Wall Street Journal Loves Poor People So Much It Wants To Make More Of Them
So you know how President Obama called for a minimum wage of $10.10 in the State of the Union? Well, that is a great plan if you HATE THE POORS. But if you love the poor, if you have compassion in your heart and a soul full of goodness, then you know that best way to help the poor is to lower the minimum wage! Where, oh where, would such brilliant logic come from? Robert Strayton, some former executive vice president of a big ol fancy company, put forth his magnum opus in the pro-poor pages of the Wall Street Journal:
I have come to believe that the most effective step we can take to ameliorate poverty, kick-start job growth and invigorate hope in every social stratum is to experiment with a $5 minimum wage.
That’s right. Instead of making more money, we need to make sure that the poor make less money. And that will solve everything! This guy is like modern-day Monica Lewinsky, except he is blowing minds. And we just stained his blue blazer. Let’s hear him richsplain to all the poors how making less money will be good for them.
Strayton begins with pure logic:
Isn't it obvious that, with a higher wage, McDonald's $1 menu, for example, would cost $3, few would buy it, and Mickey D would have less revenue and far fewer jobs?
First off, we all know that the McDonald’s $1 Menu is the most true and accurate economic barometer ever created in the history of the multiverse. And if the minimum wage went up from the current $7.25 to $10.10, that is an increase of (yes, we did the math for you) 39%. So it makes total sense that if McDonald’s is paying workers 39% more that they would raise their dollar menu by… 200%. Wait, what? That makes no sense whatsoever. In the first paragraph, Strayer can’t even do math. Were the Dollar Menu to keep pace with the increase of the wages, it would add a whopping $0.39 to each item, not $2.
Hell, even economists looked at the effect of doubling the minimum wage, and found that it would increase the cost of a Big Mac by $0.68. And we are not even talking about doubling the minimum wage, so clearly Strayton is a giant pile of douche.
However, we are only on the first paragraph. Let’s let Strayton continue:
But a $5 minimum wage will "trickle up," directly from employer to employed—creating millions of jobs rapidly and putting them within reach of huge numbers of the poor.
You see, stupid liberal, if the job creators could just pay people less, then they would create more jobs. It just makes sense, ok! And once there is a lower minimum wage, the magic Trickle Up Fairy would ride her unicorn around all the poor neighborhoods and sprinkle shitty jobs everywhere! There is no possible way that job creators would simply start paying people less and rake in the profits, because job creators don’t care about making money -- they just want to create more jobs! That’s what American CapitalismTM is all about.
But wait! Strayton gives real examples about how this will make solve all our problems:
Intact low-income families, where three or four persons have the capacity and desire to work, but only one has a job, often at a near-minimum wage that typically generates about $15,000 a year. A $5 wage that opens full- or part-time jobs for the remaining three can change that single survival income into a $30,000-plus income stream to help produce a life of reasonable comfort and dignity.
You see, if poor people just band together and have four working adults share the same living space, they could live in comfort making $30k a year. With the average rent of a 2-bedroom apartment in the Washington, D.C. area being only $1,500 per month, that means that four working adults can pool their money and only pay slightly more than half their income to rent! In fact, according to the local ABC-7 station:
[A]n individual living in D.C. must be earning $60,240 to afford the market rate of a two-bedroom apartment, valued at $1,506 [per month]. That equates to an hourly rate of $28.96 per hour.
Maybe there are some places in the U.S. where four adults making a combined $30k per year would be able to live a life ‘of reasonable comfort and dignity,’ but they certainly do not include any major cities, places where lots of poor people live.
Strayton goes beyond richsplaining and decides that there is some mansplaining necessary as well:
Single-parent families, often headed by an educated young woman with one or two infants who supports a live-in partner on an entry-level job income. He cannot find a job and her hours are reduced: As wage-earner, mother and caregiver, she is in extreme stress and they are in crisis. A job-fostering program that helps the partner find work can bring immediate and potentially long-term relief to these folks.
There are about 80 million things wrong with that bit. First of all, if there is a man at home when the woman is working all day, why can’t he be a caregiver? Second, if he gets a $5/hour job from the Trickle Up Fairy, who is going to watch the infants while both parents ‘partners’ are working? Is childcare free in this new magical world of $5/hour jobs? Is there another magical creature that will come out of the woodwork and look after infants so both parents can work? Strayton doesn’t explain, probably because a Senior Vice President like Strayton makes around $166k per year, so he might not have to worry about that type of thing.
But maybe Strayton has a point. Maybe Americans are paying too much in a minimum wage. But maybe Strayton doesn’t go far enough. Imagine how much trickling up there would be if the United States followed the lead of Sierra Leone and had a minimum wage of $0.03 per hour! There would be so much job creation happening that we would all be RICH!
Even the Trickle Up Fairy follows DDM on Twitter (@Wonksplainer).