Fight for $15: Why Do Democrats Hate Racial Minorities So Much?
Joe Biden has already quietly told several Democrat governors that he’s not going to be raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. There’s no way an increase like that will get through a narrowly divided Congress. That’s going to be upsetting to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and other people who are terrible at math.
But it’s worth talking about the federal minimum wage anyway, because the subject is sucking so much oxygen out of the room in DC right now. Anytime someone on the left starts telling me that they want a huge increase to the minimum wage, my first question for them is always this: Why do you hate black people so much?
The National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge has just released a timely study of what has happened to prices at McDonald’s restaurants nationwide, every time the minimum wage is increased. Their conclusion probably isn’t a big surprise to anyone on the right: Every time the minimum wage is increased, the entire cost is passed on to consumers who suddenly have to pay more for food.
Fast food restaurants are models of assembly-line efficiency. They can slap together burgers, fries and milkshakes for a whole family in just a couple of minutes. With so many efficiencies built into their business model, there’s nowhere else where they can cut costs to pay for minimum wage increases. The only short-term solution is to raise prices for everyone.
Princeton University has found, again to the surprise of no one on the right, that minimum wage increases drive up the price of just about everything else in the economy. The result is always the same: The same people who receive the pay increase from a minimum wage hike are no better off in the end, because everything else that they have to pay for goes up in cost.
Here’s another thing that all of the dummies in the “Fight for $15” battle don’t realize: The real minimum wage is always $0. At a certain point, companies that provide entry-level jobs will simply automate and replace their minimum-wage employees with robots or vending machines. McDonalds restaurants are already doing this in California, where the minimum wage increased to $14 an hour in January 2021.
If there’s a glut of unskilled workers and no jobs for them to fill, well gee, what do you suppose that does to wages?
You already experience the $0 minimum wage effect every time you use the self-checkout at the grocery store. Think about it: You go to the store. You fill your cart. You scan the items. You bag your groceries yourself. You pay the machine and leave.
You’ve just done all the labor for the grocery store! Once the stores figure out how to restock the shelves with a couple of robots, there will be absolutely no need for human employees there any longer. That might not happen immediately under a $15 minimum wage, but it’s coming.
Now… don’t pull your hair out and run screaming from the room at this next statement. The federal minimum wage has always been a racist construct.
The first federal minimum wage was passed during Reconstruction – you know, that period in American history after Republicans freed the slaves from the Democrats. The purpose of the first federal minimum wage was to specifically prevent the post-Civil War jobs boom from benefitting southern states.
After Republicans freed the slaves, there was suddenly a glut of new workers who were ready, willing and eager to find jobs. Cost of living in the South was lower than in the Northern states, so the large black workforce didn’t care about making the kinds of wages that people in the Northern states were demanding.
The first federal minimum wage thus disincentivized new factory and jobs growth in the South. Which is better for a civilization in the first place: A job, or a minimum wage that is too high to create that job in the first place?
All of this is a moot point anyway in the end. Joe Biden’s promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour was just like his promise of $2,000 stimulus checks, forgiving student loan debt, and free healthcare for black families. It was just another lie he told on the campaign trail.