Minimum Wage Hike Bad Idea, Economist Says

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A north country economist says President Barack Obama's proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour is a bad idea.

St. Lawrence University economist Steve Horwitz says for many businesses, raising the minimum wage can be the difference between staying in or going out of business.

Horwitz says if employers can't afford to pay their workers more, they will have to let them go.

"Firms won't keep on the same number of employees," he said.

"If they have to pay them more, they'll cut hours, they'll cut workers or they'll substitute machinery for workers, which is why we don't see gas station attendants and ushers in movie theaters."

Horwitz says he supports making sure New York state has well-paying jobs, but raising the minimum wage isn't the answer.

"The best way to do that is to create a better business environment, where businesses are more able to invest, more able to operate without onerous regulation and thereby create the kinds of jobs that people can actually fill," Horwitz said.

Last month the New York Times published an opinion piece supporting a wage increase.

The article said most low-wage employees work for large companies that can afford the increase.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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