Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks during a press conference about the minimum wage on March 11, 2021.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks during a press conference about the minimum wage on March 11, 2021. (Photo: Lenin Nolly/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

$15 Minimum Wage Would Lift Millions Out of Poverty, Says... Wall Street Giant Morgan Stanley

"The social benefits to lifting real wages of lower-income earners and millions out of poverty are substantial."

Jake Johnson

Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would deliver sizable benefits to low-wage workers and lift millions of people in the U.S. out of poverty while having little impact—positive or negative—on employment levels.

So says a new report assembled not by a progressive advocacy organization or a left-leaning think tank, but Wall Street titan Morgan Stanley, which found in a 75-page analysis that—contrary to the GOP's branding of the proposed $15-an-hour federal minimum wage as a job-killer—"the wealth of research points to no definitive conclusion on the impact higher wages have on employment."

"However," the report adds, "it is evident that the impact to employment... would be minimal, while the social benefits to lifting real wages of lower-income earners and millions out of poverty are substantial."

The big bank's analysis of the potential effects of more than doubling the national minimum wage comes after the Senate Democratic leadership stripped a $15 wage provision out of the newly passed coronavirus relief package, citing the unelected Senate parliamentarian's widely disputed advisory opinion that the proposed pay hike ran afoul of the chamber's reconciliation rules.

As progressive lawmakers vow to continue fighting for the long-overdue pay increase, Morgan Stanley's economic team envisioned "limited impact to broader equity earnings, GDP, and consumption, but important implications for poverty reduction" should Congress ultimately approve a $15 federal minimum wage.

The bank's analysts argued that while its implications for growth, employment, and other broad economic metrics would likely be marginal, a $15 minimum wage would have a "major impact on a portion of the workforce... with a higher minimum wage lifting millions of workers out of poverty and reducing government expenditures on public assistance programs significantly."

In its conclusion that a $15 federal minimum wage would provide a major boost to workers currently struggling to survive on starvation-level wages, Morgan Stanley's report was in line with an analysis released earlier this week by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which found that the pay hike would "raise the pay of essential and frontline workers" and "reduce the number of people living in poverty."

Implementing a $15 minimum wage by 2025 as proposed by the Raise the Wage Act would lift 3.7 million people in the U.S. out of poverty, according to EPI.

"Raising the minimum wage is a no-brainer," said David Cooper, a senior economic analyst at EPI.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Fears of Escalation as Ukraine Answers Russian Missile Onslaught With Strike Deep Inside Invader's Territory

Ukrainian drones bombed two air bases more than 300 miles inside Russia, reportedly killing three soldiers, wounding four others, and damaging multiple warplanes.

Brett Wilkins ·


Patient Groups Push Congress to Combat Big Pharma Greed in Spending Bill

"As Congress works toward finalizing an end-of-year budget package, we urge the chambers to include bipartisan legislation to address abuse of the Food and Drug Administration's citizen petition process in order to reduce drug prices and save the government hundreds of millions of dollars."

Brett Wilkins ·


10,000+ Sign Open Letter Demanding Biden Order Paid Sick Leave for Railway Workers

"No one, especially in the world's richest nation, should have to choose between forgoing pay or working through severe illness and family emergencies," says The Lever's letter.

Jessica Corbett ·


Right-Wing SCOTUS Majority Signals Support for Anti-LGBTQ+ Reactionaries

"It does not bode well for the future of civil rights law that Gorsuch believes a state imposes 'reeducation training' on employers when it reminds them how to comply with nondiscrimination rules," said one court observer.

Julia Conley ·


Report Reveals Corporate Capture of Global Biodiversity Efforts Ahead of Summit

"Their 'solutions' are carefully crafted in order to not undermine their business models; ultimately they do nothing for the environment," said one Friends of the Earth campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo