Russ Feingold has repeatedly gone on the record supporting a $15 dollar an hour minimum wage. In an interview with Mike Gousha at Marquette University, Feingold said “there’s a very good chance that the amount of dislocation that would occur from a $15 dollar minimum wage or something even just a little bit lower than that would be far less than the benefit of having Wisconsin families have some money.” He later admitted however, “We don’t know for sure” that this would be the case.
Unfortunately for Feingold though, the facts do not support his claim.
According to a study done by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of the American Action Forum and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, an increase of the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour would result in approximately 6.6 American losing their jobs.
A study published in 2014 by the CBO projected that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would result in a loss of 500,000 jobs.
Holtz-Eakin’s study used three different formulas to project further what would happen if the minimum wage were to be raised to $12-15 dollars per hour. His study showed that the number of lost jobs would increase exponentially. Using the middle estimate, an increase to $12 an hour by the year 2020 would cost approximately 3.8 million jobs nationwide and an increase to $15 would result in 6.6 million lost jobs.
In addition, the studies found that a majority of the benefit of raising the minimum wage would go to higher income individuals with only about 6.7% going to individuals in poverty. “In other words, this is reverse–Robin Hoodism: taking jobs and income from the poorest to give to those who are better-off,” Holtz-Eakin noted.
The study also revealed that an increase in the minimum wage would disproportionately affect young people. Research of the time directly following the Fair Minimum wage Act, which raised the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 showed that the increase caused a 2.8% increase in youth unemployment. Doubling the minimum wage would even further damage the prospect of young people being able to find jobs. Not included in this study is the effect this would have on future employment opportunities for these young people because raising the minimum wage would deny them the opportunity of gaining valuable experience through these entry level jobs.
According to Russ Feingold 6.6 million jobs is just the price he is willing to pay in order for others to be able to have, “a little bit of extra money.”