No minimum wage increase, say the Republicans
The Republican debate last night had no surprises. Almost all the candidates again adopt supply side economic theory, otherwise known as Reaganomics, long discredited. Under Reagan, wages stopped growing, inequality started to rise sharply, and the federal deficit as a proportion of GDP did not fall below 3 percent. The most disappointing claims by almost all the candidates was that sharp tax cuts will lead to rapid economic growth, apparently enough to raise more tax revenues. The moderators of course did not challenge the idea. They probably believe it themselves.
But what caught my attention was that all the candidates said they opposed a minimum wage increase. The old saw is that it will lead to lost jobs. An army of economists have now looked at this issue and find that any job loss would be trivial. Not one of the candidates raised this. Nor did the moderators. There is even a strong possibility there will be job gains because demand will be increased.
I am most curious about why the candidates claim low wages will create jobs. We already have low wages but youth unemployment is at tragic levels. It is above 12 percent in general, while the general unemployment rate in the country is 5 percent. The unemployment rate for those 16 to 24 is more than 14 percent.
Why aren’t low wags working to create jobs, then? No moderator dared ask the question. Ben Carson talked as if he had a monopoly on the obvious. The obvious is that about half of all Americans working full time earn poverty wages or less.