Document:California Press Release 27 October 2000 Raise Minimum Wage to $100 Per Hour

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14547 Titus Street, Suite 214
Panorama City, CA 91402
For immediate release: October 27, 2000
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 782-8400

California Libertarians suggest: raise minimum wage to $100 per hour

PANORAMA CITY -- Criticizing the latest minimum wage increases, California Libertarians accused politicians of not going far enough -- and are demanding an increase in the minimum wage to at least $100 per hour, the Libertarian Party of California announced today.

Earlier this week the state Industrial Welfare Commission voted unanimously to increase the minimum wage in California to $6.75 by 2002. The next day the Santa Cruz City Council passed an ordinance granting city workers the highest minimum wage in the country, $11 per hour. The federal minimum wage, set in 1997, is $5.15.

"Clearly politicians and bureaucrats are not doing enough to lift every worker in California," declared Libertarian executive director Juan Ros. "Why stop at $6.75 or $11? Surely businesses can afford to pay whatever lawmakers decide. If our elected leaders really want to help all workers, let's increase the minimum wage to $100 per hour."

Under the Libertarian plan, full-time workers earning the minimum wage would automatically see their annual salary jump to $208,000 -- lifting every American out of the poverty level and into the top 5% of current earners. "The top 5% will contain 100% of workers," Ros noted.

Wait a second -- what's going on? Has the Libertarian Party abandoned its opposition to the minimum wage?

"Of course not," Ros acknowledged. "Our point is that minimum wage laws, although noble in intention, are absurd. Minimum wage is nothing but arbitrary price control of labor, and those hurt most by the minimum wage are unskilled workers and minorities -- the same people proponents of minimum wage want to help."

According to Libertarians, every 10 percent increase in the minimum wage reduces employment by two to six percent. "The real tragedy is not so much with workers who lose their jobs because of the minimum wage -- although that is a real consequence -- but with workers who will never be hired. It's this unseen effect of minimum wage laws that politicians ignore."

With only 2.8% of workers over 30 earning the minimum wage and the average family affected by the minimum wage earning $38,000 per year, the argument in favor of a minimum wage is weak. "The best way for workers to earn more is to become skilled -- something unskilled workers cannot do when minimum wage laws price them out of jobs," Ros concluded.