Republican presidential candidate Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] warned Thursday that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour could disproportionately hurt teens and minorities.
Cruz spoke to a crowd of black business owners in Brooklyn about his minimum wage concerns. New York state enacted a measure April 4 to phase in a $15 minimum wage by 2022. Those in support hope to use the $15 minimum wage as a way to address income inequality but the financial stress it puts on businesses could end up hurting the very people its meant to help.
“Every time you raise the minimum wage, thousands of people lose their jobs, and the people who are laid off are typically teenagers — low-income, African-American and Hispanic kids,” Cruz said according to The Brooklyn Paper. “If you raise the price of labor too high, you substitute it with an iPad.”
Business owners may have difficultly overcoming the added cost of labor from an increased minimum wage. They could be forced to increase prices or cutback their workforce, with new and low-skilled workers being most at risk of losing employment. Moody’s Investors Service determined Thursday the problem is especially troublesome for low-profit businesses, like restaurants.
“Most people aren’t providing for a family on their first job, that’s when they’re just getting started, they’re learning skills,” Cruz said. “I think every first job should focus on empowering.”
New York and California became the first states to enact a $15 minimum wage April 4, marking a huge victory for advocates. The $15 minimum wage has grown in popularity in recent years but had previously only seen city-level victories starting with Seattle in 2014. The union-backed Fight for $15 movement has been at the forefront of the policy push since it started in 2012.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has found both positive and negative results from increasing the minimum wage. It found any increase in the minimum wage will likely result in at least some job loss. The University of California, Berkeley, found in a recent study that having less people in poverty outweighs the potential job loss.
At the moment the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Not all Democrats support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Even Obama has been an avid advocate for the $10.10 minimum wage. Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the federal minimum wage should not exceed $12 an hour.
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