America's Minimum Wage Showdown

Jul 10, 2017
Originally published on July 10, 2017 3:57 pm

With guest host Anthony Brooks.

While some states raise the minimum wage, Missouri’s rolling it back. We’ll dive into the nation’s wage battle.

In the fight to help working families, advocates point out that if you work full-time at minimum wage you’re stuck below the poverty line. So some cities have given low-wage workers a raise, while progressives push for a hike in the federal minimum wage. But when St. Louis raised it to ten dollars an hour, Missouri became the latest Republican-controlled state to pass a law rolling it back. So much for local control. This hour On Point: a push for a lower minimum wage. — Anthony Brooks


Ben Casselman, senior editor and the chief economics writer for FiveThirtyEight. (@bencasselman)

Ed Brock, third-generation owner of Johnnie Brock’s Dungeon Party Warehouse costume store.

Salim Furth, research fellow in macroeconomics at the Heritage Foundation. (@salimfurth)

Michael Reich, professor of economics and co-chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley.

From The Reading List

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: St. Louis $10 minimum wage will revert back to $7.70 in August, Greitens announces — “The minimum wage in St. Louis will revert to $7.70 an hour on Aug. 28, with Gov. Eric Greitens announcing on Friday that he will allow a bill blocking the city’s increase to become law without his signature. When the Legislature sends the governor a bill, he has several options. He can sign it, veto it or take the middle course — without action before a constitutional deadline, the bill automatically takes effect.”

FiveThirtyEight: Seattle’s Minimum Wage Hike May Have Gone Too Far — “In January 2016, Seattle’s minimum wage jumped from $11 an hour to $13 for large employers, the second big increase in less than a year. New research released Monday by a team of economists at the University of Washington suggests the wage hike may have come at a significant cost: The increase led to steep declines in employment for low-wage workers, and a drop in hours for those who kept their jobs. Crucially, the negative impact of lost jobs and hours more than offset the benefits of higher wages — on average, low-wage workers earned $125 per month less because of the higher wage, a small but significant decline.”

Washington Post: Maine tried to raise its minimum wage. Restaurant workers didn’t want it. — “As the Maine House voted on a bill to reduce the minimum wage for tipped restaurant workers, Jason Buckwalter and a dozen fellow servers huddled in a back room listening to the vote call at the Bangor steakhouse where they work. They all hoped to hear one thing: that state legislators had voted to lower their wages. Some cried with relief, Buckwalter said, when the final vote ended at 110 to 37 — overwhelmingly in their favor.”

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit