[caption id="attachment_143027" align="aligncenter" width="4857"](AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)


Washington D.C. might get a boost in its minimum wage, but the consequences aren't as rosy as some supporters claim.

Reason reported on a possible ballot measure for 2016 that would increase the hourly minimum wage in the District to $15. The problem is that "the relationship between low wages and poverty is extremely weak."

Education and experience drive higher earnings. Artificially raising wages by law could help some workers, but others could lose their jobs. Especially for small businesses, as increased labor costs aren't as easily absorbed as they are in large companies. In other words, Walmart can weather higher costs better than the corner store.

True, Washington D.C. could handle an increase better than other cities or states.

Bloomberg's Megan McArdle noted how damaging a similar increase could be in upstate New York. The appeal of the minimum wage, however, is emotional. Everyone deserves a "living wage" -- however that is defined-- and if the minimum wage doesn't reach that level, it should be changed.

The danger of that reasoning is that economics doesn't work like that.

If employers can't get more value from an employee than they pay them, the hiring won't occur. To improve the lot of the poor, a better strategy would be to re-evaluate the effect of regulation on the labor market and how wealth gets accumulated.