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Bost: “minimum wage will actually hurt the middle class”

Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014

* State Rep. Mike Bost was asked during a tele-townhall meeting: “What do you intend to do for the middle class to get this weight off of us?” The GOP congressional candidate’s response

I know that this might not be a popular statement, but this is the way I feel. You cannot lift up the middle class by continuing to have over-burdensome regulations on the job creators.

As they’ve tried to push forward with a minimum wage, that minimum wage will actually hurt the middle class. We need to make sure that a sensible, we need to make sure that the middle class’ buying power remains at the best possible level and then give them the opportunity to move up from the middle class to whatever class, whatever level that they want to work.

But that can only be done when we start removing government regulations that destroy job growth in this state or in this nation and stop people from being the entrepreneurs that they are naturally and seeking the American dream, whether they want to start their own business or expand their business to provide more jobs for people…

Overburdensomed government has kept us pinned down and it is hurting the middle class.

Full audio is here.

* The Southern Illinoisan followed up after a handful of people protested

[Bost] said minimum wage was created to be a supplemental income for people working toward better jobs through job training and other programs.

Bost said Illinois suffers with its higher minimum wage of $8.25 per hour compared to the federal level of $7.25 per hour. Jobs around the Illinois borders with neighboring states are lost because of the state’s higher minimum wage level, he said.

He said when the minimum wage level is raised, it hurts middle-class wage earners because the cost of living goes up.

“The problem is the middle income wage earners are punished terribly when minimum wage is raised. Your buying power is reduced,” Bost said.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


79 Comments
  1. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:40 pm:

    Somewhere in that district is a 50 year old cashier at a Casey’s General Store scratching her head and wondering why a guy running for Congress thinks she’s overpaid.


  2. - Dee Lay - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    47th - You mean like the one at 2136 Walnut Street in Murphysboro? Wonder how often Rep. Bost talks with folks at Casey’s about what will help them as they work two part-time jobs to help make ends meet.


  3. - SamSandwich - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    I hate to say it, but most economists will agree with Mr. Bost. If a worker was worth more than what they are being paid, that worker would be working where his skills could be put to better use, and making more money for it.


  4. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    It is an article of faith among most Republicans and Bost delivers the catechism with great clarity. The fact that economists say it isn’t so doesn’t shake their faith, anymore than biologists can shake their faith in creationism or earth scientists can shake their faith in global non-warming. Might as well argue with the wall.


  5. - Concerned Observer - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:44 pm:

    I like Mike. I used to think the rightward move he’s made in the past 4-5 years was strictly politics and positioning. Perhaps not.


  6. - Happy Hank - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:46 pm:

    Looks like someone got a bad case of the Mike Frerichs.


  7. - Gooner - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:49 pm:

    Somebody ought to tell Bost that those states with lower wages and higher employment also have more people on food stamps.

    Apparently Bost would prefer to have more Illinois residents on food stamps. While that may be his view, I don’t see it as going over well in November.


  8. - Apocolypse Now - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:50 pm:

    Sometimes the truth hurts.


  9. - Jimbo - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:52 pm:

    Sam, economists don’t agree on anything, but most don’t agree with Bost here. Supply and demand only works for employment when you have full employment. The fact that there are less jobs than people means someone will always be willing to work for less rather than not have a job. Businesses that don’t pay a living wage are subsidized by government handouts. My tax dollars shouldn’t pad Walmart’s bottom line. If you’re employee works full time and can’t afford to feed himself, you aren’t paying what they’re worth. It costs a certain amount to keep a person alive and well, that amount is what their full time work is worth.


  10. - PoolGuy - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:53 pm:

    Is Bost saying in order to protect middle income wage earners we should pay minimum wage earners less so they are even poorer than they are now?

    then they go on food stamps/LINK, medicaid other gov’t assistance, but those costs don’t trickle down to middle income wage earners?

    you pay more for your Casey’s pizza or you pay higher taxes to provide for the poor?


  11. - Apocolypse Now - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:56 pm:

    I wonder, how these politicians, many who have never worked or been responsible for meeting a budget in the private sector, think they are actually qualified enough to set wages for businesses in the private sector. they don’t have a clue what it takes to actually operate a successful business in the private sector.


  12. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:57 pm:

    “Jobs around the Illinois borders with neighboring states are lost because of the state’s higher minimum wage level, he said.”

    Jobs grew at a faster rate in the 13 states that raised their minimum wages this year compared with those that didn’t.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/07/19/332879409/states-that-raised-minimum-wage-see-faster-job-growth-report-says


  13. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:57 pm:

    SamSandwich-

    How much do you think economists know about being a minimum wage retail clerk?


  14. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:59 pm:

    Who can argue with a guy sporting a degree in firefighting from U of I when he talks macroeconomics?


  15. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:01 pm:

    Darn that Lincoln character for abolishing that mechanism for really super cheap labor.


  16. - OldSmoky2 - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:03 pm:

    Just another example of a politician not letting the facts get in the way of repeating a myth because it just sounds good to him. The raging socialist economists at Goldman Sachs recently noted that job growth has been higher this year in the 13 states that raised their minimum wage Jan. 1 than in the states that didn’t. Other economists have repeatedly found that far more people benefit from minimum wage increases than don’t. But, hey, it’s a lot easier to look out at the sea and convince yourself that the world is flat, right?


  17. - Deep South - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:04 pm:

    I’m sure that in everyone of his campaigns, Mike Bost promised to bring more jobs to his district. So where are they, Mike? You know, the jobs that pay more than minimum wage…those solid middle class jobs. Well, where ever they are, they’re not in the 115th District. Bost should be held accountable for not keeping his promises of the past and now, for his minimum wage, walking-in-step-with-the-Tea-Party, blather. He can’t be counted on the bring in good jobs, yet he thinks the folks at Casey’s General Store make too much money? Who’s gonna vote for this sap?


  18. - Illiana - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:04 pm:

    SamSandwich,

    The real world doesn’t reflect your assessment about a worker’s worth. The reality is that productivity has outpaced compensation gains & created enormous gap separating the value employees add to the economy add to the economy, especially among those at the bottom, & the market rate for their labor.


  19. - Kerfuffle - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:06 pm:

    So if helping the less fortunate = hurting the middle class then hurting the less fortunate (i.e. reducing the minimum wage) = helping the middle class. No class warfare here!


  20. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:07 pm:

    Blah, blah, blah, the players change but the song remains the same — the same silly tune since the minimum wage was enacted in 1938 (along with a 44-hour work week and stricter child labor laws — also “burdensome regulations to job creators” to some at the time).

    Somehow or another, these pseudo-economists never quite explain the boom times in the decades following those laws or the greatest expansion of the middle class in the history of the world.

    It’s not a matter of science or history to them, it’s an article of faith, and, as such, by definition, cannot be challenged.


  21. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:07 pm:

    How can you buy anything, if you don’t have money? Also when prices raise through inflation, no matter how small, doesn’t that mean that your buying power will decrease? Am I missing something? Here is a concept, have the minimum wage increase each year by the same amount inflation raises. At least this way, people have a chance at maintaining.


  22. - Kizzoboy - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    SamSandwich is correct. And PublicServant - a macro focus wouldn’t help here because this is a micro problem. Price floors create surplus. Surplus supply of labor creates more unemployment. (Worker is supplier, consumer is employing businesses).

    Too bad poly sci majors and lawyers (who have no Econ education) run Springfield…. All min wage does it pay fewer people more money. Expands nothing.


  23. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    I guess it’s good for the middle class to keep paying out for TANF, SNAP and Medicaid for minimum wage workers.

    See how the economics of faith works?


  24. - Wally - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:17 pm:

    What should the minimum wage be in the Chicago area and what should the minimum wage be downstate?


  25. - Bill Smith - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:21 pm:

    Platitudes are all Bost offers, as do most of his Republican colleagues, local, state, and national. What a sorry way to improve governance.


  26. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:22 pm:

    –All min wage does it pay fewer people more money. Expands nothing.–

    Yeah, no economic expansion since 1938. The economist has spoken.


  27. - liandro - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:28 pm:

    - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:40 pm:

    “Somewhere in that district is a 50 year old cashier at a Casey’s General Store scratching her head and wondering why a guy running for Congress thinks she’s overpaid.”

    Comments like this make legitimate policy discussion very hard. That’s not at all what he said.

    As I’ve said many times before, raising the minimum wage does have many drawbacks, and one of them is that veteran employees and lower management get hurt. They make a couple tiers over minimum, but are part of the same payroll percentage as those entry level individuals.

    When minimum wage goes up, a business has to fight to keep their margin the same. That can include any combination of: higher workloads for the same pay, fewer raises away from minimum, fewer promotions, slower growth, price increases, layoffs/service cuts.

    It depends on the local economy and business’ margin, but in small towns it can be a big hit to some companies. Especially if the local economy won’t absorb price increases as easily as the Chicago and burb economy that many of these legislators hail from. Minimum spends much further in Dixon, IL than it does in Chicago or the burbs.

    So, 47th, nobody is saying the Casey’s clerk is overpaid. We’re saying we want a growing economy where there are jobs she can switch to. What we don’t want is a stifled economy where she gets trapped at a minimum wage job. Who cares if minimum is $8.25 or $10? Wouldn’t she rather be making $12/hr? Or $15/hr? Or $23/hr?

    Throwing her a buck or two isn’t what she really needs, no matter how good the political optics look for Quinn or anyone else.


  28. - ZC - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:29 pm:

    Setting aside the minimum wage, this part caught my eye:

    >> But that can only be done when we start removing government regulations that destroy job growth in this state or in this nation and stop people from being the entrepreneurs that they are naturally and seeking the American dream, whether they want to start their own business …

    You know, like that new government regulation that allows Americans to not have to worry about losing their health insurance, and suffering a catastrophic loss to themselves and to their families, if they have a great idea and want to quit their current job and risk their own startup.

    The one called Obamacare. We’ve got to get rid of that one. If people don’t feel locked into their current jobs, how will they feel free to start a new one?


  29. - liandro - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:35 pm:

    @Wordslinger:

    So people will suddenly be off subsidies at $10/hr? Further, you claim that inflation will not happen whatsoever, that no prices whatsoever will rise, and that the new $10/rate (or whatever) will not thus have weakened spending power? Are you also claiming that there will be no negative growth affects whatsoever–not a single lost opportunity for a minimum wage employee to climb up the payscale?

    I started at minimum, and moved jobs whenever a better opportunity came along. I never really cared what minimum was when I was a kid, because I just figured I’d work my butt off and get raises. Anywhere that wouldn’t give me a raise would lose me to an employer that paid higher. I wish our economy was that strong still–that’s the best cure for low wages. Opportunity.


  30. - A guy... - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:36 pm:

    If you would have “let his people go” when he asked you to, he might be different today.


  31. - Kevin Highland - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:38 pm:

    My question on the minimum wage topic is how do you get a living wage for the minimum wage workers, when raising the minimum wage is going to either increase the cost of the products they touch or reduce the number of staff hired to do the job thus lowering the level of service (i.e. how fast I get my hamburger at lunch time).

    I’m unsure what the solution to this problem is but it needs to be addressed.


  32. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:43 pm:

    === Who cares if minimum is $8.25 or $10? Wouldn’t she rather be making $12/hr? Or $15/hr? Or $23/hr? ===

    If she was a hedge fund manager she could make millions. The real world problem is that people don’t have access to all those wonderful jobs. You can keep babbling that increasing the minimum wage will stifle job creation, but where has this bonanza of jobs been under the current minimum wage.


  33. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 4:51 pm:

    Liandro,

    This was right at the top, from the Southern Illinoisan:

    “Bost said Illinois suffers with its higher minimum wage of $8.25 per hour compared to the federal level of $7.25 per hour.”

    So yeah, he didn’t say she was overpaid per se, he just said Illinois is suffering because she makes more in Brookport than her counterpart at the Casey’s in Paducah. To me that’s the same thing.

    And legimate policy discussions are difficult because rigid ideology doesn’t let us process contradictory facts. Rather than take an economics lesson from an anonymous blog commenter, I’ll stick with my own sources thankyouverymuch.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2014/05/minimum-wage?zid=309&ah=80dcf288b8561b012f603b9fd9577f0e


  34. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 5:24 pm:

    @kizzoboy - if you don’t think raising the minimum wage is a macro issue, you need a few more economics classes. On a macro level raising the minimum wage will create increased demand at the lower end of the economic spectrum where every additional dollar earned is spent. That increased demand, that extra money being spent, will cause other businesses to expand, hiring new employees, to meet that demand increase for their products and services. In addition, an increase in the minimum wage provides upward pressure at the macro level for wage levels near it, also increasing demand at the macro level. It does have negative affects, and at the fringes some jobs will be lost, but overall, as CBO has stated, the effects at the macro level will be positive. I’d also state that your micro analysis that individual businesses will just lay off workers to maintain their margins is laughable on its face. If that contention were true, businesses would have already reduced staffing regardless of the wage level.

    Raising the minimum wage is a tool that should be employed to help get us out of this demand-starved economic slump we are currently in. It’s effects are a net positive for the economy, not to mention the obvious moral benefits associated with any wage that allows a person with a job to be able live without a government handout.


  35. - econ prof - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 5:32 pm:

    His comments are accurate, but they’re not popular with fools who don’t understand economics (most of the voting public). So, politicos, who prey on emotion will now twist his words and try to make low information voters think that Mike Bost hates poor people and wants to depress their wages.


  36. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 5:52 pm:

    Neither the fireman’s or yours are accurate, Econ prof. Read what a Nobel prize winning economist has to say on the issue and fools that employ discredited ideas against raising the minimum wage.:

    www.nytimes.com/2013/12/02/opinion/krugman-better-pay-now.html


  37. - U of I - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 6:06 pm:

    - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:59 pm:

    Who can argue with a guy sporting a degree in firefighting from U of I when he talks macroeconomics?

    I think you are a little misinformed. I think he got a Fire Fighter Certificate a few weeks training, not a degree. He also has experience as a gravel truck driver at his dads business.


  38. - walker - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 6:06 pm:

    The problem with most politicians, is that they assume wrongly they understand real world economics, and talk like Bost. Our actual history has shown his economic statements to be mostly false, over and over again, no matter what theory he might have heard somewhere.


  39. - RonOglesby - Now in TX - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 6:09 pm:

    I always wondered why if min wage of 10 or 12 dollars is good… then why not 20?

    The reality is that businesses need to make a specific %. You raise the price of labor arbitrarily and you raise the price of the product or service that labor is supplying. As for the comment about “since 1938… blah blah blah”

    Raising the minimum wage for decades has brought them closer to… what? If that wage floor is raised, those with other skills and abilities above the bottom employees demand more. And thus within a short time cycle they are back to being the same % away from the other earners anyway.

    What has “improved” the quality of life at bottom end of those on the poverty scale has been more handouts. Most “poor” in the US have TVs, cable, air conditioning and even gameboxes (i forget the recent study now that showed this).

    Anyway. back to the original question.. is 10 is good, lets go $20 or $25. make them really happy!!! But then again if you realize what happens if Min wage was raised to this level and admit it, then you really are just arguing about the amount of impact to the economy or business.


  40. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 6:17 pm:

    I stand corrected, U of I. I see we’re talking about a silver spoon, Jason Plummer inheritor here. The only difference being that his dad, unlike Plummer’s, had the common sense not to make him management.


  41. - liandro - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 6:39 pm:

    “Nobel prize winning economist”

    I always wait for someone to pull out Krugman and his Nobel prize, as if it is some discussion ending silver bullet and there aren’t plenty of prize winning economists who disagree with him. He is obviously incredibly intelligent and well-versed. However, he is also incredibly liberal/partisan and it makes him biased. He also suffers from a massive case of ivory tower syndrome, which is the main reason I often skip to others when I want a left-leaning economic perspective.

    Anyway, the article you linked was just him arguing for fairness. He may be right that “a minimum-wage increase would help low-paid workers, with few adverse side effects.” This particular post of his, though, skips over completely what those adverse side effects are, and why he dismisses them. There is virtually no real policy discussion–just him posting his opinion that we try for it.

    If you want to use a liberal economist to make your argument, at least post something in which he actually lays out his arguments in detail.

    We small business owners are the ones who get hit due to his “absence of controlled experiments”…we ARE the experiments. It is our businesses and our employees that get hurt when he is wrong. My experience with hikes can be summarized as: the least trained employees get raises, while the climbers and the veterans take a hit until inflation catches up. Eventually the pay scale normalizes again.


  42. - lovecraft - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 6:47 pm:

    Earth to Bost–The minimum wage isn’t hurting the middle class. It’s gas at $3-$4 per gallon. It’s insurance companies and medical providers gouging people who need reasonably priced health care. And these things are making minimum wage workers’ lives a true misery. Conservatism has becomejust another word for selfish and self serving.


  43. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 6:54 pm:

    –I always wondered why if min wage of 10 or 12 dollars is good… then why not 20?–

    Sure you have.

    It’s like if the right to bear arms includes carrying a handgun in public, why not a machine gun?

    Strawmen are easy to make and knock down.

    But if you want to make an argument against any minimum wage, please give us an assessment of the damages it has caused over the last 76 years.


  44. - DuPage Dave - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 7:25 pm:

    Let’s analyze the statement in non-economic terms.

    “Middle Class” is code for ??

    “Minimum Wage Earners” is code for ??


  45. - forwhatitsworth - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 7:35 pm:

    The disconnect between theory and practice has always amazed me!


  46. - RetiredStateEmployee - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 8:02 pm:

    In 1964 the minimum wage was $1.25. If you paid the same today in 1964 quarters, the melt value would be $18.90. Seems like the rich get richer at the expense of everyone else …


  47. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 8:19 pm:

    ===”absence of controlled experiments”…we ARE the experiments.===

    Britain first implemented a national minimum wage in 1999. How’s that for an experiment? Just because you have you mind made up does not mean you are right.

    http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/CP217.pdf


  48. - Responsa - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 8:29 pm:

    This is how the middle class gets hurt when companies have to hike the minimum wage that they pay employees–they also have to raise their prices for the goods they sell and the services they offer to the public. So the middle class/working class with no uptick in their own salary suddenly pays more for their fast food burgers, their car washes cost more, and keeping their kids at the day care center so they can work also goes up. The local family owned clothing store they prefer to patronize closes because it can no longer afford the number of help necessary to keep customers happy and the merchandise safe. This is the most basic of economics and I am astounded how very few here seem to get it. Or if they get it, their partisanship won’t let them admit it.


  49. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 8:40 pm:

    I believe it is a waste of time debating this. The minimum wage is here to stay and debating how much it should be is like debating how much rain should fall each year.

    It is a no brainer for Democrats to want more, and it isn’t worth arguing over. No Republican will come out ahead discussing it intelligently. No Democrat dare challenge it.

    Facts be damned, it is a stupid waste of time debating it. Bost should just tell everyone that there is no way he can come out ahead discussing it rationally, so he won’t try.


  50. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 8:43 pm:

    Leandro, you do realize that in that link Krugman states that inflation-adjusted wages of non-supervisory retail trade workers have decreased by 30% since 1973. That’s a fact that he links to for corroboration. In that same article he states that minimum wage increases have little to no adverse effect on employment while significantly increasing worker earnings and supports that with a link to a study. If you’d like to take issue with either of those points, I’m all ears. Or you could just conveniently continue to ignore both facts and consensus in the minimum wage arena, and go with economists that conveniently for you, support your paying you workers a minimum wage that puts many of them on various forms of public support while you eek out your profit margin. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge you your profits. A man has to make a living…unless they’re one of your minimal wage employees that is. Don’t worry, we’ll keep em healthy for you using food stamps and various other forms of public support.


  51. - Emily Booth - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 8:45 pm:

    Taxpayers subsidize Medicaid and food stamps for Wal-Mart, McDonald’s (and other min wage) jobs. The costs of being an employer should be transferred back to them.


  52. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 8:50 pm:

    Bost is a pretty good guy. He’s campaigning in his district, not debating on the campus of UofC. Many of his constituents don’t read Krugman very often.


  53. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 9:20 pm:

    ===Facts be damned, it is a stupid waste of time debating it.===

    Well don’t I feel stupid then. And all this time I’ve been using this blog wrong. VanillaMan hath spoken. The debate is endeth.


  54. - RonOglesby - Now in TX - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 9:49 pm:

    @word
    you say its a strawman but fail to knock it down do you not? this is not a handgun vs a machine gun. This is a specific dollar amount and if 12 is good, why is 20 or 25 not viable. If you cant explain that (and the relationship to raising the price of labor) then you are just arguing HOW MUCH damage.

    so no.. not a strawman. If 12 is OK why is 20 not? and if 20 damages something THEN it is simply the amount of damage being done. Please explain how that is not so.


  55. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 9:57 pm:

    ===Please explain how that is not so.===

    Because you are the only one proposing a $20 minimum wage, which as you know, is outrageously higher than anyone has suggested, which, ergo, makes it by definition, a straw man argument. Which you’ve also now knocked down quite easily, as most straw men aren’t able to withstand much pressure and often simply collapse under their own weight.

    Why not $1 million per hour?


  56. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 10:48 pm:

    = “What do you intend to do for the middle class to get this weight off of us?”=

    …And the response is to discuss the minimum wage as if it’s the only factor in getting “this weight off of us.” (Oh look…a kitty!)

    I’m sure that if asked about off-shoring and visas, the standard response would be to discuss manufacturing–which generally speaking, left long ago–and NOT the middle classes loss of high-paying Information Technology jobs thanks to off-shoring and trading campaign dollars for visas. Where former workers–BTW, are being “retrained” by the government to take lower-paying jobs in new fields (like “hospitality” and “healthcare” which translate into degrees to work as a waiter or housekeeper and clean up bedpans).

    And regulation, of course, is only discussed within the context of what it takes to start-up and report as a small business. Not the regs imposed on corporations, who learned long ago that if the regs are too tough here, then go overseas (like e.g., in situations of clinical trials).

    Sure. Feel free to pick up your own meals in the kitchen, make your own beds, and clean up your own bedpans…unless, of course, you’re willing to trust the new workforce that’s on it’s way to take care of you. Just like the folks who “took care of” your IT systems, resulting in bigger losses than anyone ever imagined when they began lusting over the beans they were counting.


  57. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 10:58 pm:

    No, Ron, you set up a scenario that no one is suggesting and so did I. Both Strawmen.

    Anyone of the economic experts can chime in anytime as to the damage the minimum wage has done to the American economy over the last 76 years.

    Must be some facts, right VMan?


  58. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 3:19 am:

    And for some Republicans, it’s nice to see that they’re at least able to grasp basic business concepts such as profit/loss.

    American know-how and ingenuity at its finest. Absolutely amazing what gets passed off as talent nowadays.

    Obviously gone are the merit-based environments within which our Nation once thrived.


  59. - PublicServant - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 5:25 am:

    ===Many of his constituents don’t read Krugman very often.=== Undoubtedly true Steve. If they did, most likely Bost wouldn’t be their representative. If your saying that he represents his constituent’s
    thinking on minimum wage, I understand that. When you put something out in the public square expect to be challenged especially when its tripe you’re spewing, representative or not.


  60. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 6:55 am:

    DuPage Dave hit the nail on the head.

    Bost is arguing that in order to protect the “Middle Class,” you need to have a permanent supply of “Lower Class” workers who are paid low wages so that the “Middle Class” dollars go further.

    Now, I am no “Econ prof”, but Bost does have a point.

    One way to grow the Middle Class is to make the poor even poorer…if only we could pay them less, Middle Class wages will increase in buying power.

    In Bost’s world, I suppose it would be ideal if we had a large labor supply that we didn’t have to pay at all.

    You see Vanillaman, I am happy to debate Mike Bost on the issue. And I agree with Schnorf, this argument might play well with some of his constituents, but not many once you get going.


  61. - Bill White - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 7:04 am:

    === Bost is arguing that in order to protect the “Middle Class,” you need to have a permanent supply of “Lower Class” workers who are paid low wages so that the “Middle Class” dollars go further. ===

    I have been reading up on the ante-bellum South recently (pre-Civil War) - - In the 1840s and 1850s, Southern leaders were quite explicit about slavery being essential to maintain the “southern way of life”


  62. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 7:18 am:

    Well said YDD. Keeping the narrative on the poor, distracts the folks from looking at how their income is being suppressed by the rich.


  63. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 7:44 am:

    Every time the minimum wage is proposed to be increased - it is an acknowledgment that the economic policies pursued by the leaders in our governments have failed us.

    Those who propose a minimum wage raise are only asking for more dirt to cover the bodies of those people their policies have financially ruined.

    They wouldn’t be doing it if their economic policies kept inflation in control. They wouldn’t be doing it if their economic and job policies kept businesses thriving. They wouldn’t be doing it if their social programming to help teens find work - worked. They wouldn’t be proposing a minimum wage raise if their tax policies didn’t keep businesses from expanding. They wouldn’t be asking for a minimum wage increase if their new health care boondoggle kept costs down for everyone.

    But their policies have failed so far and so badly, they have to resort to a band aid solution. Raise the minimum wage. They claim they are doing it for the poor. But that’s not true. They claim they are doing it for the working moms in entry level jobs. But that’s not true. They claim they are doing it because they just want to help the little guy. Nonsense.

    They are asking for a minimum wage increase because their policies effecting our working lives has gone wrong. They want to bury the evidence of their own maladministration and economic foolishness.

    So. Let them propose raising the minimum wage. They owe everyone some help for the damage they have done!


  64. - PublicServant - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 8:06 am:

    OK. I’m counting that as a vote for raising the minimum wage from VMan, but my ears hurt now. Off to the doc now for a hearing test…


  65. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 8:06 am:

    Who is this “they” you’re talking about? You might be the most ego-centric, self-righteous, criminally mis-informed
    Luddite ever to comment on a blog. You add nothing but vitriol to the conversation.


  66. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 8:14 am:

    VMan, once again you prove that you live in an alternative universe.

    Inflation is “out of control?” Since when? 1.5% last year, 2.1% annualized rate this year.

    Business is bad? Checked the stock market lately? Corporate profits?

    Here’s a nifty lede from April:

    –CORPORATE profits are at their highest level in at least 85 years. Employee compensation is at the lowest level in 65 years.–

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/05/business/economy/corporate-profits-grow-ever-larger-as-slice-of-economy-as-wages-slide.html?_r=0

    http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/historical-inflation-rates/


  67. - liandro - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 8:54 am:

    @wordslinger: I made a comment responding to how a hike can hurt people, but Rich appears to have blocked it. To summarize: it limits opportunities to move up. That’s my main beef against it, actually.


  68. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 9:09 am:

    - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    “It is an article of faith among most Republicans and Bost delivers the catechism with great clarity. The fact that economists say it isn’t so doesn’t shake their faith, anymore than biologists can shake their faith in creationism or earth scientists can shake their faith in global non-warming. Might as well argue with the wall.”

    Your blind faith in global warming has nothing to do with this debate. You are the wall in that because you blindly believe in it. Many of us have looked at the issue and do not believe in man made global warming.


  69. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 9:22 am:

    This isn’t Global Warming.

    The experts disagree. There are several Nobel prize winners, and hundreds of economists, on both sides of the minimum wage debate.

    However, lowering the minimum wage seems to be popular among republicans seeking office. I can’t imagine this is a wise electoral strategy.

    “I will advocate moving the Illinois minimum wage back to the national minimum wage. I think we’ve got to be competitive here in Illinois.” - Bruce Rauner.
    http://altondailynews.com/news/details.cfm?id=108065#.U9EVvMtOXcu


  70. - Tommydanger - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 9:30 am:

    Wow VMan! Thank God there are 30 other flavors at Baskin & Robbins


  71. - Now What? - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 9:30 am:

    Prove it…


  72. - Jimmy - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 9:31 am:

    Responsa “This is how the middle class gets hurt when companies have to hike the minimum wage that they pay employees–they also have to raise their prices for the goods they sell and the services they offer to the public. So the middle class/working class with no uptick in their own salary suddenly pays more for their fast food burgers, their car washes cost more, and keeping their kids at the day care center so they can work also goes up. The local family owned clothing store they prefer to patronize closes because it can no longer afford the number of help necessary to keep customers happy and the merchandise safe. This is the most basic of economics and I am astounded how very few here seem to get it.”

    Why not advocate for higher wages for the middle class so this doesn’t happen? Pay cuts for cops and teachers so property taxes go down. Or, god forbid, less CEO and executive compensation so prices go down? It seems like under your theory you assume stagnant wages for everyone in the “middle class” and so any pay raise (minimum wage right up to the CEO) harms the middle class purchasing power.


  73. - Tommydanger - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 9:34 am:

    @Liandro:”it limits opportunities to move up.”

    Disagree. I started at a minimum wage job at McDonald’s and know several at my store that did the same. Some of them were subsequently promoted to store managers and at least two of them had long careers at corporate HQ.


  74. - Jimmy - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 9:34 am:

    VMan “Every time the minimum wage is proposed to be increased - it is an acknowledgment that the economic policies pursued by the leaders in our governments have failed us.”

    I think it’s more of an acknowledgement that laissez-faire capitalism has failed us.


  75. - Ahoy! - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 9:34 am:

    It won’t hurt the middle class that much. Prices might rise, but they won’t rise more than the market can absorb. The two main people who will be hurt are small independent businesses and people with very low skills since they will be the first to be let go due to rising employment costs. Just as prices will not rise more than the market can bare, overall wages of a company can not rise more than the business can bare or the company goes out of business.


  76. - ChrisB - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 9:39 am:

    – steve schnorf - …He’s campaigning in his district, not debating on the campus of UofC. Many of his constituents don’t read Krugman very often. —

    I know plenty of UofC economists that would tell you Krugman is off his rocker. Hell, read The Economist once in a while; they rip him to shreds all the time.

    To the post, Bost is probably correct, but I doubt he knows why. There are a ton of assumptions in his statement, and it really depends on whose model he’s using. But talk about an unforced error. There are dozens of other things to talk about to help the middle class. Minimum Wage Increase is pretty low on that totem pole.


  77. - Colossus - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 9:40 am:

    Point of order, gentlemen:

    It isn’t a strawman argument, it’s a slippery slope argument. Strawman misrepresents a position to be intentionally easy to refute, slippery slope indicates that because a further point on the scale is ridiculous that any movement on the scale is ridiculous.

    Please, carry on.


  78. - liandro - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 9:44 am:

    - Tommydanger - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 9:34 am:

    @Liandro:”it limits opportunities to move up.”

    “Disagree. I started at a minimum wage job at McDonald’s and know several at my store that did the same. Some of them were subsequently promoted to store managers and at least two of them had long careers at corporate HQ.”

    Simple fact: every minimum wage employee shares the same labor percentage with everyone above them. When the newest, least-trained employees make more, there is less money to go around. For any small to mid-size company, some of the solutions will include: slower raises, less growth (fewer promotions), capping pay at a lower level for veteran employees, etc. The argument isn’t whether this happens; it does. The argument is at what price point per hour the net affect is negative, and whether it is fair to give raises to newbies at the cost of veteran employees trying to get a living wage.

    There will always be opportunities, as you pointed out. My point is that they get squeezed a bit, not that they disappear.


  79. - DuPage Expat - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    Rich - Am I wrong or did you earlier this year say you were going to note when things you posted were generated from oppo? The audio is clearly DCCC oppo…


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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