The real minimum wage is zero.
-Economist Thomas Sowell
Bernie Sanders is known for his support of the Fight For $15 movement — a movement to get the United States federal minimum increased from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour.
Simple numbers show that if minimum wage is high enough to have an effect, it will lead to job loss. Forcing wages to be raised artificially increases the supply of those willing to work in low skilled jobs without increasing the demand for those jobs, if anything, due to the amount of businesses that would go under, the demand for these jobs could decrease. Something many of the first minimum wage supporters were well aware of by the way, but that’s a story for another time.
Either way, Senator Bernie Sanders believes in the Fight For $15 movement. In May 2017, the Senator introduced a bill to do just that which ended up failing. He also sponsored a bill to do this back in January. He even wrote the following on his website:
In the richest country in the world, there is no state in which working 40 hours at the state minimum wage generates enough income to afford a one-bedroom apartment.
Of course, we’re “the richest country in the world” because a number of things Sander opposes. (And, to be fair, some things that I do I as well) Has the Senator never asked himself why countries like Sweden, Norway, and Denmark — his favorite countries — even have a lower poverty line then us?
Either way, this stance has caused controversy over the past week.
While it has been an open secret Sanders doesn’t pay his staff $15 an hour, most don’t really seem to mind. However, this changed in March following the campaigns choice to unionize. I thought they were unionized already. Sander’s website also says he supports “Make[ing] it easier for workers to join unions through the Workplace Democracy Act.” Yet he can’t even be bothered to unionize his own staff. Someone should tell the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization, who gave Sanders a 100% rating for his support of Unions back in 2013.
Although, $12 an hour may not sound all that bad for a campaign that supports $15 an hour, that difference of $3 an hour would equal a difference of $6,240 over the course of an entire year.
It seems Sander’s staff and the Unions they work for now understand the difference as they have recently chosen to protest until they get $15 an hour. Of course, as well all know from his tax returns, Senator Sanders is a millionaire. Hey, he wrote three best selling books, far as I’m aware he deserves every penny. However, that would make him one of those millionaires he thinks can simply pay more.
From The Hill:
Campaign field employees are asking for salaries they say would be equal to the $15-an-hour wage Sanders has championed, The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing internal documents.
The documents reviewed by the newspaper reportedly show that the unresolved dispute between the unionized workers and management has been going on since at least May.
A draft letter members of the union planned to send to campaign manager Faiz Shakir said that field organizers “cannot be expected to build the largest grassroots organizing program in American history while making poverty wages,” according to the Post. “Given our campaign’s commitment to fighting for a living wage of at least $15.00 an hour, we believe it is only fair that the campaign would carry through this commitment to its own field team.”
To give the Senator credit where it’s due, he did announce yesterday that he would be giving all his staff a raise and pay them all $15 an hour.
However, there’s a twist. It turns out that while Sanders will give everyone in his staff $15 an hour, he’ll also be cutting there hours greatly in order to afford it. Gee, I wonder who predicted this?
You see, now instead of working 15 hours a week for $12 an hour, they’re working 12 hours a week for $15 an hour.
The same day this happened, Former Vice President Joe Biden announced he would doing the same and will be raising the pay of his staff to $15 an hour. However, Biden is much wealthier than Sanders so it’s likely he will not have to reduce hours nearly as much as Sanders does.
I mention this because, while Biden will not be in the same debate as Sanders on CNN later this month, it would still be something worth bringing up to show just how hypocritical the Senator is.
Mentioning how wealthy he is could also count as an advantage here. As he could use this as a jumping off point to talk about how minimum wage laws are just another form of regulatory capture that benefit the rich at the expense of the poor.
Remember, capitalism is the most populist economic model to exist.