This is what Democrats do: They impose destructive economic policies that force industries to move out of the country, and then they attack and demonize companies that do what they have to do in response to policies Democrats have forced on them. It’s getting harder to think these are unintended consequences. You’d have to believe that Democrats are stupid, but we know they aren’t. The only conclusion remaining is that they are vile. If Republicans were doing this we could go with stupid.
There is no shortage of reasons to be skeptical of the intensifying push, now formally endorsed by the Democratic Party, to raise the national minimum wage to $15 per hour. This magnitude of such a hike is unprecedented; city-level $15 minimums have not exactlybeen roaring successes; restaurants could respond to a wage hike by automating more jobs; and the minimum wage movement, as currently constituted, is facilitating outrageous union malfeasance. And, of course, trying to set one national minimum wage is foolish policy when cost of living varies from place to place.
But if one more were needed, Adam Ozimek offers yet another compelling reason for concern in a piece at Moody’s: a $15 dollar minimum wage would be especially damaging to U.S. manufacturing, an industry that has recently started to make a small and fragile comeback.
Minimum wage debates typically focus on the service, hospitality, or retail industries, and it’s easy to see why: The majority of workers making under $8 per hour work in one of these sectors. An increase to, say, $9 dollars per hour probably would have the biggest impact on service and retail. But Ozimek argues that an increase of the magnitude currently being considered would also have a strong impact on the manufacturing sector. He crunches the numbers and finds that 35 percent of manufacturing workers—5.3 million people—are currently earning less than $15 per hour. “Lifting the minimum wage to $15 an hour”, he notes, “would not just be quantitatively larger than previous U.S. experience, but qualitatively different in that it would affect a different set of workers and industries.”
Moreover, mandated wage increases in the manufacturing industry could imperil more American jobs than wage increases in the fast food industry because manufacturing is more mobile, and more subject to the forces of global economic competition. Ozimek writes:
The potential for lost jobs is particularly acute given that many manufacturers face global competition. If wages become too high in one place, it’s easier for a manufacturer than for, say, a restaurant, to relocate operations. After all, the huge decline in manufacturing employment in previous decades is in part a warning about the unsustainability of above-market wages in a globally competitive environment.
No fair-minded person can blame manufacturing companies for leaving the country, but Democrats will anyway. Republicans have the power to stop this, Obama cannot do it by himself. But will they? Given their pattern of nonperformance over the last 7 years it’s a good bet they’ll posture, make wild claims to stop Obama, but when the time actually comes for them to act they will cave in to Obama and go along with whatever he wants. This will provide further grist for the Trump mill, about which the Republican establishment will complain bitterly. They see their own conservative base and the Tea Party movement but not Obama and his destructive policies as their enemy. That’s why we can go with stupid when we wonder why the Republican establishment ignores its campaign promises.
The Republican establishment sought and got a loyalty oath to the Republican party from Donald Trump. Someone should demand the Republican establishment make a loyalty oath to its own voters. But, they’d probably make the pledge and then forget all about it.