Minimum Wage Hikes Can’t Touch Affordable Housing Crises

a sign saying 'raise the minimum wage' is taped around a light standard
Raise the Minimum Wage photo by Paul Sableman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

These days, a class of experts we’d like to call “People With Another Great Idea” have been pleased to point out that while housing costs are largely fixed, incomes are not. This suggests to them that affordable housing crises can be tackled and solved if incomes are raised.

Note the indirect way of saying this: “incomes are raised.” Not “(   fill in the blank   ) should raise income.” Employers should raise income? Not if they can help it.

Government, then? Most democratic governments do not employ the entire workforce, and are not necessarily that generous to those they pay.1

So that seems to leave us with the government ordering everybody else to raise wages — something is generally only done for the lowest level income by setting a floor for minimum wages.

Undaunted, People With Another Great Idea suggest that jacking up the minimum wage will help help solve the affordable housing crisis for the lowest income workers.

Have they costed it out? Evidently not.

Will it help solve the affordable housing crisis for lowest income workers? No.2

Who knows for sure? New York State, for one, which has costed out the impact of raising minimum wage on the ability to afford housing.  Their conclusions? In most places minimum wage earners are so far underwater when it comes to paying for housing, that raising a hard-fought $2 or $3/hour increase will have a negligible impact.

Read more in The Times Herald-Record: Affordable Housing Needs To Be A Focus

 

Footnotes

  1. Try: President Trump gives federal employees largest pay raise in 10 years.
  2. Don’t get us wrong. Minimum wages have lagged behind the cost of living virtually everywhere. They need to be raised, but doing so is no miracle solution to low-income affordable housing crises.