During the final presidential debate, the candidates sparred over raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Former Vice President Joe Biden ardently advocated for a full $15 federal minimum wage. While President Donald Trump explained that it would cause employers to cut jobs as businesses are still trying to recover during this pandemic and suggested he supported taking a regional approach to raising the minimum wage.

“There is no evidence that when you raise the minimum wage, business has gone out of business.”
Joe Biden

False. Completely make believe.

Joe Biden would like to ignore the economic data and anecdotal data of how $15 minimum wages (or close to that) have impacted local businesses.

According to a 2019 survey, nearly one out of ten restaurants in areas with recently increased minimum wages closed because of the increased costs.

Harvard University economists examined the impact of a $15 minimum wage on the restaurant industry in San Francisco, one of the earliest cities to adopt this wage floor. They estimated that a one-dollar increase in the minimum wage led to a 14 percent increase in the likelihood that a moderate rated (3.5 star) restaurant would go out of business. 

Anecdotally, stories are stacking up as well, such as New York City’s Liz and Nate Milner, the owners of Upper West Side restaurant Gabriela’s Restuarant and Tequila Bar detail, who closed their doors after 25 years in business.

In 2016, one in five (20 percent) of businesses reported that they would likely close in Washington, D.C. because of a $15 minimum wage.

Business closures are the most extreme effects of raising the minimum wage, but Biden also ignores the other ways American workers lose out: job losses, pay cuts, and fewer hours.

Seattle, WA is one of the earliest cities to adopt a $15 minimum wage back in 2015, and in the first month after the increase took effect, the city lost over 1,300 food service jobs. Overall, workers ended up taking a monthly pay cut because they lost hours and jobs. 

On top of that, raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour would cost 1.3 million jobs according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Now, the CBO also finds that it would raise wages for 17 million workers who would otherwise earn less than $15 per hour, but is the loss of a million jobs truly worth it?

There’s no sugar-coating it. A $15 minimum wage at the federal level would be devastating for businesses and workers.