This ran as a letter to the editor in the Star-Ledger.
While we commend the Star-Ledger editorial board for once again noting that New Jersey’s minimum wage needs a significant boost (“The minimum wage needs a boost, but $15 may be a bridge too far,” February 14), we question its proposal to raise the wage to a level that remains inadequate, and the rationale behind it.
Yes, a $12 an hour minimum wage would be a big improvement over today’s $8.38 wage floor. But it would still fall short of what it takes for a full-time single adult worker just to get by in New Jersey. That wage, as defined by the United Way, is $13.78.
The editorial board cites economist Alan Krueger’s opinion piece cautioning against a $15 an hour federal minimum wage, saying he fears “it would ultimately cause job losses.” But it neglects to mention that in the same piece, Krueger notes “high-wage cities and states could probably absorb a $15-an-hour minimum wage with little or no job loss.” New Jersey, for what it’s worth, has the third-highest median wage of the states.
A $15 minimum wage would boost the pay of hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans while lifting them out of abject poverty and closer to a solid working-class life. Everyone would benefit from their spending increased wages locally and immediately. That’s not only the right thing to do for these working men and women, it’s the right thing to do for New Jersey’s economy.