Ben Carson Just Made a Completely Bogus Argument for Not Raising the Minimum Wage

No, a wage hike won’t destroy American jobs.

Morry Gash/AP

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


Flying in the face of what most economists believe, GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson announced that raising the minimum wage would cost America jobs.

“Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases,” the retired neurosurgeon said during the fourth televised GOP debate. “If you lower those wages, that comes down,”

Only one problem: this claim is seriously contested. More than 600 economists signed a letter to President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders last year urging the government to raise the federal minimum wage.

“The weight of evidence now [shows] that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market,” the economists wrote.

There are some forecasts that support Carson’s view: the Congressional Budget Office last year said that raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 would cost the US economy 500,000 jobs.

But many economists disagree with these estimates and so does the US Department of Labor. State-by-state hiring data released last year by the Department of Labor showed that the 13 states that raised their minimum wages at the start of the year gained jobs faster than their peers.

The federal minimum wage was last raised in 2009.

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate