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David Boze
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Sun Benjamin, a home health care worker, advocates for a $15 per hour minimum wage in SeaTac on Dec. 5 (AP).

Minimum wage increase could hurt young people

With all the talk about increasing the minimum wage - Democrats want to see it between $10 and $15 per hour - David Boze welcomed American Commitment President Phil Kerpen to explain how the hike could negatively affect young people.

Kerpen recently published the article "Minimum Wage Hammers Youth," which argues that an increase would "exacerbate a crisis of youth unemployment." The teenage unemployment rate stands at more than 20 percent, and is 11.6 percent for youth age 20 to 24.

Kerpen told Boze some would benefit from a bigger paycheck under a higher minimum wage, but at the same time, jobs will not be created at the same rate - and that will leave workers under age 25 unemployed.

"I'm worried we've got a generation of people that don't have the basic work experience - that experience of showing up on time and listening to a boss," Kerpen said, referring to the current youth unemployment crisis.

In his article, Kerpen showed that just 1.9 percent of wage earners make minimum wage or less, meanwhile 36.6 percent of minimum wage workers are teenagers. That means a minimum wage increase would go mostly to teens - not families, as Democrats profess - and lead employers forced to cut those jobs to stay in business.

The most recent minimum wage hike, which took place between 2007 and 2009 and raised the wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25, coincided with teenage unemployment rates skyrocketing to around 25 percent.

"I've suggested based on this very strong historical relationship I think what Congress ought to do is for teenagers, the federal minimum wage ought to be lower. At least when there are future minimum wage increases, it won't have this huge impact," Kerpen said.

Neal McNamara, Writer, KTTH
Originally from the Northeast, Neal McNamara has worked as a news reporter for more than 10 years at newspapers across the U.S., landing most recently in Seattle.
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