Trump, Sanders, and Clinton All Want a Minimum Wage Hike. Here's Why That's a Bad Idea.

Two Reason TV videos explore the possible downsides to federal wage hikes.


Donald Trump joined his Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders this week in calling for a higher minimum wage. It's a reversal of his earlier opposition to a wage hike, which he claimed would hinder America's ability to "compete against the world." He made the pronouncement in typically vague Trumpian terms, telling CNN, "I am open to doing something with [the wage], because I don't like that."

The three remaining major presidential candidates may favor a federal minimum wage hike, but the majority of economists still agree that increasing the minimum wage does indeed cause unemployment. Even Alan Kreuger, co-author of a seminal study minimum wage advocates often point to as undermining the minimum wage-unemployment link, believes that the $15-an-hour federal minimum wage advocated by Sanders and Clinton is too high, writing this in a New York Times op-ed:

…a $15-an-hour national minimum wage would put us in uncharted waters, and risk undesirable and unintended consequences.

A more pointed critique of the minimum wage comes from George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux, who told Reason's Nick Gillespie, "Taking away from workers an important bargaining chip, namely, the ability to work a wage less than the minimum, is the cruelest thing you can do for a lot of these workers."

Watch the full interview with Boudreaux below.

Download Video as MP4

And how high would minimum wage advocates hike the wage, anyway? Do they believe there are any potentially negative consequences? Reason TV took to the streets of Los Angeles' trendy Silver Lake neighborhood to find out:

Download Video as MP4

NEXT: Are Facts Turning the Tide Against Soda Taxes?

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  1. Are we still including Sanders in the conversation?

    1. Seems correct until Sanders either suspends his campaign or Hillary secures the nomination at the convention.

    2. Any old guy that appreciates a good prime rib special is ok in my book.

      *shakes claws at rampant kids on lawn*

      1. So,where is the most meat on your kind? In the tail like a gator or more like frog legs? Just asking for after the election .{ sharpens fish gig)

        1. The better payoff is in using them as bait for meatier game and fish.

        2. You seem like you really want Mr. Lizard's meat in your grill.

  2. [Trump] made the pronouncement in typically vague Trumpian terms, telling CNN, "I am open to doing something with [the wage], because I don't like that."

    Maybe there's more context surrounding this, but he could just as soon be talking about lowering or eliminating it, from this quote alone.

    1. You'd have to want that statement to mean what you want it to mean pretty badly to believe that when asked about raising the minimum wage, saying he wants to "do something" about it means he wants to lower it.

      1. It's ambiguity is designed to appeal to Sandersistas without committing to anything. It's Hope and change - i.e. It's whatever you want it to be.

    2. He could be talking about buying a new pair of shoes, too. That's the fun of looking at what Trump says - trying to figure out if a normal human being being shown the statement with no context could figure out what the heck he's talking about. It's like the game where one of you takes random snippets of dialogue from a movie or a TV show or a book and see if everybody else can guess where it came from.

      "Aren't you tired of Maine lobster, Long Island duckling and Ispwitch clams? Just once couldn't go for a Big Mac at the bottom of the Grand Canyon this summer?" " Look at me, I'm not even awake." "You've had no time off in two years, Martin." "Living here is time off."

      "And what I wanna do is find out what it - you know, you can't solve a problem until you find out what's the root cause. And I wanna find out, what is the problem, what's going on. And it's temporary. I've had so many people call me up and say thank you. Now if you remember when I did that a week ago it was like bedlam. All of a sudden, and you watch last night and you see people talking. They said well, Trump has a point, we have got to get down to the problem. The people that are friends of mine that called say "Donald, you have done us a tremendous service." Because we do have a problem."

  3. "Donald Trump joined his Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders this week in calling for a higher minimum wage."

    Well, they're all Democrats in every way that matters.

    Anti-free trade, pro-minimum wage hike, . . .

    Trump isn't just angling for disaffected Democrats who've been neglected by the Obama administration.

    He's a Democrat in all but name.

    1. I don't think I've seen either party come down hard against "free trade". (and I put that in quotations because I think it's debatable that when two nations are trading, and only one of them removes trade tariffs that it is really free trade.)

      Both parties have been pretty much lockstep on things like trade, immigration, and military interventionism. In fact I see very little difference between them except on a few bullshit culture war issues that they only bring up for show.

      I mean when you have polls showing a majority of Americans against something, but both political parties support it, well It almost makes me want to put on my tinfoil hat.

      1. Obama renegotiated both the South Korean free trade agreement and the Colombian free trade agreement--both so that they would be acceptable to UAW and other unions.

        Democrats supporting rent seeking by the UAW under the guise of free trade is not supporting free trade.

        1. "Then-presidential-candidate Barack Obama opposed the KORUS FTA as "badly flawed" during his campaign, claiming it wouldn't do enough to increase U.S. auto sales. His criticism echoed the auto labor unions.[21] Presidential Candidate and then-Senator Obama said he would vote against the FTA if it came to the floor of the U.S. Senate. He also stated he would send it back to Korea if elected president.

          Obama had expressed similar negative feelings about the North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, threatening during February 2008 campaign stops in industrial states to unilaterally "opt out" of the three-nation agreement. . . .

          December 2010 agreement

          Significant concessions were granted to the United States on trade in automobiles: tariff reductions for Korean automobiles were delayed for five years, and U.S. autos were granted broader access to the Korean market. At the same time, the negotiators agreed to set aside disagreements over U.S. beef exports for the time being.

          The deal was supported by Ford Motor Company, as well as the United Auto Workers, both of which had previously opposed the agreement. Remarking on the UAW's support, an Obama administration official was quoted as saying, "It has been a long time since a union supported a trade agreement".

      2. The last free trade Democrat was Bill Clinton, and he supported free trade over the objections of his fellow Democrats.

        Trump is somewhere to the left of Bill Clinton on free trade.

        1. And that's one of many reasons Hillary is a less dangerous choice than Turmp.

  4. FBI foils airline attack by sinister Al Gebra terror network:


    1. They've infiltrated our schools!

    2. Writing things that stupid people don't understand makes you a suspected terrorist. Idiocracy, not just a comedy.

    3. "Trump's America is Already Here"

      This has happened on airlines since 9/11. What kind of douchebag do you have to be to think that Trump invented 'airplane-security panic'?

      1. Obviously Trump went back in time to cause all of it. Just like he had to go back in time to cause the guy's little anecdote, given that Trump has yet to actually do anything to the laws yet.

  5. You people just don't understand. People deserve to earn a living wage, and no one can live off of $7.25/hr. They just can't. And that isn't fair. So employers need to be forced to pay everyone a living wage. It has nothing to do with economics. In fact, fuck economics. It's not fair. But a living wage is fair, and that's why we all need to embrace a higher minimum wage. As far a the laws of Supply and Demand goes, we'll just have Congress amend it to exempt unskilled labor.

    1. There are no laws of supply and demand. That's just something stupid rednecks believe in--like creationism and Ronald Reagan.

      No one knows what will happen in the future. Economics has been debunked repeatedly by scientists. If you listened to NPR, you'd know that.

      I mean, you'd never hear anybody say that there are no laws of supply and demand on NPR, you'd just know it.

      1. Oh, no. That's not true. Supply and demand is real. That is how well-meaning politicians curb smoking and other sins with high taxes. This raises the price and encourages people to quit their bad habits. But it doesn't, or at least shouldn't, apply to people. That's just not fair. People deserve a living wage. Anyone who argues otherwise is a Koch shill, or is licking the corporate boot that holds them down.

        1. I know you're kidding.
          Why can't we stop withholding tax from people making the minimum wage or close to it? 8?40 is a lot better than (8x40)?.75

          1. Government enforced saving program.

          2. They don't pay most taxes. Those are just mandatory "contributions" to their sorta-pension-like plan. It's a great plan too, by the way, as long as we can maintain an exponential growth of new people to feed the scheme.

        2. "Oh, no. That's not true. Supply and demand is real. That is how well-meaning politicians curb smoking and other sins with high taxes.

          Honestly, they'll use supply and demand as an argument to support something they want--like stopping smoking. But they still don't believe in supply and demand themselves.

          In that case, supply and demand is just another noble lie. They think other stupid people believe in that stuff, so they use it to rationalize getting tough on smoking.

          They think of smokers as rednecks and losers who don't shop at Whole Foods, and they want to make those people pay through the nose--for being rednecks and other losers who don't listen to NPR.

          They think those smokers will have pay through the nose no matter how high they raise cigarette taxes.

  6. Now that the liberals have their dream GOP candidate, I'm currently stocking up on popcorn in anticipation of the press doing a 180 (press, not pundits) and start peppering Trump with tough questions and follow up questions. I'd love to hear Trump's answer to, "what is the Constitutional authority for the Federal government to impose a minimum wage?"

    Yeah, that ain't a question he'll get asked by the left-leaning press, but the gloves will be coming off soon, and they'll turn on Trump just as they did with McCain.

    1. """" "what is the Constitutional authority for the Federal government to impose a minimum wage?""""

      What MSM will ask that question?

      Yeah Reason will ask that question but will Trump or Hillary answer?

    2. When has the press ever asked "What is the Constitutional authority for the feds to...?"

      No one cares about that. The Constitution is nothing more than an impediment to getting things done. It limits government, and limited government is a bad thing. It can't get things done. That is why the press, and most voters, prefer a candidate who will ignore the stupid government-limiting document.

      1. The US Constitution is a living document. It means whatever the Supreme Court says it means, nothing more and nothing less. For example, today it says that individuals have a right to keep and bear arms. But Hillary will breathe new life into it by appointing three SCOTUS justices who will certain discern that no such right exists.

        1. No, see, what the Constitution really means is that people only have the right to keep and bear arms if they form into a legally recognized group (a militia.) Meanwhile they'll overturn Citizens United as soon as possible, because as soon as you form into a legally recognized group (a corporation), you relinquish your right to free speech.

    3. Judging by the reactions I've seen from liberals, I don't think Trump is their dream GOP candidate.

      1. In the sense of "the candidate they'd like to run against," maybe.

        1. Some of them might believe that, but I seriously believe the liberals in the media fear him, why bother attacking a guy if you think he has no chance.

          No the heap tons praise on the guys they want to run against, the McCains, and the Romneys of the party, and then turn on them in the general. If they're trying to destroy while it's still the primaries, then it means they're afraid of you.

          1. Maybe because they hate Trump and what he says? Including his constant attacks on them?

            Romney and McCain were both flawed candidates, but who in those races had a better chance of winning? Huckabee (in 08)? Santorum (in 12)? I voted for Ron Paul in 2012, but let's not kid ourselves, he wouldn't have won.

            1. Stop being so reasonable Cali. That's for cucks.

          2. Yep. I think they're scared shitless. And in denial (at least publicly) as evidenced by all of the "The GOP created Trump" bullshit. They know the asshole might be president due, in large part, to their own ass-hattery & that's too much to bear. Hence, their portrayal (looking at you New York Times editorial board & columnists) of Trump supporters as uninformed, knuckle-dragging ______ists (some are, of course).

            I don't think Trump's done any favors to the American political process & I sure as hell won't be voting for him. That said, his election & the collective meltdown on the Left would (will?) be fun to watch.

        2. The sheer demographics of the electoral college will be difficult to overcome. Was already bad enough in '00 and '04.

    4. It's going to be interesting to watch and see what all new things the press is suddenly going to be learning about Trump and what percentage of these new things they're just now finding out about are things they're learning by going back and reading old newspapers and magazine articles and watching old news stories about Trump. "Amazing, we've just now learned something new that we reported on in 1998."

      Except CNN - I have a suspicion that Chris Cuomo wasn't just giving Trump free rein until the moment he locked up the nomination like the rest of them, I think Cuomo is a homer, a New Jersey guido just like Trump, and he totally is on board with the New York Values thing. He knows what Trump's all about and he approves this message 110%. He really does love him some Trump.

    5. Now that the liberals have their dream GOP candidate, I'm currently stocking up on popcorn in anticipation of the press doing a 180 (press, not pundits) and start peppering Trump with tough questions and follow up questions.

      And The Donald is sitting in his office hoping and praying that the mainstream media will go all pit-bull on him.

      I'd love to hear Trump's answer to, "what is the Constitutional authority for the Federal government to impose a minimum wage?"

      "The press is attacking me! The MSM hates me!" Flips them the finger. "Vote Trump!"

      1. *Proceeds to lose in a landslide*

  7. Yep,they want every one to make at least 30,000 $ a year.Up next,a maximum wage to 'help pay' for a minimum wage.See their logic? Of course,if they end all use of oil,gas,coal and nuclear it won't matter.

  8. Wage controls are terrible economics. One of the more interesting supply/demand arguments I've heard in support of minimum wage is that wages are artificially low because we subsidize those companies wage costs with things like EIC and other government programs for the poor. Of course there is an easy wasy to test if that's true but probably not going to happen. And would taking those supports away add to the challenge of moving people from total welfare to work? Of course eliminating the welfare state takes care of all of that, but that's not likely to happen either.

    1. Work vs welfare

      1. Wow, I hadn't seen that.
        Why am I starting to learn programming

        1. Because you're smart

          1. I've been told I'm emotionless, and that might be helpful when converting alcohol to code.

            1. Emotionless people don't need to drink.

        2. Here is an updated version

    2. wages are artificially low because we subsidize those companies wage costs with things like EIC and other government programs for the poor.

      Predictably, the progs get it completely backwards wrong.

      Welfare drive up wages. The welfare programs are essentially bidding against employers. If you can pull down the equivalent of $20K/ year on welfare, why would you take a job that pays less than that?

  9. I tried watching some of that "Nick on Bill Maher" episode today. It was like having teeth pulled while listening to nails on a chalkboard. 90% of it seemed to be about Trump. Which meant it was "Ann Coulter vs. everyone else". If you don't give a flying fuck what Ann Coulter thinks you're not likely to find the resulting debate the slightest bit interesting. The only brief moment of Hillary-discussion i witnessed had Maher defending Hillary's Libya-strategy as a "humanitarian mission".

    next time i'll wait for the "highlight clips"

    1. "Libya-strategy as a "humanitarian mission"."

      That's how Powers sold it to the rest of the administration

        1. I like that

    2. Coulter has always been purposely outrageous but she seems to have gone totally off the rails since the Trump candidacy. I don't just say that beause I'm not a Trump fan.

      1. she seems to have gone totally off the rails since the Trump candidacy

        Yes and no. She almost never has 'actual facts' on her side.

        But she actually grasps the underlying realities of 'regular american-voter' perceptions in ways that Dan Savage or Nick do not.

        e.g. She moans about the need for a "wall"... as though a 'border fence' is going to result in any significant material improvement in US immigration policy. We already know the vast majority of immigrants simply over-stayed visas. and that where fences exist, they're swiss-cheese unless 'manned'.

        iow, she conflates the widely-held *beliefs* about a Border Wall with actual, material reality.

        She's correct that is what many (if not most) voters *believe*... which is why its been an effective campaign issue for Trump. But to take that extra step into pretending that its actually a policy which rational people should endorse because there's any practical benefit to it, .... is where she goes entirely off the rails.

        That same dynamic of confusing successful populist rhetoric with "good policy" is where she's fucking nuts. I don't think even Trump believes his own bullshit, but she certainly acts like she does.

        1. Anyone who believes in a wall should have to ride from Baja to Brownsville, on a horse.

          1. Doubt 'the Wall' was ever intended as a serious policy position. Only a rhetorical device to push the notion of illegal immigration reform.

    3. That treatment center founder spoke like he had found a stash somewhere.

    4. The only little bit I saw of the after-show was Savage talking about Trump talking bad about Mexicans and Coulter jumping in and claiming what Trump said about the criminals and the drugs and the rapists and the murderers "and some, I assume, are good people" wasn't talking bad about them - it is true that some Mexicans are bad people and some are good. Try substituting "Trump supporters" and see how that sounds. "Trump supporters are criminals, they're bringing drugs, they're rapists, they're murderers, and some, I assume, are good people." See? Totally not talking bad about them.

      That's some Clinton-level "lying your ass off but not technically being untruthful" bullshit right there. But that's a leftist tactic and we're all leftists now. Like the tactic of shutting people up when they don't agree with you - the leftists do it to us so it's fair that we do it to them. Well, fine - except that now you've abandoned the principle of "it's wrong to force people to shut up just because they're saying something you don't like". We're all agreed now that whoever has the power to make the other side shut up is free to use that power - which I thought is exactly what you were complaining about the left using as a tactic.

      1. We're all agreed now that whoever has the power to make the other side shut up is free to use that power - which I thought is exactly what you were complaining about the left using as a tactic.

        Are you referring to 'me' or some hypothetical?

      2. Hmm to accurately fit the context you'd have to start off with something far less easy that "Trump supporters are". Something like "when Trump sends his supporters [to trespass or crash a party or something], they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us."

  10. Reason would be better off emphasizing the absurdity of allowing people to vote themselves raises through government. But I think the country is already too far gone, anyway.

    1. There have been a number of quotes over the centuries making that same point

      1. I'm aware and it was the line I was going on. The basic premise of 'socializing' the economy, making all economic activity subject to the whims of the people rather than supply and demand is cancerous to democracy. We don't even teach ancient history really anymore. All those lessons that guided the founders of the country have been lost.

    2. Meh. I think we can address this issue (and welfare and food stamps) once corporations stop buying tax breaks and subsidies and such

  11. The people arguing for higher minimum wage tend not to be the low wage workers themselves (who tend not to complain) but the unionists who want to keep out low-skilled minority workers from the trades (which is how the policy started), and big businesses who want to stifle small startup competitors, and the mental illness industry which wants to treat people for being depressed and anxious for not having a job, and of course the prison industrial complex that is happy to house people who can't offer the value of a minimum wage. Also the min wage extinguishes incentive to achieve: "Why should I study tonight if I will get the same wage when I get out of school?"

    1. Yeah, it's telling that it hurts the same same people they claim they're trying to help.

    2. I think that the low-wage workers do actually complain about their wages; they just don't to it to the boss or to the media because they're afraid of being fired. They probably just complain at home or with friends in private conversations. Labor activists tend to be the ones who do it in public, but that doesn't mean that low-wage workers themselves are hostile or ambivalent to a minimum wage hike.

      Also I'm not quite sure how the minimum wage "extinguishes" the incentive to achieve. It certainly does reduce the "costs" of saying no to someone offering you a low wage (say $5 an hour) by giving you an alternative, but there are still a large number of costs and incentives to improve one's skills: the paltry of minimum wages in urban areas, the social disapproval that comes with blue-collar or low-wage work, etc. Finally, I don't know of many $15-hour jobs that require a high school diploma and aren't entry-level; even if the minimum wage went overnight to $15, I doubt that would eliminate the college premium for most jobs.

    3. Uh, low wage earners complain all the time. Have you talked to them?

      That's basically saying the slaves were happy.

      There is a good economic reason to have a high minimum wage (since it will cost jobs), but let's not act like there aren't a lot of working poor who are barely getting by

  12. "I am open to doing something with [the wage], because I don't like that."

    And the interpretation of this is I'm for a wage hike? That sounds pretty ambiguous to me. And like everything else Trump says, cannot be taken too seriously.

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  14. Most people who support the idea of this wage hike, I'm talking the proletariat not the politicians, what they really mean is 'I want more money' right now, and I don't want to wait for it or necessarily work hard for it'. What the politicians mean is 'vote for me, idiots'. The proles who support this do not understand the implications of a national min wage hike to $15. Thinking is hard.

  15. You economic illiterates.

    Meta studies of studies of minimum wage effects show that small minimum wage increases have almost no effect on employment, prices, or the poverty rate.

    It's a recent revelation that flips conventional economic assumptions on its head.

    Why do you want almost as many poor people as I do?

    1. No they don't and no they don't. The min wage increases in Seattle and elsewhere are all followed by higher unemployment.

    2. You call a minimum wage of 15 dollars a "small increase"?

      Yeah you're right, when min wage went up by 50-75 cents, it didn't kill the economy. Because most people already make more than min wage. Plus, small businesses will often pay workers cash under the table.

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