Economy

GOP Governor Christie Uses Right Wing Myth To Justify Opposing Minimum Wage Increase

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) has announced that even if the New Jersey state legislature sends him a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage, he will veto it. Christie claims that the result of the bill — which would raise the Garden State’s minimum wage to $8.50 and index it to inflation — would be “more layoffs“:

“We’re telling small business owners that not only are we going to raise their costs by a buck and a quarter, but we’re also going to raise it with these cost-of-living adjustments,” Christie, a 49-year-old Republican, said during a town-hall style meeting in Lyndhurst. “Here’s what’s going to happen — they’re going to have to lay people off.”

Claiming that minimum wage increases will cause job losses is a favorite right wing tactic, but the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s T. William Lester, David Madland, and Nick Bunker note that the economic evidence doesn’t bear it out:

We reviewed academic research that examines the effects of minimum wage increases during a recession or stretch of time with high unemployment and found significant evidence that even during hard economic times, raising the minimum wage is likely to have no adverse effect on employment. […]

Why is this the case? Studies generally find that policies that increase the compensation of low-wage workers significantly reduce turnover, boost worker effort, encourage employers to invest in training for their workers, and can increase demand for goods and services — all of which help balance out any potential negative effects.

It’s not only at the state level that progressives are attempting to increase the minimum wage, which peaked in terms of purchasing power at the federal level in 1968. Last week, a group of House Democrats introduced legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.