Why liberals want a high minimum wage.

They want lower class people to never have more than that.

To expand a bit, liberals desire a scenario where people with the wrong level of credentials make $15-20/hr and people with the right level of credentials make 100k or more.  Doctors can make six figures in a liberal’s world, but only if the pediatrician makes the same 300k as the surgeon.  And plumbers should never be able to make 100k, or house cleaners, or other blue collar work that doesn’t necessarily benefit from unions.

And liberals hate the idea of merit raises or raises based on experience (except in a union seniority context), so they want to lock in lower class people at a rate that will be both their ceiling and their floor (with only adjustments for inflation).  The liberals who dutifully promote “living wages” are the ones who’ll be holding the bag as jobs converge into those two massively income-unequal tiers based on acquisition of college degrees (even ultimately including what unionized labor remains).

Everyone should always just be paid “enough” for working, so no decisions have to be made about who worked harder, smarter or better to warrant additional pay.  I didn’t really get it until I noticed how liberals promoting ridiculous minimum wages never talked about how people could get raises and promotions and move up in the ranks under that new system.  And it’s because the people getting that $15/hr minimum wage aren’t supposed to ever have more, do more or be more.  And the surgeon should just want to do the extra training for the same pay as a pediatrician just because.

And of course, people with a BA should always make more than high school graduates with some hustle.

ETA, some background on why I wrote this post that I thought I had put into the comments below but didn’t: My experience locally especially, but even on the internets too, with most liberal-type people who want the high minimum wage is what I wrote. They don’t think you have to worry about raises and stuff if you just make it high enough (“living” enough) to begin with.

I live in liberalland where they nickel and dime the daycare and nannies they have but “support” “living wages” for “employees of big businesses”.

When I lived in an upscale suburb, they didn’t want to pay for when the kid(s) were napping, even though the hourly wage they might offer was high, 15+ typically (I heard this both from women looking for nanny/sitter work interviewing with me *and* the nickel-and-diming women who hired them). I offered a little less but I didn’t nickel and dime and would pay for days we didn’t need them but which were part of the schedule. It was still hard to find someone because people can’t do math.


6 thoughts on “Why liberals want a high minimum wage.

  1. I’d argue more so that you may be on to something at the top end, but I question your theory on the bottom end of the income regime. I suspect the real problem is that you have a sizable number of liberals who live in high cost of living areas, some of them are working in crummy $10/jobs or know people who do for whatever reason, and they’re simply reacting to it.

    *how people could get raises and promotions and move up in the ranks under that new system*

    What raises? My employer in a high cost of living area passes off 40 cent per year raises as “great”, meaning that after seven years, some of us have yet to even earn $14/hr. Given the high turnover of many of these low wage employers, hoping for raises that will pay $15 is realistically impossible for many in this social class.

    *And it’s because the people getting that $15/hr minimum wage aren’t supposed to ever have more, do more or be more*

    I hate bringing up HBD, but a lot of these people are never going to do better.


  2. I am a liberal, and I support the proposal to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15. In fact, I pay the young man who helps me with my yard work at least that even though he doesn’t ask for it. And no, it’s not because I don’t want him to do better than that. In fact, he’s studying construction management and I fully hope and expect him to climb the economic ladder, perhaps by savvy real estate investment. The reason I pay him more than “the going rate” is because I value his time and labor and want to motivate him to work; also, I respect him as a fellow human being and I won’t pay less than what I myself would expect (I suppose this boils down to “empathy”). You seem like a smart lady, PC, but this post is cynical rubbish.


    • The going rate for yard work even out here in the boonies where we are can cross 20-30/hr, so if you’re paying 15-20, you’re basically paying the unskilled day labor rate.

      Speaking of Seattle’s comical foray into living wage class warfare, Seattle’s walking the wage back as we speak. Last I read in the local news, it is probably going on the ballot in the fall with the hope of being voted down because it turns out nobody wants to do it today, just at some unspecified point in the future. Like maybe never.


  3. Well, a broader issue is that there isn’t necessarily room for everyone to move up. There has to be financial sustainability throughout the system, including at the bottom, because not everyone can be the doctor, not necessarily because of capability, but because only a relative few are needed. This is a large part of the reason for the current college bubble bust. It’s not simply too much debt, it’s that there aren’t enough jobs that a liberal arts degree prepares you for to absorb all the students who are getting them. A servile underclass has always, always, always been vital to the economic system of the US. The Dream is about plucky individuals moving up the ladder into a new class, never about people en masse being able to better their lot.


    • We could have a more subsidiarist system, it’s just that people don’t treat all work as good. The basic idea of dignity of any labor has disappeared and it wasn’t as completely a part of America as people who did feel that way tend to believe.

      There’s also larger economic idols nobody wants to give up, like all the makework regulatory jobs that increase costs of doing business, or the mutual addiction right and left have to cheap imported labor and cheap consumer goods from non-imported cheap labor. Five or ten dollars an hour could be a decent wage for unskilled work if all the other economic changes driving up costs of goods and services were rolled back, since it is less about the exact amount than what that amount can buy.


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