and less safe neighborhoods.
Conservatives have been wary of increasing the minimum wage in the United States because of the impact on business owners’ bottom line. When the price of labor rises, business owners either have to raise prices on their goods or cut back on labor expenses by firing employees or cutting back their hours.
Restaurants’ response to $15 minimum wage:
• 71% of restaurant operators said they raised menu prices
• 64% said they reduced employee hours
• 43% said they cut jobs https://t.co/ocqoBbdEmu
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) April 28, 2019
This was evident in Seattle after the city raised its minimum wage in 2015 and employers cut back the average number of hours for their employees resulting in an average loss of $125 per month for workers after the wage increase.
Joseph J. Sabia — one of the authors of the study on the minimum wage and crime — explained that this drop in income and loss of low-wage labor is responsible for an increase in crime as workers turn to the underground economy to make ends meet.
In an op-ed to the Washington Examiner, Sabia explained that teens and young adults, who make up the majority of the low-wage workforce, were more likely to turn to crime as a result of lost wages or employment that resulted from an increased minimum wage.
Sabia and his colleagues found that a 10% percent minimum wage increase elevated the rate of property crime arrests by 2% for those ages 16 to 24. The researchers estimated that a federally mandated wage of $15 would result in a nationwide increase of $2.4 billion in property crimes.
In the richest country in the history of the world, 13 million children live in poverty and two-thirds of them are children of color. This is a moral outrage. If we raise the minimum wage and invest in education and housing, we can end child poverty. https://t.co/7BF6n9ONRV
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 3, 2019
The study noted that an economic report done by the Obama White House claimed crime would drop by 3 to 5% if the wages hit $15, but that study failed to consider any loss in employment or wages, as was witnessed in Seattle.
Democrats will have to take updated findings into consideration as they continue to push for an increased minimum wage at the federal level.