You know how some of us knee-jerk libertarians were scolded–by friends and foes alike–for saying, “Well gee Mr. President, if raising the minimum wage to $9/hour is a good idea, why not $20 or $100?” Well now we’re getting dangerously close to this.
There’s now a video floating around the Intertubes, praised by progressive pundits and (with reservation) by econ grad students alike, where Sen. Elizabeth Warren tiptoes up to endorsing a $22/hour minimum wage. (I saw this first on EPJ.) Now it’s true, neither she nor her progressive fans comes out and says, “I want the president to push for a $22/hour minimum wage,” but you certainly get the impression that it would be good for workers, and–at the very least–that it’s pure greed by the fat cats that prevents workers from earning that much right now.
What the heck is going on here? We’re not talking about a “modest” change that Krugman et al. hide behind when we free-marketeers go nuts on this stuff. (Even here, I’m still waiting for someone to show me why going from $7.25 to $9/hour–which is a 24 percent increase–is “modest.” If the government cut the deficit by 24 percent in a year, I doubt Krugman would dismiss it as “modest.”)
Is there anyone with economics training who actually thinks there are millions of workers generating $22/hour for their bosses, but are only getting paid $7.25/hour? And I’m talking gross pay; of course the tax man grabs a huge cut of what workers produce.
If so, why doesn’t the writer for the Daily Kos team up with Senator Warren and open a restaurant? They could pay $15/hour, more than doubling the pay of current minimum wage workers, and still make an absolute killing.