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"In Reversal, Trump Expresses Openness to Raising Minimum Wage"
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I was totally shocked and very pleased a couple of hours ago to learn that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had declared himself open to raising the minimum wage, an issue that has long been one of my own main policy suggestions:

By adopting this sensible position, he joins a number of other prominent Republicans and conservatives, including Phyllis Schlafly, Bill O’Reilly, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, and Tim Pawlenty, as well as billionaires Peter Thiel and Rick Caruso:

I think I’d effectively summarized many of the strong conservative reasons to support a large minimum wage hike in a column a couple of years ago:

And the tremendously important nexus between a higher minimum wage and drastic reductions in future illegal immigration was originally presented in my 12,000 word 2011 article, which began the entire debate:

Back in those days, some leading liberal pundits ridiculed the minimum wage in general and my especially high figure in particular as total economic illiteracy:

So any Republicans who now decide to shift their positions have much company on the other side of the ideological aisle.

• Category: Economics, Ideology • Tags: 2016 Election, Donald Trump, Minimum Wage 
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  1. AndyBoy says:

    But muh libertarian principles!

  2. Sean says:

    Trump for President is the Greatest Spectacle on Earth—or at least on Fox News. Who else has shredded Roger Ailes on his own network? What other Republican has defended single-payer health care? Derided Citizens’ United? Inveighed against global trade pacts? Denounced the Iraq War as an act of unparalleled stupidity? Aggressively pushed a progressive taxation model? It’s as if Trump has stepped right off the pages of Ralph Nader’s Dickensian romp of a novel, Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!

    Trump estimates that U.S. corporations are keeping as much as $2.5 trillion overseas. He wants them to bring that money back into the country and would offer a one-time incentive of a deeply discounted tax rate of 10 percent. After that, Trump would no longer allow corporations to defer taxes on income earned overseas, although he would keep the foreign tax credit.

  3. DanF says:

    I clicked through the links, and though I agree with you in principle (even though I consider myself very conservative). I think a $12 minimum wage is really high. Now, out in California or over in New York $12-$15 might make perfect sense.

    I however, live in Indiana and $12 would be about the same price point fast food restaurants start using auto-tellers and firing workers.

    If I could suggest a compromise. Based on this article Zero Hedge:

    1979 would be a good baseline number. The minimum wage was $2.90 in 1979.

    In 2016 dollars that roughly $10.10, so lets round up to $10.25 (NOTE: This is for the Federal only, and high cost of living states would obviously have much higher local numbers)

    Lastly, I would like to add that the minimum wage should really should be indexed to inflation (personally I would match it to the same formula as Social Security, as it binds together two roughly different demographics). I really do not like “one-time” effects as they really do not encourage spending or growth. The whole point of a minimum wage is to represent a bottom. Therefore, it should only make sense for it to be indexed for inflation.

    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @stickman
  4. The only thing that surprises me about this, is that it took him so long to reach this conclusion (it may be no coincidence that he waited until all his GOP rivals had acknowledged their defeat, before unveiling it). Not only is this sound public policy, but its also going to help him garner support from the disaffected Bernie Bros ie., it could be very helpful come November.

  5. Kevin O’Keefe: good surmise on your part that Trump waited till after he drove his competitors out before expressing openness to a federal minimum-wage hike.

    You’re also right that the minimum-wage issue might help him attract disaffected Sanders supporters who realize that Clinton is (1) a felon and a crook, (2) a warmonger who almost invariably takes a belligerent stance where it is not needed or prudent, and (3) in bed with privileged banks and brokerages like Goldman Sachs at the expense of regular working people.

    Trump’s theme should be “We want an America that rewards people who work and try hard to support their families. More wages for work, less welfare.” Hard for the Left to oppose that effectively.

    Trump should come out strong for a gradual but substantial increase in the federal minimum wage, BUT he should demand a reduction in the taxes that small businesses pay to ensure that it doesn’t harm those enterprises on balance. My understanding is that most small businesses are merely “pass-through” entities for tax purposes, meaning that the business’s tax is essentially paid by the business-owner himself/herself.

    Thus, we’d need a higher minimum wage combined with lower federal income-tax rates for the 50-55% of Americans (including small businesspeople) who pay fed income tax.

  6. But where’s the F-word? Or, per Steve, the Ctrl-F-word?

    What will be the minimum wage for foreigners?

    Is Seattle whiter and more Anglophone since their wage went up? Wouldn’t it be fun if the rest of Washington raised Seattle’s minimum to $30 or $40, just to see what happens?

  7. What will be the minimum wage for foreigners?


    Give this man a cigar!

  8. I agree with a higher minimum wage that matches an end to mass immigration. I just explained this in my blog:

    May 3, 2016 – Minimum Wage Hysteria

    Corporate America is outraged by a rebellion among some states and cities boosting minimum wages. Federal minimum wage has fallen a couple dollars an hour behind inflation since the 1970s. With unions mostly disbanded, it remains the only barrier to Third World level wages since Obama has mostly declared America’s borders open to anyone, once they slip past. There are even thousands of Africans now crossing illegally to Central America and coming north to the USA.

    Meanwhile, billionaires try to convince Americans that flooding the nation with unskilled foreign “refugees” is great for all.

    Despite talk, Obama never made a serious political effort to raise the minimum wage, even when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. The corporate media spin tales of disaster should wages rise. They claim that millions will lose their jobs, as though businesses have millions of minimum wage workers loitering around who are unneeded. They claim workers will be replaced by automation. That may happen in a few minor cases, but businessmen already automate whatever they can.. They are trying dump cashiers, but end up having someone watch the self-check out process to prevent theft and help with problems. One cannot further automate minimum wage jobs, although more waiters may be replaced by table menu tablets.

    Here is a good article from California about a city that raised the minimum wage to $14 an hour.

    Most businesses affected simply raised prices by 8%, so the wealthier people who enjoy such personal service pay more. That has been the story elsewhere, if one ignores the disaster stories peddled by most of the media. They write about restaurants that closed and blamed higher wages, but restaurants close all the time and they still exist in these cities. Some businesses threaten to move elsewhere, but this is only a problem because the higher minimum wage is not nationwide. There will be a bit more illegal cash payments, but that is rare because disgruntled and fired employees are quick to turn in their employer to tough agencies like the Labor Department and IRS.

    Higher wages put corporate spin masters in a difficult position. They claim raising the minimum wage will result in millions more unemployed. They also claim there is a labor shortage that requires millions of immigrant workers each year. Assuming this is true, the millions unemployed by higher wages are free to fill jobs opened by ending the inflow of immigrant labor. Workers would make more money while governments collect more taxes and pay fewer welfare benefits. As a result, everyone should embrace higher wages and less immigration. Unfortunately, corporate greed may push the US Congress to ban state and local laws that require a higher minimum wage.

  9. trump got some smart ass advisors, he is already trying to tap into the bernie sanders supporters.

    those advisors are worth their weight in gold.

  10. Dahlia says:

    What about participating in a live debate about the minimum wage?
    Garner a lot of attention where you have a very popular position and
    woo some of the TrueCons in addition to getting Trumpsters and some
    Bernie supporters?
    Bryan Caplan surely wouldn’t want to meet the wood chipper again,
    but someone else may.

  11. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Why not? When I was in high school minimum wage was $1.25 p/hr. The same arguments against raising it have been made every single time it’s been raised. Were people to have listened to them then it would never have gone up and still be $1.25 today, an absurd idea. Fast food and other businesses have been working on automating their businesses for awhile now and will roll it out when they get it to being workable. They’re going to do this regardless but the raising of the minimum wage will provide them with cover; they’ll blame that for the layoffs and deflect any bad publicity onto others.

  12. Mr.Trump: Visit, or have an aide visit a Dollar Tree store (every item is $1 or less). Charge that person with finding ONE, just one among the thousands of different sorts of items on sale, that an American manufacturer could sell at a profit at home or especially abroad paying $15 an hour wage.

    Couldn’t find even one. I’m not surprised. Your move, Sir.

  13. Obviously, you can raise the minimum wage too much. Anyone for a $59 minimum wage?
    Its funny how any move that has the effect of redistributing money from the Top to the Bottom is somehow “bad economics” while any move to do the opposite is “good economics”.

    You gotta wonder who’s paying the economists.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  14. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Trump should forget about the minimum wage and listen to David Stockman, who prescribes eliminating the federal payroll tax. If this 16% tax on all jobs were lifted, the boom in employment would dwarf any other since the 1950s.

  15. expeedee says:

    He is outflanking Hillary at every turn. Crooked Hillary is the crony of Wall Street, the globalist traitor to working Americans, the reckless interventionist. Sheer brilliance.

  16. Svigor says:

    Just heard a story on NPR the other day about an upscale cafeteria in LA. The owners started it because a cafeteria can operate on far less labor.

  17. Svigor says:

    I suppose the argument that shrinking the labor pool by getting criminal aliens to leave makes sense.

    But does Unz support that? If so, it’s news to me.

  18. @Honesthughgrant

    Obviously, you can raise the minimum wage too much. Anyone for a $59 minimum wage?

    Yes, I am.

    Not for me, though; for my competition.

  19. stickman says:

    The PROPER compromise with a high minimum wage for American workers would necessarily be Richard Nixon’s proposal for a guaranteed annual income. Currently, Switzerland has enacted such legislation and if memory serves, their GAW is set at something like $2,600, which is more than three times my personal retirement income.

    Together, a high minimum wage for those who do work and a GAW for everyone else, would obviate the need for employers to set up all those alphabetsouper retirement plans as well as a huge amount of governmental bureaucracy and corporate parasitism. These moves would segue beautifully with a single-payer healthcare system. A necessity for establishing these social basics would be taxation of all stock transfer transactions; a foolproof inheritance tax on fortunes of, say, more than $10 M and a repatriation of all excess monies secretly sequestered in mostly British colonial overseas habitats.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  20. stickman says:

    The Swiss Guaranteed Annual Wage i cited is calculated on a MONTHLY rather than annual basis. I stand guilty of not properly editing my posting #20.

    • Replies: @DanF
  21. PapayaSF says:

    The minimum wage disemploys people. Period. That’s the theory, that’s the result. No argument. That’s why it was invented: as a eugenics measure, so that undesirables would not be able to afford children, and so that white women would stay home and have babies, while their husbands had a higher wage.

    Unz is a good guy and I usually agree with him, but he’s wrong on this.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  22. DanF says:


    I am sorry, but what you are suggesting would quickly swamp the U.S. with even more foreigners and destroy America in less than 10 years. If you look at this article:

    You can see the U.S. is already a magnet as it currently stands from “richer” nations. If you go and sweeten the deal with free Healthcare and money we are done as a country.

    Comparing a demographically diverse and the geographically large US to historically homogenous and small European nations is not a good reflection of reality. Just because something might work in a small European nation does not mean it will work here.

    In Switzerland one of the major parties Swiss People’s Party is actually anti-migrant. Unlike the U.S. where none of the political elite are (I did vote for Trump in the primary, but one candidate cannot change the whole political elite). Furthermore, Switzerland is a small Mountainous nation, which can close it’s borders (it even has done so in it’s past). The U.S. has almost no history of closing it’s borders (I think we tried once under Nixon), and even if we attempted to do it would be very hard to enforce. Not to mention we will suffer the same “Altruistic BS” Europe does in the Med.

    I want to expound upon the last sentence. The difference between migrant issue to Australia and those to Europe (also why it was easer for Australia to quasi-stop the boat people). Is the type of ship they use. In the case of Australia they were crossing an Ocean, so they needed actually hauled boats. In the Med. the smugglers use Rubber boats. So, if the Italian or Greek navy looks like they will turn away they stab the boat. Forcing it to a “humanitarian” issue. The US would suffer the same issue in the Gulf. I believe someone here wrote this: “Altruism is great on an individual level, but suicidal as a National Policy.”

  23. @PapayaSF

    The minimum wage disemploys people. Period.

    Then let’s not waste any time applying it to those who should be disemployed: non-citizens who do not earn enough to pay taxes and who must turn to charity (public or private) to survive.

    If an American must sell his labor for $7.25/hr or less, because it is worth so little, so be it. He has no choice. He has nowhere to go.

    But there’s no damned excuse for a new arrival to do the same. They should be subsidizing us, not vice versa.

  24. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    A venture capitalist I interviewed a couple of months back is a big advocate of universal basic income (he uses the acronym BIG for it, “Basic Income Guarantee”, but UBI seems to be the more common one. I’ve never seen GAW before). He says a basic income would obviate the need for a minimum wage: since no one would have to work out of desperation, employers would have to pay more to get them to work.

    He has another idea that’s interesting: essentially, to allow workers to be represented by bots (algorithmic organizing). So, for example, a driver’s bot could coordinate with other drivers’ bots and squeeze higher rates of Uber, Lyft, etc. A robot-facilitated union.

    Here’s a link to the interview, if you’re interested:

  25. I get the theoretical arguments against a minimum wage, and they are far less compelling in the real world. Nevertheless, the reservation wage for a native born or legal US resident is probably going to be higher than for a legal or illegal immigrant, so there is no question that the authorities are going to need to really crack down on or bar the hiring of persons who are currently not lawfully resident in the US.

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