Democrats Push For Increase in High School Dropout Rate
Now that the new Congress has been seated and control has been passed to the Democrats, one of their top priorities is raising the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. Here is a part of what George Will has to say on the issue:
Democrats consider the minimum-wage increase a signature issue. So, consider what it says about them:
Most of the working poor earn more than the minimum wage, and most of the 0.6 percent (479,000 in 2005) of America's wage workers earning the minimum wage are not poor. Only one in five workers earning the federal minimum lives in families with earnings below the poverty line. Sixty percent work part time, and their average household income is well over $40,000. (The average and median household incomes are $63,344 and $46,326, respectively.)
Forty percent of American workers are salaried. Of the 75.6 million paid by the hour, 1.9 million earn the federal minimum or less, and of these, more than half are under 25 and more than a quarter are between ages 16 and 19. Many are students or other part-time workers. Sixty percent of those earning the federal minimum or less work in restaurants and bars and earn tips -- often untaxed, perhaps -- in addition to wages. Two-thirds of those earning the federal minimum today will, a year from now, have been promoted and be earning 10 percent more. Raising the minimum wage predictably makes work more attractive relative to school for some teenagers and raises the dropout rate. Two scholars report that in states that allow people to leave school before 18, a 10 percent increase in the state minimum wage caused teenage school enrollment to drop 2 percent.
Many of the points Will makes are well known, even to me. For instance, only one in five Americans earning minimum wage are impoverished. Sounds like a lot, until you realize that only .06% (yep, less than ONE PERCENT) of Americans earn the minimum wage (or less).
As pointed out, many work in restaurants as waiters/waitresses, or other areas that earn tips. A significant number of minimum wager earners are high school students.
One point that Will makes that I did not know, and this is a good one, is that a 10 percent increase in the state minimum wage (in states that set their own, higher, minimum wages) has resulted in a 2 percent drop in enrollment. This is significant. What happens is that these extra dropouts from high school then end up on the downside of the economic scale, perpetuating and increasing the reliance on welfare programs.
I do not understand why Liberals and others believe raising minimum wages is a good idea.