This article originally appeared on Fox News on January 17, 2021.
President-elect Joe Biden proposed increasing the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $15 an hour as part of his coronavirus relief package announced Thursday night. Such a dramatic increase would exacerbate the devastating impact economic lockdowns are having on small businesses, while doing great harm to 10.7 million Americans who are unemployed.
The situation is so desperate for struggling small businesses that Congress recently increased the total funds available under the Payroll Protection Program to nearly $1 trillion to help them pay their employees and stay afloat.
Biden proposes adding another $190 billion in aid for minority businesses. But if small businesses are already on the cusp of failure and need help just to pay their employees, why impose a big wage increase that makes doing so more difficult?
Even with the help available to date, tens of thousands of small businesses have been forced to close permanently and hundreds of thousands more are at risk. Every closure wipes out the jobs those business created and subjects its former employees to the real minimum wage: $0 an hour.
Of course, a minimum wage increase (the first at the federal level since 2009) only helps if you have a job. But it is the unemployed who are suffering during this pandemic. For people fortunate enough to have a job, wages have generally increased.
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