How Bernie Sanders's minimum wage hike idea works in Venezuela

Bernie Sanders has opined for years on the necessity of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, explaining:

By phasing in a pay raise for tens of millions of workers, we can improve living standards, lift families out of poverty, and provide a much[] needed boost to our economy.  Our bill will raise the wages of 41 million workers – an extra $3,500 a year in pay for full-time workers.

The socialist senator this past year introduced legislation in the Senate for the wage hike, and while that didn't succeed (so far), he has made the $15 wage call a standard platform item for most Democrats on the campaign trail.  After all, if a $10 minimum wage hike is great, why not a raise to $15?

Sanders has even claimed that such a move would cut federal spending, something the lefty PolitiFact found "mostly false."

Factual or not, Sanders remains popular, especially among the Millennials who, born after the Wall's fall, have no experience of socialism whatsoever.

Until now.

Going Bernie one better, Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro has raised the minimum wage 60% in his socialist country, using the exact same logic as Sanders.  It's something like his 15th minimum wage rise since he took the reins of the presidency after the untimely demise of strongman Hugo Chávez in 2013, and it's definitely his fifth rise of 2017.  According to the PanAm Post:

The new wage amounts to a daily income of 26,583 bolivars (US $0.26), which barely covers a coffee or a pie (20,000 bolivars US $0.2[0]) at prices listed on December 31, 2017.  Merely increasing the minimum wage won't solve the economic problems facing Venezuela, which currently suffers from inflation of around 3,000 percent, as well as food and medicine shortages.

An average salary in Venezuela is 248,510 bolivars (US $2.20).  With additional food stamps of 549,000 bolivars (US $5.49), the salary is barely equivalent to eight dollars.  The income situation in Venezuela is so poor that a person earning a minimum wage can ... buy [only] six percent of most basic goods, which exceeded 13 million bolivars (US $130) in November 2017.

That and a Maduro wage hike will buy you a cup of coffee.

Maduro's results are so meager because an inordinately large percentage of the public with jobs has government jobs, financed by money-printing now that the oil industry is in default.  The wage rise will require the printing of more money since Venezuela produces almost nothing otherwise of value.  From there, the 3,000% or so inflation rate will go even higher – and the purchasing power of the workers will go even lower.  This is as true of Venezuela as it was of Seattle, which also raised its minimum wage, almost to Bernie heights.

Here's what Maduro can really do to resolve this situation: free the economy.  Allow currency to trade freely and end the price-setting that has led to shortages. Allow businesses to form or at least return the expropriated businesses, now in ruins, to their rightful owners.  Throw out the failed bolivar currency and dollarize, to kill off the killer inflation.

In short, scrap the socialism.

Anything else just leads to more spiraling inflation, shortages, poverty, and useless minimum wage rises.  Bernie can put that in his pipe and smoke it.

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