Just when you thought all the bad ideas had been taken, local publisher and Democratic mayoral candidate suggests a new one: two minimum wages.
In the Daily News, Allon proposes that New York State keep the current $7.25-an-hour minimum wage for people under the age of 22 with no dependents, and pay a higher minimum of $9 an hour for “older people already in the workforce and supporting a spouse or raising a family (or those younger than 22 who have dependents).” It’s not clear what would happen to older people with no dependents.
The rationale, Allon says, is that young students and singles don’t need the extra money, but people with families do.
All Allon’s idea would do is force the people who most need the jobs out of the workforce.
An employer with a choice of hiring a 22-year-old with a toddler and cash-register skills for $9, or hiring a 21-year-old with no toddler and cash-register skills for $7.25, is going to go for the cheaper worker.
This decision would be purely financial. The employer wouldn’t even have to subconsciously think about the things he’s not supposed to think about, like whether the single mom with the toddler is going to need extra time off when her toddler is sick.
The mom with the kid wouldn’t be able to compete against her natural disadvantage by offering to match the cheaper worker’s wage. The law would demand that her prospective employer pay her more for the same work.
Allon further ignores the fact that the tax code — that is, um, people — already subsidize poorer families via tax credits for dependent children. There is no reason for a single student struggling his way through college to subsidize a colleague further by working for a lower wage for the same effort.