The thought has crossed my mind that now that ‘The Donald’ has essentially locked up the GOP nomination we might come to see him perhaps start drifting a bit to the left. And the only reason I bring such a thing up is the fact that our presumptive Republican presidential nominee recently made a comment about raising the minimum wage, saying that you can’t live on the current federal minimum wage of $7.25-an-hour. And when he asked about it he said he was “looking at that, because I’m very different from most Republicans. I mean, you have to have something that you can live on.” While I think his being a different from most Republicans is pretty much a given, he’s going to need to remember that he IS a Republican and that such comments may cause some to begin to wonder.
He made his comments in response to a question during an interview broadcast on Wednesday’s “Situation Room” on the Communist News Network (CNN). It all started when Trump was asked: “Bernie Sanders says he wants $15-an-hour minimum wage, and he has really gone after you lately for saying you’re happy with $7.25, the current federal minimum wage. You can’t live on $7.25-an-hour.” He responded, “No, and I’m actually looking at that, because I’m very different from most Republicans. I mean, you have to have something that you can live on, but what I’m really looking to do, is get people great jobs so they make much more money than that, so they make much money — more money than the $15. Now, if you start playing around too much with the lower level, the lower level number, you’re not going to be competitive.”
When asked what he would likely recommend as a federal minimum wage, Trump would only say, “I’m looking at it.” He was then asked if he was open to raising the wage to which he responded, “I’m open to doing something with it, because I don’t like that. But what I really do like bringing our jobs back, so they’re making much more than the $15.” Now I do agree that we need to work on creating an economic environment where wages, which have now essentially remained stagnant for over 15 years, are made to naturally rise through job creation. But I am against the mandating of a minimum wage, as that does little more than to exacerbate an already difficult employment picture even worse. And if that’s what Trump has in mind then he may yet convince me to simply stay home on Election Day.
I’m kind of an old school kind of guy, and my way of thinking goes back to a wise man who once told me that if raising the minimum wage really worked, they’d have a moral duty to make it $40 per hour so we would all be rich. Granted, that wise man was my Dad and he was explaining it to likely a 10 year old me, but he did have a point. The best example I can think of for why minimum wage increases disappear so quickly is the humble cheeseburger. Labor is required to raise the cow, to butcher the meat, to milk the milk cows, to process the cheese, to harvest the lettuce, to pick the tomatoes, and pick the onions, harvest cucumbers, pickle the cucumbers, and finally, to ship all of it from the farms to the warehouses, from the warehouses to the kitchen, and to process them into a cheeseburger.
The vast majority of the cost of that cheeseburger is labor, and every component of it is affected by changing the price of labor. So when you double the price of labor, the cost of a cheeseburger instantly doubles along with it and the gains to the workers from the higher wage are lost. The cheeseburger example works on almost any product you can think of, even manufactured products. Every product and service in the entire economy is affected, and almost instantly. So if minimum wages don’t work, why does the cost of living keep rising relative to inflation? This is Econ 101 stuff. The reason the cost of living is out of whack is due to supply and demand. Demand for products and housing has been dramatically overinflated thanks to the influx of immigrants, and supplies have been relatively static.
The reverse is true of labor – demand is static, and the supply has been artificially inflated, keeping wages down. So I guess what I’m trying to say here is that after years of having someone in the White house who is about as ignorant as one can possibly be when it comes to possessing even a minimum understanding of how it is that our economy actually works, or is supposed to work, I’m glad that we will finally have the opportunity to vote for someone who has more than a very limited understanding of the complexities of our free market system. Of course, we still have to elect him. And wouldn’t it be a shame if after finally electing such a person he were to turn out to be nothing more than the equivalent of your very basic sleazy, pandering politician. And we’ve had enough of those.