McConnell: ‘Hiking the Minimum Wage to $15 Would Kill Jobs and Depress the Economy’

Ilona Schumicky | July 29, 2019 | 5:28pm EDT
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( – Explaining why he opposed raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-Ky.) said it was because it would “depress the economy at  a time when it’s thriving.”

“Research shows that hiking the minimum wage to $15 would kill jobs and depress the economy at a time when it’s thriving for the American people,” said McConnell in a July 18 tweet. “We are not going to be taking that up in the Senate.”

The Democrat-dominated House passed a bill on July 18 to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. They argued that the bill would give a raise for 33 million Americans and lift 1.3 million Americans out of poverty. 

Food order kiosks at McDonald's.  (Getty Images)

It would also help eliminate the so-called wage gap as well, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) 

McConnell further said in a July 18 interview on the Fox Business Network,  a minimum wage hike “would cost, according to the Congressional Budget Office, between 1 and 3 million jobs lost” if the minimum wage is raised to $15 per hour.

“We do not need to lose jobs,” he said.  “We don’t have enough jobs now. There are more people looking for work than there are jobs available. That’s how hot the economy is. This would depress the economy at a time of economic boom. We are not going to be doing that in the Senate.”

In his book, Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy, economist Thomas Sowell wrote, “Unfortunately, the real minimum wage is always zero, regardless of the laws, and that is the wage that many workers receive in the wake of the creation or escalation of a government-mandated minimum wage, because they lose their jobs or fail to find jobs when they enter the labor force.”

“Making it illegal to pay less than a given amount does not make a worker’s productivity worth that amount -- and, if it is not, that worker is unlikely to be employed,” said Sowell.  Minimum wage laws do the greatest harm to the people they are designed to help.

(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

In a 2017 commentary, economist Walter E. Williams explained that a major hike in the minimum wage would push companies to shed workers and implement more automation. “Panera Bread, a counter-serve cafe chain, anticipates replacing most of its cashiers with kiosks,” said Williams. “McDonald's is rolling out self-service kiosks that allow customers to order and pay for their food without ever having to interact with a human. Momentum Machines has developed a meat-flipping robot, which can turn out 360 hamburgers an hour. These and other measures are direct responses to rising labor costs and expectations of higher minimum wages.”

“Here's my question to supporters of higher minimum wages: How compassionate is it to create legislation that destroys an earning opportunity?” said Williams. “Again, making $21,000 a year as a cashier is no great shakes, but it's better than going on welfare, needing unemployment compensation or idleness.”



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