Free market economists and conservative activists point out that minimum wage laws harm the very people they are supposedly intended to help: unskilled workers. A recent article from the conservative Heritage Foundation, for example, makes this point.
The economics is straightforward: Employers are not willing to pay people more than what they are worth to the company. If someone is worth only $5 per hour to a business, the employer will not pay him $7.25 or $10 per hour. The real minimum wage is zero, and that is precisely what many unskilled workers end up getting due to the intrusive wage-control laws.
As an indication of the problems created in part by minimum wage laws, last November the Associated Press reported that 14.3 percent of blacks—and 40.5 percent of black teens—were unemployed. . . .