Conservatives’ Golden Opportunity to Win the Minimum-Wage Argument

Written by Nic Dunn

May 2, 2024

Originally published in National Review.

California’s new $20-an-hour minimum wage for fast-food workers has again sparked a familiar debate about upward mobility. In an election year, with more voters paying attention than usual, policy debates take on added weight. This offers free-market conservatives a unique opportunity to win over persuadable voters by articulating a compelling vision of opportunity that’s framed in moral, rather than purely economic, language.

While it’s important to recognize that minimum-wage hikes can indeed have unintended consequences, conservatives should emphasize the harmful impact of the hikes on workers, a point articulated well by the American Enterprise Institute’s Beth Akers.

“It’s precisely these most vulnerable workers in our economy who are probably the ones who need the most support and are most likely to lose from these sorts of policies,” Akers said during a recent episode of Sutherland Institute’s Defending Ideas podcast. “If what we care about are the people who are most economically vulnerable. . . . these sorts of policies are actually pushing in the wrong direction.”

Read the full piece at National Review here.

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