Rick Santorum says Republicans should support raising the minimum wage

Former senator and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said Monday that the Republican opposition to the minimum wage and increases thereof “makes no sense.”

His reasoning: It’s hypocritical to say “we’re for the blue collar guy but we’re against any minimum wage hike ever.”

“I don’t understand,” Santorum said on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd.” “This is one I don’t get. If the Republicans want to go out and say, ‘We’re against the minimum wage,’ then go out and make the argument to the American public and 80-some percent of the American public believes we should have the minimum wage. But they’re making arguments about why we shouldn’t have any increase.”

Regardless of popular support, being pro-minimum wage is actually anti-worker from an economic standpoint.

The minimum wage is essentially a government mandate designed to ensure that “disadvantaged” workers are paid a just wage. Unilaterally raising the cost of hiring or keeping the worker, however, has negative consequences for the economy and potentially the worker.

When considered in terms of supply and demand, the supply of willing and available workers will increase as the demand of employers drops due to mandated costs. Employers will then seek to use economies of scale or alternatives, such as incorporating technology into their businesses to replace a human worker.

Jordan Weissman of Slate — not a fiscally conservative site — warned that raising the minimum wage to $15 in Seattle could have disastrous results for precisely that reason. He wrote:

Any plan that makes hiring a worker more expensive than in France should be cause for concern. We know that businesses in high-wage countries are especially eager to replace workers with software. Fast-food restaurants in Europe, for instance, have been some of the earliest adopters of labor saving technologies like digital kiosks where customers can order. Those innovations are already beginning to make headway in the United States. But by passing a $15 minimum, Seattle would risk speeding the process up within its city limits.

He proceeded to quote Arindrajit Dube, University of Massachusetts at Amherst economist who has been a vocal supporter of the idea that minimum wage increases don’t kill jobs.

“Would I be concerned about possible job losses if there were a $15 minimum wage in the restaurant industry, yes, I’d be concerned,” Dube told the New York Times. “There are concerns that it might lead to the substitution of automation for workers.”

In an age of technology, why employ more humans for more money for moderate output when a robot can fill the same role just as efficiently — if not better —  and for less cost in the long run?

Despite this reality, Santorum remains confident in the minimum wage, pointing out that it’s been raised 20 times since it came into existence back in 1938. Certainly, $10.10 is not Seattle’s $15, but it does promote government restrictions on businesses, particularly the small-town, blue collar kind.

“According to the numbers I’ve seen, the minimum wage covers about 2 percent of all workers. Historically, it’s been 7 to 9 percent,” Santorum told Todd.

“[W]hat I’ve said — and I argued this when I was in Congress — we should try to keep it in the 7 percent range … Whatever gets you to 7 percent. Then, if it falls back, you have to look at the situation. If we’re in an economic crisis, you may not want to raise it. If things are better, you probably do want to raise it.”

Santorum has voted six times to increase the minimum wage.

(H/T HuffPo)

 


Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *