While doing some research this morning, I stumbled upon this “Minimum Wage Mythbusters” page on the Department of Labor, which deserves consideration for the worst-ever fact sheet by any institution that claims to be non-partisan or fact-based.
Among the jarring features of this list of “busted myths” is the total absence of any sourcing or links to actual data. Here is just one exampl on a page full of them. The webpage confidently states:
Myth: Increasing the minimum wage will cause people to lose their jobs.
Not true: A review of 64 studies on minimum wage increases found no discernable effect on employment. Additionally, more than 600 economists, seven of them Nobel Prize winners in economics, have signed onto a letter in support of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016.
So what’s the name of the study? Who wrote it? When? Where’s the link?
It’s hardly impressive that the federal government—loaded to the gills with people on the payroll with economics degrees who can therefore claim to be “economists”—was able to scrape up 600 economists to sign something in support of their preferred policy. But please, let’s see their names! Where’s the link to the list?
By the way, in case you are wondering, naturally this illuminating webpage ignores the recent Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the Obama Administration’s proposed wage hike. That’s because the CBO didn’t jive with the DOL’s line that there would be no impact on employment. In fact, CBO found that the likely effect of the hike to $10.10 would be 500,000 fewer jobs. That’s a half million Americans more out of work.
If you are going to argue that the law of supply and demand somehow doesn’t apply to the minimum wage, that somehow raising the price of labor won’t mean that businesses can afford less of it (as we would recognize is the obvious effect if we were talking about a higher price for any other good or service), then you should really find at least one source to point to. And in case you want more evidence than CBO of the opposite—that when workers cost more businesses can afford to hire fewer of them—here’s a link to a metastudy on the impact of minimum wage increases that found overwhelming evidence that higher minimum wages do lead to fewer jobs, particularly for low-skilled and low-wage workers: Minimum Wages and Employment, by David Neumark and William Wascher.
The hacks at the Department of Labor who put this "mythbusters" website together should be ashamed of their complete sloppiness and failure to even pretend that they are offering a balanced factual look at the data related to the minimum wage. This is politics pure and simple, and it’s grotesque that taxpayer dollars were used to create this propaganda.