Heritage Foundation policy experts Joel Griffith and Rachel Greszler testified before Congress this week about the ramifications of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Greszler testified to the House Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations during a hearing called “Perspectives from Main Street: Raising the Wage,” while Griffith spoke to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
Heritage experts have extensively researched the negative consequences of increasing the federal minimum wage. In additional to their congressional testimony, they have also published groundbreaking research reports, conducted media interviews, and appealed directly to the American people via social media.
“Despite pretty clear evidence and basic laws of economics, there's been debate over whether a $15 minimum wage would cost jobs or have negative impacts,” Greszler said in her testimony to Congress. “Those economic studies can be complicated, but for anyone who doubts that doubling the minimum wage will cause substantial disruption and harm, consider what would happen if your mortgage payment or rent were to double—that would likely require a lot of changes.”
In a February 2021 commentary, Greszler pointed out that minimum wage laws don’t create higher incomes; they instead redistribute incomes at the cost of jobs. She provided solutions to raise incomes for all Americans without hurting others.
“Policymakers should seek policies that help generate real income gains,” Greszler wrote. “Expanding alternative forms of education, such as apprenticeships, reducing unnecessary regulations so that businesses can invest more in workers, and opening doors to entrepreneurial opportunities for lower-income workers by reforming occupational licensing requirements and allowing all types of workers the freedom to contract are just a few ways to generate income gains that don’t hurt others.”
Griffith was also highly critical of government interference in the economy in his testimony.
“Usually you have businesses bidding with each other by paying higher interest rates for limited amount of capital,” Griffith said. “In this instance, you end up having the government allocating capital to a business based on other factors beyond credit worthiness or beyond whether that company is likely to be able to produce, and they’re able to curry political favor, but that doesn’t result in net economic growth.”
Heritage experts frequently appear before Congress to share their expertise on a range of policy issues. Their words can also have a lasting impact.
In September 2019, Amy Swearer, a legal fellow in Heritage’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, presented evidence to Congress on the danger posed by laws to ban “assault weapons.” That video has been viewed almost 1.5 million times on YouTube.