Wall Street Journal editor: Don't hike minimum wage because workers 'learn' from poverty

Wall Street Journal Editor Paul Gigot argued on Sunday that the minimum wage should be kept low because it would teach workers that they did not want to work low-wage jobs.

During a panel discussion on ABC's This Week, Gigot predicted that a decision in Seattle to hike the minimum wage to $15 an hour would eventually backfire.

"I think what [Mayor Ed Murray] is going to find out is he's pricing a bunch of people out of the labor market," Gigot opined. "Particularly the young, the least skilled, teenagers, people who want to go in and gen in on that basic, bottom rung of the economic latter and move up."

"Look, I worked for the minimum wage," he explained. "Two bucks an hour back in the 1970s. I had jobs that -- what did I learn? I learned to show up on time, I learned certain skills, and I learned I didn't want to make the rest of my life so I better get an education."

The Nation's Katrina Vanden Heuvel pointed out that only one out of 10 minimum wage workers were teenagers in today's economy.

"Morally, what does it say about America if you're an American, and you work full time, and you live in poverty, it's a broken economic system," she insisted.

"If productivity gain -- enormous productivity gains -- of the last four decades were factored in, the minimum wage today would be $22."

According to the Dept. of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 1974 minimum wage of $2 an hour would be worth $9.62 in 2014 when adjusted for inflation.

The minimum wage level has not been high enough to life full-time workers above the poverty level since 1968.

Watch the video below from ABC's This Week, broadcast June 8, 2014.