Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour for those who toil in fast food and retail jobs sounds wonderfully just but the reality is just the opposite.

Massachusetts appears poised to follow those communities that have decided to increase their minimum wage to $15 an hour.  A noble gesture but not well thought out.  Seattle was the first to do it back in 2014 and according to a new study it is hurting the very people it sought to help.  The University of Washington newspaper reports that the working poor are making more money per hour but are actually bringing home less money because their are given fewer hours.

According to a FOX News report, worker's hourly wages increased by 3% in Seattle but workers suffered a reduction of 9% in the total number of hours worked as a result of the wage increase.  That amounts to a roughly $125 monthly cut in pay.  The University of Washington study also indicates that the city of Seattle lost some 5 thousand jobs as a result of the wage hike.

The Seattle administration will argue that job growth is on the rise and that new businesses continue to open there.  What they don't tell you is that the boom in business is not for the those earning the minimum wage.

The minimum wage was never intended to support a family just as Social Security was never intended as a retirement plan.  Minimum wage jobs are intended to be entry level jobs for those just joining the work force.  Or for those looking for a supplemental income.

When the minimum wage is increased dramatically, as it has in Massachusetts already, business is forced to increase prices or employ fewer workers.  Still others look towards automation or other cost saving measures to remain competitive.

Sharp hikes in the minimum wage eliminate the jobs that minimum wage workers depend upon.  They dry up.

If supporting your family on a minimum wage job is not doable, seek better paying employment or find a way to continue your education in order to make yourself more valuable to potential employers and able to command a higher wage.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour is nice politically but makes no sense for business and ultimately for the minimum wage earner. See this article about McDonald's at YoungCons.com.

Editor’s Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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