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National Restaurant Association - Poll: Job losses due to wage hike “unacceptable”

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Poll: Job losses due to wage hike “unacceptable”

While a federal minimum wage increase tends to be popular among Americans, most won’t support an increase that comes at the expense of jobs, according to a new Bloomberg poll.

In the poll, released earlier this week, support for a minimum wage increase evaporated once respondents were asked to consider the job losses that could result from a mandatory wage increase. After a strong majority—69 percent—said they supported current legislation to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 over three years, respondents were asked about the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s recent report showing the increase would eliminate 500,000 jobs by 2016. When presented with those numbers, more than half—57 percent—said that tradeoff is “unacceptable.”

The debate over the true cost of a mandatory wage increase heated up this week as a Senate hearing looked at the potential impact of the legislation. During the hearing, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf confirmed CBO findings about the job losses that would result from a wage increase. He also confirmed the nonpartisan CBO’s determination that only 19 percent of those who would receive a raise under the proposal belong to families with incomes below the federal poverty level and that 80 percent of those who would be impacted by the increase live in families with incomes above the federal poverty level.

Hundreds of noted economists are also backing the CBO’s findings. More than 500 economists, including four Nobel laureates and several former White House officials, wrote an open letter to policymakers, warning them that a mandatory minimum wage increase will not reduce poverty in America. In their letter, the economists called the minimum wage “a poorly targeted anti-poverty measure.”

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