March 5, 2013

Age distribution of minimum wage earners

Today’s Morning Bell draws on research by The Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk to debunk five liberal myths about the minimum wage:

  • Myth 1: Huge numbers of Americans earn the minimum wage.
    Fact: Just 2.9 percent of all workers in the United States earn the minimum wage.
  • Myth 2: It’s the “working poor” who earn the minimum wage.
    Fact: More than half of minimum-wage workers are between the ages of 16 and 24, and they work part-time.
  • Myth 3: Minimum-wage workers are trapped in poverty.
    Fact: The average family income of a minimum-wage worker is more than $53,000 a year.
  • Myth 4: Minimum wage workers often hold these jobs for life.
    Fact: Minimum-wage earners don’t stay in those jobs forever.
  • Myth 5: Many of those earning minimum wage are single parents.
    Fact: Very few single parents are working full-time in minimum-wage jobs.

“While President Obama and other proponents of a higher minimum wage want you to visualize that single parent, the truth is that a burger-flipping teenager or college student with a part-time job paints a much more accurate picture of the minimum wage in America,” Heritage’s Amy Payne explains.

And as a cure to poverty, raising the minimum wage is a poor solution. “Contrary to what many assume, low wages are not their primary problem,” Sherk points out, “because most poor Americans do not work for the minimum wage. The problem is that most poor Americans do not work at all.”

Read Sherk’s full analysis of who really earns the minimum wage.

Do you think we should raise the minimum wage as President Obama has proposed? Tell us in the comments.

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