Sunday, February 28, 2021
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, February 9, 2018
Minimum Wage: Good intentions don’t always equal good policy
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 5:38 PM :: 3216 Views :: Labor, Small Business

Good intentions don’t always equal good policy

Just because some ideas are motivated by good intentions doesn’t mean they should be approved by the Hawaii Legislature.

In the current legislative session, such a proposal is SB2291, which would raise the minimum wage in Hawaii to $15 an hour by 2020.

For several years, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii has offered comments to the Legislature on why such well-intended proposals would be a mistake, but so far, they just keep coming back.

If you want a snapshot of how hard it is to run a small business in Hawaii, just look at who weighed in on this bill during the hearing before the Senate Committee on Labor: mostly unions and social advocacy groups.

Compared to this avalanche of special interests, the lonely voices of the entrepreneurs and chambers of commerce were easily overwhelmed. But as the ones with the clearest idea of how a higher minimum wage would affect their businesses and labor pools, their concerns should be front and center.

The unfortunate truth is that higher minimum wage laws don’t do as much to help low-wage workers as their supporters claim. Research demonstrates that higher minimum-wage laws reduce teenage employment and raise the cost of low-skilled labor while benefiting only a small proportion of low-income families.

A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the 2016 minimum wage increase in Seattle, to $13 an hour, actually lowered the amount of money workers were taking home. That’s because wages increased 3 percent, but hours worked decreased 9 percent. So the higher minimum wage actually lowered the employees’ earnings by about $125 per month.

Hawaii's current minimum wage currently is $10.10 an hour, and is one of the factors contributing to the state's poor ranking (43rd) in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 2017 Rich States, Poor States forecast of economic outlook.

Add in Hawaii’s regulatory overload, high marginal tax rate, worst-in-the-nation excise tax and other tax schemes currently being weighed at the Legislature, it almost looks like policymakers here are trying to limit our state's economic competitiveness, not improve it.

If Hawaii legislators are serious about helping low-wage workers, they need to think differently. Raising the state’s minimum wage would only create more barriers to business and enterprise in the islands, thus harming the very folks these well-intended policies are meant to help.

Enacting policies that encourage investment and entrepreneurship instead would raise everyone’s standard of living, including those struggling the most, without attaching an anchor to the state’s economy.

E hana kakou (Let’s work together!),

Keli'i Akina, Ph.D.

President/CEO, Grassroot Institute


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii


Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Life Alliance

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii


National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Hawaiian

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii