Patterico's Pontifications

11/25/2015

Bernie Sanders Is Wrong, Part 2: Minimum Wage Statistics

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:46 am



Bernie Sanders says the minimum wage should be $15 an hour. At FeelTheBern.org, they explain: “A family struggling to subsist on a lower income will also have greater difficulty adequately caring for its children.”

So how many people are actually older folks trying to support a family on the minimum wage? We answer that question today, in part 2 of my mini-series of statistics from The Thomas Sowell Reader — a collection of essays and passages from Sowell’s career. Keep the links to these posts handy, as you can use these statistics to defeat Sanders supporters in debate when they drag out hoary nonsense to support his socialism.*

MINIMUM WAGE

  • Only about 2% of American workers over 24 years of age earn the minimum wage.
  • 42% of those earning the minimum wage live with their parents or some other relative.
  • Only 15% of those earning minimum wage support themselves and a dependent.

The minimum wage is an issue for very few workers. Of those workers, the overwhelming majority are not supporting a family. They are trying to get an entry-level job that will allow them to build experience, and later get a better-paying job.

Deny them the entry-level job by making them not worth hiring, and you deprive them of income and experience that they can build on for the future.

Real humane there, Bernie. Your intentions are good, but your intentions are all you care about. That is the primary problem of leftism.

*The title of the posts, “Bernie Sanders Is Wrong,” is identical to the title of Tom Woods’s free e-book — but there’s enough wrongness in Bernie Sanders to go around, don’t you think? Enough that, I believe, the phrase is in the public domain.

29 Responses to “Bernie Sanders Is Wrong, Part 2: Minimum Wage Statistics”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  2. The working poor have the highest rate of unemployment. So my plan is to make the more expensive to hire! YEAH!

    Bernie Sanders (341ca0)

  3. Again, many union contracts are tied to the minimum wage. A hike in the minimum wage means big unions get raises across the board.

    luagha (2c5770)

  4. Your kids will be more knowledgeable than their peers because of you, and more successful if they pay attention.

    DRJ (15874d)

  5. Your kids will be more knowledgeable than their peers because of you, and more successful if they pay attention.

    Thanks. I think they do. My greatest hope is that they can resist the indoctrination they will face in college. I warn them about it all the time.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  6. People trying to support a family are not taking jobs at the minimum wage…because they can’t support a family at the minimum wage!! It is the same thing, in that case, as not being able to get a job.

    So they look for something else. (including things that maybe are not jobs)

    People reject jobs for all kinds of reasons, including low pay. And people do not always get a job that pays them the maximum that they could conceivably get at any job.

    For the people who can’t get anything else, a very low wage job is an option that should not be taken away.

    Bernie Sanders actually does not have strong objections to someone geting a job below the minium wage.

    He just has objections to anyone getting a wage that is BETWEEN $0.00 and hour and $15.00 an hour.

    A wage of $0.00 is called “volunteering,” or possibly an “internship”. Whle criticized sometimes, there is no proposal to make that illegal. Bernie Sanders even probably has some people working for his campaign at that wage rate. Hillary certainly does.

    Sanders also has no objection to a wage BELOW $0.00 an hour – in negative territory.

    This is called “education” or “job training”

    Except that Bernie Sanders, for one, (unlike Hillary for instance) wants somebody else to pay for the fee for that job in all cases. (or at least for that option to be available for all people when employer paying the negative wage is a government entity)

    Sammy Finkelman (4d9cfa)

  7. Whenever minimum wage or “predatory loans” (payday lenders, etc.) come up, and do-gooders insist on outlawing wages they see as too low, or loan rates they see as too high, I ask people to tell me which part of Macroeconomics for the “Compassionate” is incorrect.

    You don’t improve someone’s situation by depriving them of what they believe is their best alternative. You improve it by offering them something they believe is better than their current best alternative.

    The Monster (6819a8)

  8. As soon as everyone makes $15 an hour and prices go up accordingly, there will be (more) starving seniors our here. What happens to them? Remember inflation last year was 0. But, in the past several years the price of beef tripled.

    Jim (a9b7c7)

  9. Entry level employees have the highest rate of unemployment

    Lets double the cost of hiring them.

    joe (debac0)

  10. Its okay for the unemployed to pay big dollar to a college to help get an entry level job – albiet one , that provides zero functional jobs skills.

    But it is really really bad for the unemployed to accept actual work teaching actual and functional job skills if that job training is by a capitalist paying $7 bucks an hour.

    joe (debac0)

  11. My fav stat: graduate high school, work full-time, and get married before having babies, and your chances of living in poverty are 2%.

    It’s not the wage that is the problem: it is (usually) other life choices. We can help out the 2% without upending our entire economy, but we can’t pay for everyone to be middle class.

    (And as someone who has put on a not-small number of 60+ hour weeks in her working life, the idea that you are entitled to a comfortable living by working 1/4th of your week is, um, grrrr.)

    bridget (75b6b2)

  12. The minimum wage is an issue for very few workers. Of those workers, the overwhelming majority are not supporting a family. They are trying to get an entry-level job that will allow them to build experience, and later get a better-paying job.

    It hardly matters to the Sandersnistras. They will still manage to find some single mom working at Arby’s for minimum wage and make her the face of domestic poverty and corporate greed. To them, a low-paying job and government support is way less desirable than no job and government support. After all, the person with the low-paying job may eventually move up the ladder and no longer require government support; then what will come of the bureaucracy and who will be left to vote for Democrats?

    JVW (d60453)

  13. As soon as everyone makes $15 an hour and prices go up accordingly, there will be (more) starving seniors our here. What happens to them? Remember inflation last year was 0. But, in the past several years the price of beef tripled.

    Oh no, not to worry: when prices inevitably go up due to the wage increases we’ll just pump up the annual cost of living allowance increases for Social Security, never mind the fact that the program is on the way to insolvency. But don’t worry about that either, we’ll just lift the limits on the FICA tax and the money will keep rolling in. Because there is no problem that can’t be solved by the Federal Government taking in and redistributing more revenue.

    JVW (d60453)

  14. The Monster (6819a8) — 11/25/2015 @ 9:46 am

    You don’t improve someone’s situation by depriving them of what they believe is their best alternative. You improve it by offering them something they believe is better than their current best alternative.

    It is not necessarily their best alternative (in terms of pay)

    That’s why, in fact, raising the minimum wage doesn’t cause an immediate great rise in unemployment. It only takes very low paying jobs off the table. This is not the end. It doesn’t affect already empoloyed people too badly. They may have to spend more time looking for work when they lose a job, but they will find one.

    But for some people it is their best alternative, and this number rises with time, because what this is doing is cutting off the bottom rungs of the ladder, and some people never get a chance.

    Sammy Finkelman (4d9cfa)

  15. JVW,

    “when prices inevitably go up due to the wage increases we’ll just pump up the annual cost of living allowance increases for Social Security…”

    That’s not the way it works. They eliminate those items that affect the cost of living from their calculations and, voila!, no inflation. That’s why gas prices can double and meat prices can triple and social security doesn’t get an increase.

    Jim (a9b7c7)

  16. #12 –

    The minimum wage is an issue for very few workers. Of those workers, the overwhelming majority are not supporting a family. They are trying to get an entry-level job that will allow them to build experience, and later get a better-paying job.

    It hardly matters to the Sandersnistras. They will still manage to find some single mom working at Arby’s for minimum wage and make her the face of domestic poverty and corporate greed. To them, a low-paying job and government support is way less desirable than no job and government support. After all, the person with the low-paying job may eventually move up the ladder and no longer require government support; then what will come of the bureaucracy and who will be left to vote for Democrats?

    Remember the clinton (really the rupublicans) Ending Welfare as We Know It – It was the govt workers who complained the most – after all it was their jobs that would go away.

    joe (debac0)

  17. That’s not the way it works. They eliminate those items that affect the cost of living from their calculations and, voila!, no inflation. That’s why gas prices can double and meat prices can triple and social security doesn’t get an increase.

    Right, but I’m referring more to the inevitable political pressure to do something about the increase in prices relative to senior citizens. Once that happens, politicians of both parties will fall all over themselves to pander and demand COLA increases, which will in turn trigger the end of the maximum FICA tax. No one will have the intestinal fortitude to say, “Well, someone has to pay for all the good things that come from increasing the minimum wage.”

    JVW (d60453)

  18. …A wage of $0.00 is called “volunteering,” or possibly an “internship”. Whle criticized sometimes, there is no proposal to make that illegal. Bernie Sanders even probably has some people working for his campaign at that wage rate. Hillary certainly does.

    Sammy Finkelman (4d9cfa) — 11/25/2015 @ 9:27 am

    Should Unpaid Internships Be Illegal?
    http://www.usnews.com › Debate Club
    U.S. News & World Report
    Could the unpaid internship see its day of reckoning? A recent slew of lawsuits suggests that many for-profit companies may soon need to pay up or face legal …

    Unpaid Internships Should Be Illegal – NYTimes.com
    http://www.nytimes.com/…unpaid-internships…/unpaid-i...
    The New York Times
    Feb 7, 2012 – But what we really need is to ban unpaid internships. Outside of structured job-training programs or apprenticeships, there’s no real argument …
    —-

    “Outten & Golden LLP is committed to ensuring that interns are fairly compensated for their work. To learn more about our class action litigation on behalf of unpaid interns, please view the information in the case-specific tabs above, or contact us directly.” http://unpaidinternslawsuit.com/
    —-

    “I shared Cloud Spectator’s listing with Michael Harper, a Boston University labor law professor who has written casebooks on employment law, and he says it’s clearly illegal, given courts’ interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), the law that lays out basic protections for workers, including the requirement to pay the minimum wage.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2015/07/07/why-the-second-circuit-made-a-flawed-decision-in-upholding-unpaid-internships/

    in_awe (faf180)

  19. Why not $150/hr? Surely families would be even better off if they took home that kind of money. Whattaya say, Bern?

    Dave (in MA) (037445)

  20. A high minimum wage is going to be excellent for news for industries that develop automation.

    It’s easy to show that at the margin, and for at least short times, that a high minimum wage will cause unemployment among those previously paid less than that. It is harder to show that it will, in the long term, still have that effect. I don’t think the federal minimum wage has ever been tripled before,* and no one knows what the long-term consequences will be.

    I can think of three possibilities, but that may be my lack of imagination. In reality you will see some combination of them in effect, but I couldn’t predict the proportions.

    1) Prices of goods and services go way up, effectively negating the wage increase, but causing lots of pain along the way;

    2) Automation picks up the slack, causing massive unemployment, and either welfare or make-work programs (paying people to dig holes and fill them in, etc) are extended to those affected, at enormous expense;

    3) Instead of hourly employees, the jobs that were paid minimum wage become salaried positions exempt from minimum wage laws and things like overtime pay, leaving effective minimum-wage workers probably no worse off, but shutting out teenagers and other flaky people from any gainful employment at all;

    4) Massive disobedience of the labor laws, with tens of millions of people working off the books.

    Gabriel Hanna (74b514)

  21. *Before the Federal minimum wage was enacted, the minimum wage was zero, and after enactment it was $0.40, which some will argue is an infinite increase, but strictly speaking the increase is undefined.

    Gabriel Hanna (74b514)

  22. Well, Gabriel Hanna as a 40 year restaurant owner I’ll tell you the way it goes in that business. Minimum wage goes up and results in a stoppage in hourly wage increases for at least a year sometimes two. That means no one gets a raise to pay for the bottom getting one. Next you don’t hire new, marginal employees or trainees you normally would have. Also, when someone quits the boss is slower to replace him and when an employee screws up the boss is faster to fire him. Employees may find their hours cut back too. Others may be 1099’d into independent contractors. The unscrupulous will take some off the books and pay a reduced pay in cash. In todays world, automation may take a toll also. Kiosks and serverless restaurants are not far behind except for the high dollar dining. IOW, lots of lost jobs in an area that can ill afford it: entry level and low end workers.

    On the bright side it’s just what leftists like Hillary! and Sanders want. The more unemployed on the dole, the more democrat/socialist voters. Plus, the government gets to tell business owners what to do. I mean who knows more about business and expenses, a lawyer/politician or the guy who owns it?

    I agree with Dave (in MA). These clowns pick a number at random and then make it a cause celebre. Why not $150 an hour? Why is $15 the magic number? If I were running for President when the first leftist called for $15 an hour I’d go on TV and say: “That’s the problem with you democrats, you hate the workingman. I say $25 per hour”.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie™ (f4eb27)

  23. @Rev’m Hoagie:Well, Gabriel Hanna as a 40 year restaurant owner I’ll tell you the way it goes in that business.

    I had 4 years working in restaurants (about 20 years ago, I sure am old); what you say squares up with my experience.

    Gabriel Hanna (74b514)

  24. So how many people are actually older folks trying to support a family on the minimum wage?

    You mean thanks to Obamanomics?

    Steve57 (c38dcb)

  25. here in Rahm Emanuel’s chicagoland my mcdonald’s and my always-packed lil coffee shop near my house both closed in the last 6 months because of greedy minimum wage trash

    now they ain’t got no jobs and got to go on the welfare

    if Rahm’s loser son got a minimum wage job though maybe he wouldn’t be able to afford all that goddamn pot he smokes

    happyfeet (831175)

  26. You know Mr. Feets you and I have our differences. And I have to disagree with you slightly on the subject f the greedy wage trash. Sure they don’t know better. But why should they?

    Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber said that lack of transparency was a major part of getting Obamacare passed because “the stupidity of the American voter” would have killed the law if more people knew what was in it.

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/11/09/obamacare-architect-lack-of-transparency-was-key-because-stupidity-of-the-american-voter-would-have-killed-obamacare/#ixzz3sY1gmIgv

    This was an MIT perfesser.

    Do I need to explain where I’m going with this?

    But I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

    Steve57 (c38dcb)

  27. happy thanksgiving i hope your table is filled with a variety of tasty dishes and assorted condiments Mr. 57

    me i’m skipping this one cause of christmas is gonna be a Fancy Occasion this year

    i was reading the other day where someone was making the astounding claim that half of all failmericans are dumber than average

    this is hyperbole but i was like man i feel you brother

    happyfeet (831175)

  28. A drug deal gone bad is as common a defense among Sumdoods and Dindunuffins as “them ain’t my pants, man”.

    nk (dbc370)


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