14 October 2004
Low man on a totem pole
This Kerryism from last night's debate seems to demand further examination:
If we raise the minimum wage, which I will do over several years, to $7 an hour, 9.2 million women who are trying to raise their families would earn another $3,800 a year....We'd put money into the hands of people who work hard, who obey the rules, who play for the American dream. And if we did that we'd have more consumption ability in America, which is what we need right now in order to kick our economy into gear.
Well, they wouldn't actually reach that presumably-happy plus-3800 state until the last year of the phase-in, but that's a quibble.
And yes, $5.15 seems absurd in the context of today, but where do you stop? Jacob Sullum follows it to its logical conclusion:
If the minimum wage can work this sort of magic, why not raise it to $100 an hour? Then everyone would be well-off, with plenty of spending cash to stimulate the economy.
I certainly wouldn't object to being paid $100 an hour, but I think it's fair to assume it's not going to happen in my lifetime. And somehow I suspect that if the minimum wage were raised to $100, prices would rather quickly jump upwards to cover the increased costs of labor, and what's more, the recipients thereof would be in a much higher tax bracket.
Now that I think about it, the last time my taxes were cut, I made sure the proceeds were cycled back through the economy. And I'd be happy to do it again, though I don't expect to get anything like $3800 a year from the next Bush administration or anything at all should Kerry be elected.