Latest Posts





The details of minimum wage laws show why they are so harmful

Saint Paul’s policymakers continue the process of implementing the harmful $15 minimum wage. Some of the details are proving controversial. As the Pioneer Press reported last week,

With dozens of supporters and opponents filling seating and standing up against the hearing room walls, St. Paul City Council Member Dai Thao spoke passionately in favor of altering a proposed schedule for implementing a $15 citywide minimum wage.

In the end, his pleas to slow an initial rollout of wage increases for small businesses successfully moved the council, but failed to convince a coalition of unions and social justice advocates that he has often counted among his supporters.

“I see a sign in front of me — if you delay my raise, you’ll delay my rent,” Thao told the council. “Well, the same argument applies for (undermining) small and minority-owned businesses. … We should not be fighting each other.”

Councillor Thao managed to get the initial rollout for small businesses slowed, with $1 or 75-cent wage increase each year at the outset, instead of a nearly $2.

The minimum wage for small businesses would climb to $9, instead of $10.50. It would increase to $10 a year later — and reach $15 by 2026.

The minimum wage for micro businesses — those with fewer than five employees — would pay $8.75 instead of $10.25. They would pay $9.50 a year later — and $15 by 2028.

One council member called this “a sensible compromise”. But it isn’t. Setting different rates for small and large businesses exposes the sheer falseness of arguments for a legally mandated minimum wage.

The people waving the signs at the council meeting had a point. We often hear minimum wage hikes justified on the basis that workers are facing increased costs of living. But if this is true for the employee at a small business it is also true for the employee at a big business. If you really and truly believe that raising minimum wage is necessary to combat increased living costs, than you should be completely opposed to any differential in the rate paid to employees of big and small businesses.

Advocating different rates for different sized employers is a sign that the advocate actually believes there is some cost to minimum wage hikes. We know this to be the case. These advocates appear to as well, they just shrink from openly admitting it.

In truth, large businesses in Saint Paul are already paying their workers at least $15ph. This measure has always been about raising costs for the city’s small businesses. Slowing the increase is a sign that, whatever they might say, Saint Paul’s policymakers realize that it will have very real costs. If only they would be honest about it.

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment. 




Upcoming Events

  • The Diversity Delusion

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Please join Center of the American Experiment on Wednesday, April 24th at the Hilton Hotel for a lunch forum with Heather Mac Donald as she discusses her new book, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.  Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. She is a recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize. Mac Donald’s work at City Journal has covered a range of topics, including higher education, immigration, policing, homelessness and homeless advocacy, criminal-justice reform, and race…

    Register Now
  • 2019 Annual Dinner Featuring Nigel Farage

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Purchase Tickets Here

    Register Now