Minimum wage hike would increase poverty

While minimum wage laws may be becoming popular with power brokers in the Maryland legislature, they remain an example of a well-intentioned piece of public policy that will hurt Maryland workers far more than any benefits it may create ("Miller joins voices urging minimum wage hike Sept. 5).

Minimum wage laws attempt to create a minimum standard of living to protect the health and well-being of employees by mandating a base level of pay that employers are required to pay certain covered employees. Supporters of these laws say they protect workers from exploitation by employers and reduce poverty.

In reality, these artificial wage hikes increase unemployment and poverty. When minimum wage laws require businesses to pay their workers higher wages, in order to maintain profitability businesses need to make adjustments elsewhere to offset the increased costs. These cuts often lead to reduced hiring, fewer work hours for employees, diminished benefits for employees and higher prices for consumers.

Minimum wage laws are not the most effective method for addressing poverty in Maryland. An increase in the state's Earned Income Tax Credit would be far more effective while having less of a negative effect on the state's economy.

Matthew Glans, Chicago, Ill.

The writer is senior policy analyst at The Heartland Institute.

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