Don't believe the hype on increasing the minimum wage, Brian Brenberg, professor of business and economics at King’s College, and Vincent Vernuccio, director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center of Public Policy, told Newsmax TV.
The issue is receiving a lot of attention these days, as many states and cities have moved to lift their minimum as high as $15 an hour, and a nationwide protest was held Wednesday over the issue.
But raising the minimum wage is "a very, very risky move," Brenberg told Newsmax TV's "MidPoint." "Most of the data that we have on minimum wage increases, suggest that when you increase the minimum wage you reduce employment."
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As for the $15 level, "there's no reason to believe it's going to do anything but amplify the negative effects we already see with the smaller increase," Brenberg said. "So asking for $15 minimum wage is really just asking for higher unemployment."
As for Vernuccio, he told "MidPoint" that unions are behind the minimum wage protests that have taken place in recent months, not workers. "A lot of what we're seeing is not actually the minimum wage workers," he said.
"A lot of it is orchestrated by the unions, by the Service Employees International Union to be specific. . . . There's going to be minimum wage workers in the protests to an extent, but most of it is simply orchestrated by the unions, and it's union organizers themselves that are out there.
So how can people attain higher pay? "The minimum wage just isn't going to get you there," Brenberg stated.
"Today there are many companies that are raising wages, but they're not doing it because of minimum wage laws. They're doing it because the economy is starting to grow, unemployment is starting to fall, and they want to compete for new business."
The unemployment rate totaled 5.5 percent in March, a seven-year low.
Companies have to raise salaries to attract talent, Brenberg explained. "The only way we're ever going to get to the point where people can become more satisfied with their wages is if we see stronger economic growth," he said. "That's the direction we want to move in."
When there's "sustainable economic growth, companies are competing for workers, and workers have the opportunity to negotiate [higher wages,]" he said. "That's where policymakers have to have their focus. They've got their focus on the wrong things right now."
Vernuccio is concerned about bullying by unions. "People should be able to organize if they can do it with a secret ballot," he said.
"They shouldn't be pressured into it, and the unions shouldn't be strong-arming companies like the SEIU is doing to McDonald's via the fast food protests. That's not a way for economic recovery."
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