Bill Gates: Raising Minimum Wage 'Does Cause Job Destruction'

By Susan Jones | January 21, 2014 | 9:34am EST

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates. (AP File Photo)

( - Should the nation's minimum wage be raised, as Democrats from President Obama on down are insisting?

"Well, jobs are a great thing," Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday. "So you have to be a bit careful: If you raise the minimum wage, you're encouraging labor substitution, and you're going to go buy machines and automate things -- or cause jobs to appear outside of that jurisdiction.

"And so within certain limits, you know, it does cause job destruction. If you really start pushing it, then you're just making a huge tradeoff."

Gates said there also the question of which households end up benefiting from a higher minimum wage: "Is it much more the teenager in a wealthy household, or is it that household in poverty? A lot of the problem there is that those people don't have many hours."

"These are complex issues," he continued. "It's not as simple as just saying, okay, raise the wage."

Gates on Tuesday released his 2014 annual letter, describing "three myths that block progress for the poor."

The misconceptions include:

-- Poor countries are doomed to stay poor;
-- Foreign aid is a big waste;
-- Saving lives leads to overpopulation.

Asked about income inequality, Gates told MSNBC, "The poor are not getting poorer." He said life is better for more people around the world, including many in China, than it has ever been.

"The route to reasonable income is to invest in people's skills," he said, adding that education is critical.

As for the "saving lives" myth, Gate says when children survive in greater numbers, parents decide to have smaller families.

Gates said he and his wife Melinda wanted to tackle the three myths because they often give people a reason not to act.

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