Now I’m wondering if we might actually have a learnable moment on the issue of minimum wages for Crazy Bernie.
The Vermont socialist is experiencing something akin to what it’s like to be an entrepreneur or business owner. He’s having to generate revenue for his campaign and figure out the best way to allocate the funds.
And – surprise, surprise – he doesn’t want to pay above-market wages. Which makes him a giant hypocrite since he wants to use government coercion to impose higher minimum wages on the private sector.
Professor Art Carden highlights three things that Bernie should learn from this experience.
Bernie Sanders is having trouble with his unionized–and apparently underpaid–labor force. …the Sanders campaign “will limit the amount of time his organizers can work to guarantee that no one is making less than $15 per hour.” …I see three takeaways. First, …this is pretty much exactly what that story predicts. Firms don’t wish to hire as much labor as workers wish to supply at what is apparently an above-market wage. …Second, a $15 per hour national minimum wage will not be a free lunch, even for the people we claim we want to help. …there are a lot of hidden costs to higher minimum wages, like less-generous fringe benefits and stricter scheduling. A higher minimum wage will…also create a lot of losers: according to the Congressional Budget Office’s median estimate, “…1.3 million other workers would become jobless.” Third, this whole episode should make you more skeptical of socialism, even watered-down “democratic socialism.” …Sanders and his staff are struggling to manage an ideologically homogeneous group of people with similar worldviews…and a very well-defined end goal of “elect Bernie Sanders to the presidency.” Suffice it to say this does not make me confident that they can be trusted to organize something as complex and mind-bogglingly diverse as the US economy
So will this episode teach Crazy Bernie a lesson about the downside of minimum-wage laws?
Will his clueless volunteers now understand there are tradeoffs in the real world and that government can’t make people richer by waving a magic wand?
I won’t hold my breath, but it would be nice.
In the meantime, here’s a great video on the topic by John Stossel.
P.S. Another Democratic presidential candidate also is a big hypocrite.
P.P.S. Actually, there are at least three hypocrites running for the Democratic nomination.
P.P.P.S. Here’s another video reviewing the evidence about Seattle’s job-killing increase in the minimum wage.