It almost looks inevitable that Washington DC will raise the minimum wage, perhaps as high as $11.50 per hour. This would put it higher than any of the 50 states.
I suppose the DC council can afford to make these ridiculous gestures because there is almost $4 trillion per year flowing into DC. While most of the U.S. has experienced a struggling economy over the last 5 or more years, DC is on top of the world. It is booming. When everything else seemed to be going bust, a new bubble was forming in DC. That bubble is in government.
And while the states and cities have to balance their budgets, or at least come something close to it, DC just turns to its digital printing press operated by the Federal Reserve. There has been no recession in DC.
Since DC is booming so much, we may not see significant immediate effects from the minimum wage. I doubt we will see mass layoffs. It will hurt people on the margin. Perhaps some businesses will not hire as many employees in the future, or may hire more skilled workers. Perhaps some businesses will not fill positions through attrition.
If the minimum wage were raised to $11.50 per hour in Arkansas, there would be a major problem and it would be noticeable quickly. There would likely be mass layoffs. I’m not sure that will happen in DC because it is a boom town right now. The effects will be more subtle.
Of course, the people who will be hurt the most will be unskilled workers. It will be teenagers and those with minimal education and minimal skills.
The minimum wage is only a minimum if you actually have a job. The real minimum wage in all cases is zero. And the more that the official minimum wage is raised, the more people that will be making the real minimum wage of zero.
Washington DC really is a microcosm of almost everything that is wrong with this country. It is public officials making laws that are passed in the name of the poor, yet actually helping the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class. If you are part of the elite class in DC, you are doing really well. If you are someone with minimal work skills, it is probably the wrong place to be.
Politicians who pass minimum wage laws are just praying on uninformed voters. They are taking advantage of economic ignorance. This type of nonsense will only stop when a large percentage of Americans become better informed. Unfortunately, the lessons of economics may come the hard way in the form of higher unemployment, higher inflation, and an economy that continues to struggle.