Much has been written about the ignorance, impracticality and offensiveness of many of the Republican front-runners' policy proposals. Not nearly enough has been written about the ignorance, impracticality and offensiveness of the policy proposals emanating from the Democratic side, some of which, unlike
Consider the race to hike the minimum wage.
In last week's Democratic debate, Sanders denounced Clinton for her insufficient ardor in racing to
With the exception of some very cynical labor unions that support a higher minimum wage because it amounts to an indirect subsidy of their members' earnings and some politicians who know it is bad economics, the Fight for 15 movement is entirely well-intentioned. But good intentions do not automatically translate into good policy.
Last week, the
To stay in business, Joompy will probably have to start importing its clothes. "It will be impossible to make clothes in
This is an old story. My grandmother was a seamstress in
Businesses don't have to send their work to low-wage countries. They can simply hire robots. Already, many restaurants facing mandated wage hikes are moving to replace human cooks and servers with machines and iPads.
The Times article had a great little infographic breaking down "Who Gets a Raise" under the minimum-wage hike by age and race. Latinos got the biggest share, with 54 percent. Unfortunately, there wasn't a companion chart showing how many of those Latinos will simply lose their jobs, resulting in the real minimum wage: zero.
Ironically, one of the original arguments for the minimum wage was that it would push nonwhites -- and women -- out of the labor market.
Simply put, a minimum wage is no different from a tax on firms that use low-wage and unskilled labor. And if there's anything that economists agree upon, it's that if you tax something you get less of it.
This amounts to grotesque cowardice. If Brown understands that his policy doesn't work economically, he understands that the moral benefits will not materialize (though he'll reap political benefits from those aforementioned unions).
Assuming it's in everyone's interest to raise the wages of low-income workers, then the government can subsidize those wages without penalizing businesses that give jobs to those most in need of work and work experience. We could, for instance, boost the Earned Income Tax Credit or pay businesses to bump up their payrolls. These approaches have drawbacks too, but they stand a better chance of achieving the moral goals that Brown, Sanders and Clinton have in mind.