Politics being a principal source of entertainment for people of my age, I tuned in to the Republic debates last night. There were several quite stellar performances: Christie, Rubio, Fiorina all scored points.
I was, of course, disappointed that so little attention was given to the Constitution of the United States. I did hear the Tenth Amendment mentioned once, but that was about it.
Of particular interest to me was the discussion about the minimum wage. Ben Carson made the most memorable comment on the subject. He not only favors raising the minimum wage; he would index it for inflation. In addition, he would favor a two-tiered minimum wage, with a lesser amount limited to younger workers.
Of course raising the minimum wage is rarely a plank in the Republican platform. Devotion to the free market dictates that wages are a matter of voluntary agreement between employers and employees.
Still, nobody challenged Dr. Carson, and the subject was shortly abandoned in favor of more personal bickering with Donald Trump.
Ben Carson is a good and decent man, and I am sure that his support of a higher minimum wage is motivated by genuine concern for the folks on the bottom rung of the economic ladder.
Still, I have to say that I was disappointed not to hear anyone suggest that the Constitution of the United States does not empower the federal government to mandate a minimum wage that all employers must pay to all employees throughout the land of the free and the home of the brave.
For what it is worth, I want to weigh in with this thought: a national minimum wage is not only unconstitutional, it is preposterously unreasonable and unfair.
The U. S. Census bureau reports that in 2009, the average wage earner in Idaho made $34,124; in Mississippi, $33,847; in Montana, $33,762 and in South Dakota, $33,352. That same year, the average worker in Massachusetts earned $56,267; in New York, $57,739; in Connecticut, $57,771; and in the District of Columbia, a whopping $77,483.
A package of cigarettes that costs $5.25 in Virginia or Missouri goes for $11.50 in Illinois and $12.55 in New York.
The two major political parties compete almost exclusively on what they claim they will do for ‘the economy.’ Bill Clinton famously coined the phrase, “It’s the Economy, stupid.”
Truthfully, what is really stupid is the tired and phony notion that the political class in Washington, D.C. has the authority and the mission to control or significantly influence the economic decisions of more than 300 million free people.
America has not one, but fifty different economies. We make our money in the States, we spend or save our money in the States. We build or buy our homes in the States, educate our children in the States. We shop and save and invest in the States.
Twenty-nine States have minimum wage laws that are higher than the federal minimum; fourteen have state minimums equal to the federal law, two states have lower minimums, and five states have no minimum wage at all.
That’s the way it is and that’s the way it should be in a Democratic Republic.