Bernie Sanders's case for raising the minimum wage falls apart

"[I]n my view, it all comes down to this.  Are you on the side of the working people in America who desperately need a raise?  Or are you on the side of the wealthy and the powerful who want to continue exploiting their workers and paying starvation wages?  It ain't more complicated than that."

This is a comment from my high school fellow track team buddy, the junior senator from Vermont.

Bernie Sanders is wrong; it is quite a bit more complicated than that.  If it were that simple, why, oh, why do advocates of this pernicious legislation merely call for a stinking, lousy, cheap-skatey $15 per hour?  Wouldn't an hourly $25, or $50, or $150 show even more support for the working class?  The senator from Vermont is forever waxing eloquent about a "living wage."  Surely these other figures are more "livable" than his $15!

But even with regard to that niggardly $15, Bernie says this: "I am offering an amendment today with Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Ron Wyden, and many others in this Chamber to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025."

But why gradually?  According to his lights, the poor are suffering, grievously, by presently being underpaid.  Why, oh, why do they have to wait until 2025 to be completely rescued?

Senator Sanders says: "Nobody in America can survive on $7.25 an hour, $9 an hour, or $12 an hour.  We need an economy in which all of our workers earn at least a living wage."  How does he square this with his espoused gradualism?

If there were someone in need of a full dose of penicillin, Dr. B. Sanders would administer it to him right away, this minute.  He would not do it gradually, bit by bit, more each year until the full dose finally reached the patient in, of all years, 2025.  Enquiring minds want to know about this present postponement.

In Bernie's recent Senate speech, he also said this: "For too long, Congress has responded to the needs of the wealthy and the powerful.  Now it is time to respond to the needs of working families — black and white, Latino, Native American[.]"

Bernie doesn't seem to realize that before the advent of this vicious legislation, in the 1930s, the unemployment rate of whites and blacks, youngsters and the middle-aged was about equal; all were within a few points of each other.  But due to the minimum wage law, the unemployment rate of teens is double that of adults, and blacks suffer twice the rate of unemployment of whites.  Black young people suffer from quadruple the unemployment rate of middle-aged whites!

Why is this?  It is due to the fact that wages are not determined by employer generosity, as socialists like Bernie seem to believe.  Rather, these levels are predicated upon productivity.  LeBron James earns a large remuneration not because the Lakers are nice guys.  The person who pushes a broom or washes dishes is at the bottom of the economic pyramid not due to skinflint bosses.  Those just starting out in the labor force have lower productivity than others with more experience.  The point is that black teens are priced out of the market by this malicious legislation Sanders is supporting.

Suppose I were to pass a law saying black kids had to be paid at least $10,000 per hour.  Would I be doing them a favor?  Surely, people with even a modicum of common sense can see that none of them, ever, would be added to any payroll.

Bernie favors foreign aid to poor countries, right?  Why not end this on humane grounds and just tell them to institute, or raise, their minimum wage levels?  Evidently, he does not have all that much confidence in this nostrum of his.

All men of goodwill should use their best efforts not to raise the level of the federal minimum wage from its present $7.25, nor even to stand pat on this, nor even to lower it.  Instead, they should call for its total elimination.  At present, it ensures that those with productivity levels of less than that are forever unemployable.  Why would anyone pay this amount to someone with a productivity level of $5?  He'd lose $2.25!

Bernie has shown courage in not backing away from socialism when this policy was far less popular than at present and at calling for voting rights not only for ex-cons, but for those presently incarcerated.  He should show some moxie now!  His voice on this issue is so powerful that he alone can turn the tide and end the permanent unemployment of the least skillful in our society.

Image: AFGE via Flickr.

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