In the Washington Times:
Inside the great hall Donald Trump, who boasts of having a net worth as high as many small nations, is asked by debate moderator Maria Bartaloma of Fox Business News whether he favors raising the minimum wage. Of course the only sane answer to that is no. The government shouldn’t price low-skilled workers out of the job market. And Ben Carson was right that black teens are the frontline victims of the minimum wage. This is economics 101.
Mr. Trump responded by saying “unfortunately no.” If only he had stopped there and moved on to some other subject. Because his reasoning couldn’t have been worse. He told working class Americans “wages are too high” and that’s why we “can’t compete.”
Does Mr. Trump even fathom how hopelessly out-of-touch and callous this makes him sound? A billionaire who flies in a helicopter or a lear jet to work says wages for the little people who drive Mazdas are too high. Was he intentionally trying to chase middle-class blue collar voters into Mother Hillary’s waiting arms?
Next up was the other Republican front-runner Ben Carson who only got it half right. He sounded like Cruella De Vil when he opined that we need “lower wages” to bring down unemployment. Ugh. That may be technically true in the short term. But these two Republican front-runners completely flubbed this question and it’s one that isn’t going away. They missed the opportunity to bash President Obama’s misery-inducing policies.
What they should have said is that wages are too low in America, not too high. Labor Department data tells us about half of Americans haven’t had a pay raise that keeps pace with inflation in eight years. There are many reasons for that abysmal record, but not the least of them are Barack Obama’s tax, regulatory, borrowing, health care and monetary policies. They have flattened the middle class and these workers deserve a raise.
The problem here for the middle class isn’t that the minimum wage is too low. For the umpteenth time, only about 4 or 5 percent of workers are paid minimum wage and most for six months of less. Most earning the minimum are below the age of 30 and work for restaurants or in retail. For 19 of 20 workers the minimum wage is irrelevant.
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