And when it comes to economics, I'd say the most pertinent facts that we can rely on are those that have been gleaned this year from studies of states that have raised their minimum wage in 2014. Thirteen of them have done so and the numbers so far indicate one thing: states that have raised their minimum wages this year are experiencing faster job growth than states that haven't. Economists at Goldman Sachs produced a study cited by The Center For Economic Policy Research that concludes "2014 job creation is faster in states that raised the minimum wage." Granted, the study doesn't necessarily disprove the claim that some jobs could be lost by raising the minimum wage, but what it does confirm is the far more profound impact of rising wages on the overall economy. By kicking wages higher from the base upward, more money is put into the hands of consumers, whose overall spending has a positive effect on economic growth. Job losses created by rising wages in some industries are more than offset by better job creation numbers as consumer spending is increased by better overall wages.
Seems to me that this is the point that is consistently missed here in South Dakota, which is perpetually on the low end of wage scales, both nationally and regionally. Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics studies confirm as much. Governor Daugaard's much-ballyhooed and recently completed "workforce summits" at various meeting points around the state should (note I said "should") produce a "stand-out" conclusion: the best way to address South Dakota's chronic labor shortage is to pay competitive wages. What better way of showing the rest of the country that South Dakota is determined to improve the lot of its workers than by making a clear commitment to raising the minimum wage and insuring annual cost-of-living increases as part of that commitment? This is what the coming November initiative would accomplish if it passes.
And if Governor Daugaard is sincere in his belief that the decision should be an economic, not a political one, then he need only study the effects of higher minimum wages on those states that have them. That means Daugaard should be supporting the initiative. The facts speak for themselves. So what about it, Governor Daugaard? Do we make this an economic or a political decision?
Addendum (added 7/7): More on this from a UC Berkeley-trained Economist, aka my daughter Emily: "It is my belief that raising the minimum wage can actually increase employment by coaxing marginal workers back into the job market. Controlled experiments are impossible in an actual economy, but anecdotal evidence is strong in this regard. Microeconomics can easily demonstrate this if you assume that there is a "monopsony" in labor markets (many sellers -aka workers; few buyers - aka employers)." Emily adds this link