Elizabeth Warren: Hey, why isn’t the minimum wage $22/hour?

posted at 1:21 pm on March 18, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Oh, minimum wage — the simple- and friendly-sounding yet actually regressive and economy-damaging populist throwback that just refuses to die. President Obama once again resurrected the timelessly terrible idea in his State of the Union speech in February, and it’s been percolating among the Democrats as a potential 2014-oriented rallying cry for how those obstructionist Republicans must really, really hate poor people because there’s no other possible explanation for their opposition (except that, you know, minimum wage hikes are actually counterproductive to an inclusive and prospering economy, but let’s just rid ourselves of any lingering school-girl notions that facts are what matter here, shall we?).

Last week in a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Sen. Elizabeth Warren wondered, “If we started in 1960, and we said that, as productivity goes up — that is, as workers are producing more — then the minimum wage is going to go up the same. And, if that were the case, the minimum wage today would be about $22 an hour. So, my question, Mr. Dube, is what happened to the other $14.75?” National Review picked up on it:

Oof. Last month, HuffPo pointed out a 2012 ‘study’ that concluded pretty much the same thing:

President Obama’s call to increase the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour was one of the more significant proposals he laid out in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. But $9 an hour is still a far cry from what workers really deserve, a 2012 study finds.

The minimum wage should have reached $21.72 an hour in 2012 if it kept up with increases in worker productivity, according to a March study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. While advancements in technology have increased the amount of goods and services that can be produced in a set amount of time, wages have remained relatively flat, the study points out. …

Between the end of World War II and the late 1960s, productivity and wages grew steadily. Since the minimum wage peaked in 1968, increases in productivity have outpaced the minimum wage growth.

I’m calling shenanigans. That is one wildly flawed premise, because the value of productivity is not a constant. As HuffPo’s writeup cedes, “advancements in technology have increased the amount of goods and services that can be produced in a set amount of time,” not to mention with fewer resources and at a lower cost — should in the increase in crop yield from a farmer using a donkey and plow versus a farmer using a tractor be directly proportional to an increase in those crops’ market worth because of some sort of imagined moral law about productivity and wages? No, because the market value of those crops has diminished as the ease of production has increased, and if that was the way the world worked, we’d all be paying a heck of a lot more for food right now.

Again, raising the minimum wage to some arbitrarily-determined level of ostensible just deserts is just another way of throwing market signals under the bus in exchange for more top-down control, which might benefit a few in the short run, but bogs down the entire economy in the long run. As Christina Romer, former head of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, put it:

Raising the minimum wage, as President Obama proposed in his State of the Union address, tends to be more popular with the general public than with economists. …

First, what’s the argument for having a minimum wage at all? Many of my students assume that government protection is the only thing ensuring decent wages for most American workers. But basic economics shows that competition between employers for workers can be very effective at preventing businesses from misbehaving. If every other store in town is paying workers $9 an hour, one offering $8 will find it hard to hire anyone — perhaps not when unemployment is high, but certainly in normal times. Robust competition is a powerful force helping to ensure that workers are paid what they contribute to their employers’ bottom lines.


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I don’t know what y’all are complaining about.

All of these Dem economic policies worked quite well in the SimCity modelling software.

BobMbx on March 18, 2013 at 2:06 PM

I’m guessing most legislators push ideas like this for political purposes even though they know better. I think Warren is just dumb enough to believe it though. Labor is a market just like anything else, supply and demand dictates wages. When unemployment is low businesses have to pay more to get good skilled workers. When unemployment is high like it is now employers have their pick at any price because the pool of potential candidates is huge.

If Warren really wants to help people earn higher wages she should be ringing up the whitehouse to ask them why unemployment is still so high.

If we had higher rates of employment, wages would go up, more people would be paying into the tax pool instead of draining it, etc. Not sure how dems can’t figure that relation out.

deuce on March 18, 2013 at 2:06 PM

I can imagine tapping out my order on my iPad X and driving up to the McD’s Kiosk in the parking lot. Yeah I see a lot of capitalist creativity happening if the socialists keep pushing their crazy ideas.

dogsoldier on March 18, 2013 at 2:04 PM

I picture the Carl’s Jr vending machines in Idiocracy.

dentarthurdent on March 18, 2013 at 2:07 PM

So, my question, Mr. Dube, is what happened to the other $14.75?” National Review picked up on it:

This part really bugs me. It presumes that all the low and no skilled labor making minimum wage is somehow owed that “other $14.75″ for doing such vital work for society as mopping floors and putting salt on fries.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2013 at 2:08 PM

“We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.”

SomeCallMeJohn on March 18, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Don’t these people realize they can make their state minimum wage whatever they want?

Come on residents of CA. Raise your minimum wage to $22 already. You don’t need to get it past us evil rethuglicans.

I’ll go grab the popcorn.

jhffmn on March 18, 2013 at 2:09 PM

If Warren is representative of the intellectual genius of the people of MA, then all the mental giants no longer live in MA or frequent it.

“All” may be a bit strong. Its just that the mental giants remaining stay out of politics and/or are just vastly outnumbered by those less mentally and intellectually endowed at the voting booth.

That, and some intellectual and mental giants can be assimilated by the dark side, depending on what’s in it for them, personally.

hawkeye54 on March 18, 2013 at 2:09 PM

If we had higher rates of employment, wages would go up, more people would be paying into the tax pool instead of draining it, etc. Not sure how dems can’t figure that relation out.

deuce on March 18, 2013 at 2:06 PM

They do. They just think all those people should be working for the government…

PetecminMd on March 18, 2013 at 2:10 PM

…workers are paid what they contribute…

See, there’s your problem right there. You’ve got the thinking all wrong again! We all know it’s supposed to be:

From each according to their ability (Tax The Rich!!) to each according to their need (Definition of scarcity, Econ 101, indicates not all needs can possibly ever be met, no matter how much gummint spends)

Now, go write on the board 100 times, “Pay should not be connected to contribution.”

Or, your alternate assignment, would be to ask Senator Murray why she deserves such extravagant pay.

DublOh7 on March 18, 2013 at 2:11 PM

All of these Dem economic policies worked quite well in the SimCity modelling software.

Ya know, I tried those economic policies back in the day when I played around with SimCity. Unexpectedly, the thriving simulated metropolises I had managed to create ended up looking a whole lot like a virtual Detroit before too long.

hawkeye54 on March 18, 2013 at 2:12 PM

This bimbo gives all blondes a bad name.

avagreen on March 18, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Mass. strikes again.

Thank you, stupid ass voters of that effed up state, for providing yet another retard to the federal government. That yet another lying, pandering faker like this got to our highest offices should make everyone in America cringe.

Let it burn so these freaks can finally be excised from the nation.

Bishop on March 18, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Dumb as a bag of tomahawks.

Stu Gotts on March 18, 2013 at 2:15 PM

That, and some intellectual and mental giants can be assimilated by the dark side, depending on what’s in it for them, personally.

hawkeye54 on March 18, 2013 at 2:09 PM

You may have a point about ALL, but as you say what’s in it for them is what the voting population is thinking. Remember the ‘voting’ population out-numbers the ‘paying’ population and when you can vote yourself the fruits of someone else…….

I guess the point is, it reflects poorly on the general population when clueless liars are elected for no apparent discernment by the voters.

belad on March 18, 2013 at 2:18 PM

We should counter by saying we will only support $30 per hour and nothing lower.

GardenGnome on March 18, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Another mind-boggling example of the economic illiteracy of an ivory-tower a$$h0l3 elected to a position of power.

cheeflo on March 18, 2013 at 2:18 PM

I can imagine tapping out my order on my iPad X and driving up to the McD’s Kiosk in the parking lot.

dogsoldier on March 18, 2013 at 2:04 PM

If you can get around the issue of complaints (“that isn’t what I ordered”, “I said no mayo”, etc.), then this is very doable. Sort of in-between “I had it my way” and an automat: freshly cooked, with a limited number of options (at first). The real cost is in the somewhat constant resupply of ‘fresh’ ingredients.

What should we name the place? Whatever we name it, the tagline should be “Thank you, Senator Warren!”

GWB on March 18, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Why stop at $22/hr??? Jack that mother up to $5,000 per hour an we’d freakin’ eradicate poverty, man!

You could pull down over $500K a year with a two-hour work week! SWEEEET!!!

I’m so in!

Bruce MacMahon on March 18, 2013 at 2:19 PM

This is why I could never hold any public office, elected or appointed, because I would have to be a smart ass to the old harpy: “Me no speakum your big talk. You not happy minimum wage you should speak many moons with great black father.”

Bishop on March 18, 2013 at 2:19 PM

All of these Dem economic policies worked quite well in the SimCity modelling software.

BobMbx on March 18, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Don’t know which version you had but my kids ate that game up and are quite responsible and reliably conservative. My older son even wrote a letter to the mayor (Lanier at the time in Houston) at the time he was into it to rail against the over $1billion being proposed for new stadiums and rail. I think he was about 16 at the time.

He said like in the game it would cause people to bail out of the city. The 10 year average for growth in Houston is almost 1%. The Houston area? beats 10% or so. Very good game lessons taught in that game. My hunch is no liberal ever played it much because they lost every time.

DanMan on March 18, 2013 at 2:20 PM

dogsoldier on March 18, 2013 at 1:59 PM

.
Automated stock pickers would be more efficient, but for sheer badassery of the robot kind, ED-209 every time.

LincolntheHun on March 18, 2013 at 2:20 PM

for doing such vital work for society as mopping floors and putting salt on fries.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Wait, what? Where is this? At almost all the places I’ve been, I have to put salt on my own fries nowadays!

GWB on March 18, 2013 at 2:20 PM

She might start with her staff and pay those “unpaid” interns $22/hour.

KenInIL on March 18, 2013 at 2:22 PM

um, stupid senator, workers with increased productivity don’t get paid minimum wage…you can’t increase the productivity of a mop. you know?

The stupid donkey idea is that there are millions of full time professionals on minimum wage, not entry level people first appearing in the work force.

joeindc44 on March 18, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Why isn’t it 150/hour?

Schadenfreude on March 18, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Elizabeth Warren…Dork Extraordinaire.

NavyMustang on March 18, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Warren has not “fallen victim” to anything.
She is a perpetrator of this crap and NOT a fallen victim of anything!
She is a product of LBJ’s Department of Education!

Delsa on March 18, 2013 at 2:31 PM

I wondered, what percentage of the U.S. working public makes minimum wage? And, found this:

Relatively few Americans earn the federal minimum wage.[2] In 2011 and 2012, 3.7 million Americans reported earning $7.25 or less per hour — just 2.9 percent of all workers in the United States.[3] These numbers include workers who also earn tip income. Many of those earning less than the minimum wage work in restaurants and make more than the minimum wage after taking tips into account.

Huh.

Fallon on March 18, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Ya know, I tried those economic policies back in the day when I played around with SimCity. Unexpectedly, the thriving simulated metropolises I had managed to create ended up looking a whole lot like a virtual Detroit before too long.

hawkeye54 on March 18, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Check your settings. It sounds like you were playing in Conservative mode. You need to play in Liberal mode, so turn on the “everything free” setting.

BobMbx on March 18, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Yes! You can now make minimum wage and be considered rich at the same time.

tommer74 on March 18, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Hey I know, try it out first in Massachusetts and let us know how it works out.

diogenes on March 18, 2013 at 2:37 PM

“I think the minimum wage should be $100/hr. Then there would be no more poor people”

–Sen. Pochahantas Warren

Or really any other liberal progressive Dumbocrap politician

NOMOBO on March 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Should “running the country” be a service instead of a career?

JellyToast on March 18, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Heh. I read that as “Should “ruining the country” be a service…”.

Once you include the higher output along with its higher value, that’s how you get to $22.

Stoic Patriot on March 18, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Except, of course, that level of work doesn’t actually show much productivity increase. (Sure you know it, just pointing it out. turbeda made that point, too.)

At 10%, the account holder’s money will double in seven years. Then government can come confiscate it.

Liam on March 18, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Heck, if they just tax those holdings at 5%, the subject citizen still makes magical money and the government gets a dandy cut!

GWB on March 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

This communist’s election should be a giant red flag, our society is very sick, and its a deadly disease, the necrosis of which we’ve seen work its poison in the worst places on earth, we’ve sent our children and trillions of our treasure to fight.

Speakup on March 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

I would really like to know what increase in productivity warrants paying a burger flipper a wage comparable to an entry-level web designer.

But this is further proof that progressive ideals are beyond parody. How many people here were saying just last month, if $9 wages have zero negative impact, why not 15? 20? 50?

… and here comes Elizabeth Warren, asking the same question without irony.

The Schaef on March 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Hey, remember the Cherokee mom told us she helped her sister AND daughter (or some relatives) run their businesses?

Liz Warren can make such a claim, because she knows all about running businesses./////

Sir Napsalot on March 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Severe Conservative and BusinessGenius Mitt Romney also favored raising the minimum wage.

boko fittleworth on March 18, 2013 at 2:44 PM

If we had higher rates of employment, wages would go up, more people would be paying into the tax pool instead of draining it, etc. Not sure how dems can’t figure that relation out.

deuce on March 18, 2013 at 2:06 PM

In 2013, there are only two possibilities remaining:

1. Democrats (and RINOS) are economic illiterates. They literally do not understand (or care) how the world actually works. They do not understand human nature. They don’t give a rip about hundreds of years of human history in commerce.

or

2. Democrats (and RINOS) actually do understand basic economics but are playing the LoFo and emotionally-challenged citizens for fools and votes, crushing the hopes and dreams of millions of Americans and future generations while enriching themselves and their cronies.

visions on March 18, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Bah, these people are Bush League, make the minimum wage $1000.00 per hour! Do it! Do it nooowww!

I won’t rest until the minimum wage is $1000.00 per hour!!

.
.
.

And if this amount seems ludicris, then you need to educate yourselves on what these Progressives want and how they operate. The difference between $22/hour and $1000/hour is just a matter of time for them.

Meople on March 18, 2013 at 2:47 PM

What she hasn’t figured out is that when the minimum wage is $22 an hour an order of fries at McDonalds will cost $10. Not a big deal to someone who makes $350K to teach one class but to the rest of us…….

bsinc1962 on March 18, 2013 at 2:50 PM

OhEssYouCowboys on March 18, 2013 at 1:59 PM

2010 Victory Vegas 8-Ball

A little something to get around town on…in my declining years. :-)

Solaratov on March 18, 2013 at 2:52 PM

“If we started in 1960…”

And just how much, in 1960, did an employer pay his employee not just in pay but in mandatory benefits? How much did an employer have to pay per employee for things like unemployment insurance and workers comp? And how much in 1960 did federal regulations cost an employer to comply with?

Kevin R on March 18, 2013 at 2:55 PM

The Northeast just insists on electing stupid boobs like this to high office and pushing failed Government intervention in the markets. Unless the rest of the country compensates by pushing rational policies and politicians, America will face inevitable decline.

Rogervzv on March 18, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Want workers to have more? Allow them to opt out of SS, end unemployment insurance, and don’t take federal taxes out of their checks.

tom daschle concerned on March 18, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Rogervzv on March 18, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Amerika or The New USSA is already IN decline. We just haven’t hit rock bottom yet, but we’re close.

Meople on March 18, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Now that’s some weapon’s grade stupidity right there.

cirrus on March 18, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Why only $22.00? Why don’t we pay everybody the same as what Senators make?

Axion on March 18, 2013 at 3:04 PM

and start the countdown until it’s discovered that Lizzy hires illegals to do work under the table.

joeindc44 on March 18, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Pay close attention young voters! And vote very carefully in the next election!

Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren wants to make sure young voters will never be hired for their first entry level job.

Under Democrat Senator Warren’s plan, all entry level jobs that don’t produce at least $22.01 of value will go to ILLEGAL aliens who don’t have to comply with U.S. minimum wage laws and can charge less than $22 for their labor.

And while the ILLEGAL aliens take all of the entry level jobs, young American citizens will be spending the early years of their careers in unpaid internships while living at home with Mommy and Daddy, until they can produce $22.01 of value every hour.

The laws of economics are always in force, whether or not Senator Warren (D-MA) understands them.

wren on March 18, 2013 at 3:10 PM

What the stupid communists do not understand is that if the minimum wage increases to $ 22 an hour not only it will totally destroy small and middle size businesses and lead to an unemployment rate of 25% but it will increase inflation to 20% and will cause absolute destruction of the economy…

mnjg on March 18, 2013 at 3:18 PM

These intellectual giants live in a static bubble, where they preach Keynesian economics as though it actually works – simply plugging in various numbers into equations and then making moral judgements based on the alleged solutions to said problems.

These people should be forced to create a business using all their personal assets, and pay all employees $22 at least, and, must not make a profit! Any profit must be distributed to their employees.

Only after redistributing all of their wealth, will they finally understand how the real world actually operates.

rightside on March 18, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Relatively few Americans earn the federal minimum wage.[2] In 2011 and 2012, 3.7 million Americans reported earning $7.25 or less per hour — just 2.9 percent of all workers in the United States.[3] These numbers include workers who also earn tip income. Many of those earning less than the minimum wage work in restaurants and make more than the minimum wage after taking tips into account.

Huh.

Fallon on March 18, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Naturally – another Demtard solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.

And if the minimum wage was eliminated entirely, we’d see darn near zero unemployment in a short period of time.

dentarthurdent on March 18, 2013 at 3:23 PM

“…what happened to the other $14.75?”

Ever-increasing regulatory and energy costs, Madame Senator. Next brilliant question, please.

Midas on March 18, 2013 at 3:23 PM

I wondered, what percentage of the U.S. working public makes minimum wage? And, found this:

Relatively few Americans earn the federal minimum wage.[2] In 2011 and 2012, 3.7 million Americans reported earning $7.25 or less per hour — just 2.9 percent of all workers in the United States.[3] These numbers include workers who also earn tip income. Many of those earning less than the minimum wage work in restaurants and make more than the minimum wage after taking tips into account.

Huh.

Fallon on March 18, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Yes, but that is the floor that is set. While not a high percentage earn $7.25, that is the basis for determining most other hourly rates.

So, if you are in retail and they want to be competitive, they offer a little more than minimum, like $8.50/hour or something.

When you lower the minimum wage – everyones’ pay has to go up. People earning $9 an hour now are not going to want to stay at that level when that becomes the minimum wage, so they get bumped to $12. those at $12 get bumped to $15, and so on.

And all of those bumps simply get into the price of goods and services, so prices go up. So, relative purchasing power ultimately remains the same. You have about 1 – 2 years where everyone feels a little more purchasing power, and then we are right back to the same exact spot.

It’s usually the middle class (like always) that feels the squeeze. Salaried worker and those making $20/hour and above won’t see their wages go up commensurate with everyone else’s, so when the prices go up, these peoples’ purchasing power actually diminishes rather than being what it is today.

So, this is nothing more than a short-term transfer of wealth from the middle class to those earning low wages.

Monkeytoe on March 18, 2013 at 3:23 PM

it’s kinda of fun, the jobs with the high productivity did get raises, then they went overseas, the jobs that productivity did not increase(service jobs) stayed here for the most part, but a lot went over seas also. the only jobs that are still here are construction jobs or other like jobs that cannot be exported, but cheap labor can be imported(illegal).

RonK on March 18, 2013 at 3:23 PM

What the stupid communists do not understand is that if the minimum wage increases to $ 22 an hour not only it will totally destroy small and middle size businesses and lead to an unemployment rate of 25% but it will increase inflation to 20% and will cause absolute destruction of the economy…

mnjg on March 18, 2013 at 3:18 PM

They understand, and they don’t care. Cloward and Piven, Alinsky, Obama, the ends always justify any means. Bigger government is always the answer for these people.

Meople on March 18, 2013 at 3:25 PM

What the stupid communists do not understand is that if the minimum wage increases to $ 22 an hour not only it will totally destroy small and middle size businesses and lead to an unemployment rate of 25% but it will increase inflation to 20% and will cause absolute destruction of the economy…

mnjg on March 18, 2013 at 3:18 PM

I beg to differ – some of them understand all too well that’s what would happen. That’s a big batch of new Dem voters dependent on gubmint handouts you’re talking about. And it leads directly to what they really want – total gubmint control of the entire society.

dentarthurdent on March 18, 2013 at 3:27 PM

mnjg on March 18, 2013 at 3:18 PM

The ones at the top – and their masters – understand that quite well.

Which is why they will do it.

Solaratov on March 18, 2013 at 3:27 PM

I suggest that Warren’s own state of Massachusetts test this out first and see how things go. After a period of, say 10 years, we should have enough evidence based on the Massachusetts example to determine whether this is a good idea to implement nationally…

dczombie on March 18, 2013 at 3:28 PM

the fake Native American needs to take a basic economics class. how easy is it for liberals to just take the ‘populist’ view of everything to get elected.

she may want to watch Thomas Sowell’s interview and take good notes:
Minimum wage responsible for black unemployment, Sowell says
http://dailycaller.com/2013/03/16/minimum-wage-responsible-for-black-unemployment-author-says-video

burserker on March 18, 2013 at 3:28 PM

I beg to differ – some of them understand all too well that’s what would happen. That’s a big batch of new Dem voters dependent on gubmint handouts you’re talking about. And it leads directly to what they really want – total gubmint control of the entire society.

dentarthurdent on March 18, 2013 at 3:27 PM

It will lead to a violent outcome which is certain that the communists will lose very quickly…

mnjg on March 18, 2013 at 3:35 PM

visions on March 18, 2013 at 2:46 PM

I vote for #2…and the longer anyone stays in DC the more they believe that they deserve it because they are more enlightened than the tax-payers.

Now how was that phrased…oh yeah, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”., especially the pigs.

belad on March 18, 2013 at 3:36 PM

I’ll take $22 and raise it $220.

bgibbs1000 on March 18, 2013 at 3:43 PM

How could a woman of Ms. Warren background not be a member?

U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Must be se has never ben to India.

RickinNH on March 18, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Salaried worker and those making $20/hour and above won’t see their wages go up commensurate with everyone else’s, so when the prices go up, these peoples’ purchasing power actually diminishes rather than being what it is today.

Monkeytoe on March 18, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Let’s not forget that tax brackets won’t keep up with that initial thrust to higher wages, either. So, when the middle class wages do catch up (somewhat), they’ll be paying higher taxes until someone forces an adjustment of the rates.

GWB on March 18, 2013 at 3:49 PM

The Northeast just insists on electing stupid boobs like this to high office and pushing failed Government intervention in the markets. Unless the rest of the country compensates by pushing rational policies and politicians, America will face inevitable decline.

Ah, but the West Coast insists on electing several similarly stupid boobs. If it didn’t contribute, the entire continent might be rendered severely imbalanced and tip over.

hawkeye54 on March 18, 2013 at 4:03 PM

It will lead to a violent outcome which is certain that the communists will lose very quickly…

mnjg on March 18, 2013 at 3:35 PM

That may be the part they don’t see – or they actually think they can win it – hence the need for 1.6 billion rounds of ammo for the “national security force as large and well-equipped and funded as the military” (NOT that I’m a conspiracy theorist – but just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you).

Although I do think that Fauxcahontas here isn’t bright enough to see any of this. I think she’s just an idiot trying to spout the party line.

dentarthurdent on March 18, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Worker productivity is not a measure of wages nor will it ever be. It is like using gallons to measure distance. Productivity goes up inversely to the labor force. The greater productivity, the less one hires. This is a concept that seems to elude all liberals. Bill Clinton in particular seemed unable to recognize that his call for productivity increases culls labor. Increases in productivity reflect a demand for less labor. Increase the minimum wage and you will see a significant cut in employment as manufacturers move overseas (thus increasing the productivity of the remaining labor force) or by culling labor in favor of devices or by adopting a passive investment (shutting down the business).

pat on March 18, 2013 at 1:58 PM

I’m old enough to remember the Dark Ages. Does anyone else remember when companies employed “pools” of stenographers, typists and secretaries? When every executive, no matter how low on the food chain his/her job was, had a personal secretary? When the gas station on the corner employed not just the guys who filled your tank for you and cleaned your windshields, but at least one or two full-time mechanics? When you could walk into a department store and instantly find a sales clerk? When thousands of people worked as key punch operators? (And how your entire “job” came to a screeching halt because of a single typo?) Most of these jobs were “entry-level” jobs, jobs that got your foot in the door. A good stenographer who was willing to do just a little bit extra, like fill in for a sick colleague or work overtime in an emergency, could rise to become a personal secretary, then follow “her” executive higher and higher in the company organizational chart. In many instances, the key punch operators became programmers themselves, learning while doing. A guy right out of high school could get a job filling gas tanks, but learn enough about car repair to one day open his own gas station and car repair. Sales clerks could eventually work their way up to department managers or other management positions.

Most of those jobs are gone. Not because they were out-sourced, but because of technological improvements. And because those jobs have been replaced by computers and robots, productivity per employee has soared.

I wonder how many libs manager-types would be willing to take a huge hit in the wallet so their company could rehire stenos and typists — at $10.00 per hour? How many high tech innovators would be willing to slow their progress to a crawl in order to hire key punch operators at $10.00 an hour? That would should lower productivity back to a level commensurate with their ideal of what a “proper” minimum wage should be.

catsandbooks on March 18, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Why be so chintzy?

Raise the minimum wage to $1 million an hour so we can all be rich!

myiq2xu on March 18, 2013 at 4:17 PM

The real answer is too complicated for a nit-wit like Warren to understand. She determines what she believes, then concocts reality around it.

The minimum wage worker today is much less skilled and knows much less than the minimum wage worker of the 1960s. There just aren’t that many minimum wage jobs any more because computers and machines are so pervasive in the work place.

InterestedObserver on March 18, 2013 at 4:18 PM

The labor theory of value: an idea so bad, so obviously, gob-smackingly wrong, so ahistorical, so anti-logic, so antiquated, so disproven, so immoral, so ridiculous….IT JUST. WON’T. DIE.

Sigh…

D.GOOCH

DGOOCH on March 18, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Most of those jobs are gone. Not because they were out-sourced, but because of technological improvements. And because those jobs have been replaced by computers and robots, productivity per employee has soared.
catsandbooks on March 18, 2013 at 4:16 PM

I would suggest that it’s a full circle of cause and effect. The technological improvements to a large degree are driven by the need to get rid of people – because the gubmint and unions keep driving up the cost of having real people. As the people cost gets higher due to artificial interference from the gubmint, technological solutions become become more economically feasible (along with more self-service – i.e. make the customer perform more of his own labor) – and that circle keeps the spiral going: higher people costs – more technology – fewer human workers – and back around again ad infinitim.

dentarthurdent on March 18, 2013 at 4:26 PM

There just aren’t that many minimum wage jobs any more because computers and machines are so pervasive in the work place.

InterestedObserver on March 18, 2013 at 4:18 PM

and that happened because the gubmint artificially raised the cost of human workers – which made the machines more economically feasible, and a cheaper long term investment.

dentarthurdent on March 18, 2013 at 4:28 PM

and that happened because the gubmint artificially raised the cost of human workers – which made the machines more economically feasible, and a cheaper long term investment.

dentarthurdent on March 18, 2013 at 4:28 PM

Uh, no, it’s because computers can do way the hell more number-crunching and do it way more accurately. It is physically impossible for even 100 secretaries to do as much as a single computer can. And the other big reason is that computers won’t sue you if you drop a cup of hot coffee on them by accident…or more horribly, if a bolt gives and they get hideously injured.

I know min-wage laws have a near-mythical status as being responsible for automating labor to conservatives, but it’s a major oversimplification.

MelonCollie on March 18, 2013 at 4:46 PM

What a moron!!!! You people in Massachusetts are really a brain trust! How, or why you elected that stupid, liar, I will never fathom. Of course, your legacy is John-I-served-in-Vietnam-Kerry, and Bawney-not-in-my-basement Fwank, and Ted-swimmer-Kennedy…… Geez!!!!!!!!!!

ultracon on March 18, 2013 at 5:03 PM

Another suggestion that “sounded like a good [political/populist] idea at the time” by politicians who will only pay a price, if they ever do, for that idea long after the damage has been done. (which is why I doubt the ones who enacted such would ever pay a price).

Employers hire people because they expect to get more on their bottom line than the costs of the people (pay, taxes, insurance, benefits) and people accept job offers because they expect to get more out of being employed (like being able to live) than fending for themselves. Raise the costs (transactional costs) of an employee hire enough and employers will become very, very picky about who they do hire and will also seek other means, such as robots and technology, to reduce those labor costs.

I do not doubt that Elizabeth Warren feels that ‘why not have a $22/hr minimum wage’ because it is likely that she would never consider taking a $7.25/hr (current Federal minimum wage) because she has alternatives (like working as a Senator or a Professor or a consultant). It is highly unlikely that, with her education and credentials, she would not be able to get a nice paying job somewhere that pretty much fits her expectations.

She must really think that the same number of jobs would be available if minimum pay was $22/hr as at $7.25/hr.

Russ808 on March 18, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Uh, no, it’s because computers can do way the hell more number-crunching and do it way more accurately. It is physically impossible for even 100 secretaries to do as much as a single computer can. And the other big reason is that computers won’t sue you if you drop a cup of hot coffee on them by accident…or more horribly, if a bolt gives and they get hideously injured.

I know min-wage laws have a near-mythical status as being responsible for automating labor to conservatives, but it’s a major oversimplification.

MelonCollie on March 18, 2013 at 4:46 PM

When it comes to writing reports and creating presentations, faster and more accurate number crunching is not the key feature (not directly anyway).
And what I said is not an oversimplification at all. Why do you think you pump your own gas now when a crew of people used to come out and pump your gas, clean your windows, air up your tires? That all used to be standard service when you got gas. Labor costs drove technology to be able to cut those labor costs. And why were computers and other “labor saving devices” created? At least partly because there was an interest in reducing the human labor force, or making the people more productive – either way because of the cost and those things you mentioned (like lawsuits) and the need to get an edge on the competition.

In 1989 (before you were born?), I was with a high tech company doing software maintenance for the Air Force. We had lots of secretaries (about 1 secretary for every 5 to 10 engineers), and they were nearly the only ones in the company with personal computers – to be used as not much more than fancy typewriters to type up reports, letters, and documents. We did the programming on government mainframe computers on base, but had to hand write reports and letters on paper and give it to a secretary to be typed up, then reviewed, and retyped, and repeat until it was perfect. About that time, some of the management was looking at buying a bunch more PCs (486 was the top end), so one of our VPs did a study and determined that we had a whopping 1 PC for every 5 employees – so why would we want more PCs “just to turn our engineers into secretaries?” We got more PCs and headed into the modern world, and eventually that VP was told to retire. But the bottom line with this was we had a lot of unnecessary employees who were getting more and more expensive, so management needed a technology improvement, and a change in how we did our jobs to save money and make the company more efficient – which would hopefully give us a competitive advantage for new contracts.

dentarthurdent on March 18, 2013 at 5:10 PM

I know min-wage laws have a near-mythical status as being responsible for automating labor to conservatives, but it’s a major oversimplification.

MelonCollie on March 18, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Ummm — no. I believe that minimum wage laws reduce employment, but I do not believe that they are the sole impetus for automating. I started high school in fall of 1962 (yes, I am older than dirt), and the walls of the cafeteria were plastered with posters telling us kids that the robots were coming and that we needed to up our game in order to get the good jobs that would be coming with automation. Most people believed back then that automation would release people from the necessity of dirty, exhausting manual labor. We were all destined to join the white collar brigades. Many of us still believe that automation has eliminated many of those horrible jobs, and opened up limitless possibilities for the people who are willing to take the chance.

My son-in-law has a four-year degree in IT, and makes more per year than his wife’s entire family put together. At the same time, though, he and his fellow geeks are constantly dinking around, trying to put together a killer app that will make them as rich and famous as Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. And, as his mother-in-law, I am rooting for him 24/7 so I can eventually sponge enough off of his wife to actually retire.

catsandbooks on March 18, 2013 at 5:18 PM

The stupid is strong in this woman.

Equating a minimum wage job to sustaining a middle class life is a ridiculous argument.

can_con on March 18, 2013 at 5:29 PM

We did the programming on government mainframe computers on base, but had to hand write reports and letters on paper and give it to a secretary to be typed up, then reviewed, and retyped, and repeat until it was perfect.

dentarthurdent on March 18, 2013 at 5:10 PM

I know a guy who used to work as a civil engineer for a humongous construction company. The company provided the engineering department with a secretary. This woman had been the department’s secretary since the beginning of time. The engineers were able to drop a stack of scribbled on paper napkins, scratch paper, matchbook backs, etc. on her desk on Monday, and by Tuesday, she had created the finished bid for a project. My friend says the engineers all cried the day she retired and they had to write up their own bids.

catsandbooks on March 18, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Warren’s been at that fire water again.

Sherman1864 on March 18, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Between the end of World War II and the late 1960s, productivity and wages grew steadily. Since the minimum wage peaked in 1968, increases in productivity have outpaced the minimum wage growth.

Funny, right about 1969 is when a lot of competition to American industry dug out from under the rubble of World War II. Was the 1968 minimum wage a reflection of the value of the labor alone, or the value of the labor absent global competition?

Sekhmet on March 18, 2013 at 5:36 PM

This part really bugs me. It presumes that all the low and no skilled labor making minimum wage is somehow owed that “other $14.75″ for doing such vital work for society as mopping floors and putting salt on fries.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2013 at 2:08 PM

So do the people that mop the floor do it that much faster? Are there that many fewer workers required to make a Big Mac? Or is the increase in productivity at more advanced levels and reflected in the higher compensation for workers at that level?

So much stupidity in one small person.

talkingpoints on March 18, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Elizabeth Warren obviously, not Happy Nomad.

talkingpoints on March 18, 2013 at 5:55 PM

All of these Dem economic policies worked quite well in the SimCity modelling software

rofl

dcnj on March 18, 2013 at 5:57 PM

She must really think that the same number of jobs would be available if minimum pay was $22/hr as at $7.25/hr.

Russ808 on March 18, 2013 at 5:07 PM

I suspect the problem lies elsewhere. Most liberals seem to believe that a minimum wage worker never moves beyond that point. If you are hired at minimum wage, you never receive a raise, you never improve your job skills in order to earn a promotion, you never do anything except work at minimum wage for the rest of your entire life.

catsandbooks on March 18, 2013 at 6:02 PM

What should we name the place? Whatever we name it, the tagline should be “Thank you, Senator Warren!”

GWB on March 18, 2013 at 2:19 PM

How do you like ABM? acronym for Automatic Burger Machine. Or BurgerBox!

One delivery driver with a route checks their BurgerBoxes every couple of days. This could work with other kinds of food as well.

Automated stock pickers would be more efficient, but for sheer badassery of the robot kind, ED-209 every time.

LincolntheHun on March 18, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Agreed.

dogsoldier on March 18, 2013 at 6:07 PM

I suspect the problem lies elsewhere. Most liberals seem to believe that a minimum wage worker never moves beyond that point. If you are hired at minimum wage, you never receive a raise, you never improve your job skills in order to earn a promotion, you never do anything except work at minimum wage for the rest of your entire life.

catsandbooks on March 18, 2013 at 6:02 PM

That’s a very good point. They do see the labor market as static – not dynamic. They have no clue that people who started at minimum wage 5 years ago may be making twice as much now. That mentality is seen every time a union claims their members “have not gotten a pay raise in 5 years”. BS – individuals got lots of raises as they gained skills and experience.

dentarthurdent on March 18, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Don’t laugh or dismiss the senator’s question too hastily. She is, in effect, asking the same question conservative economists have been asking with derision for years. The question is valid, though she comes at it from an entirely different angle than,say, Milton Friedman. I would hold that that question should be asked every time the MW is increased. It shows the absurdity of liberal policies. If eliminating poverty were as easy as raising the MW to $20, $30, or $40, then poverty would have gone the way of the horse and buggy..in theory. But liberals do not want to eliminate poverty, they want to extend it and make it as intractable as they can.
SO let the question be asked many times everyday: if we want to end poverty, why not raise MW to $55 an hour? You’ll soon the liberal economic thought buckle under its own pathetic feather weight.

stop2think on March 18, 2013 at 6:11 PM

The stupid is strong in this woman.

Equating a minimum wage job to sustaining a middle class life is a ridiculous argument.

can_con on March 18, 2013 at 5:29 PM

This is the sort of statement made by someone who is completely clueless about who works these jobs, or what they are all about. In fact she is just generally disconnected from reality, which we already knew.

dogsoldier on March 18, 2013 at 6:13 PM

There is no flipping way that the minimum wage should be within a few nickles of the starting wage for an RN. Minimal pay for minimal skills.

jollycynic on March 18, 2013 at 6:28 PM

There is no flipping way that the minimum wage should be within a few nickles of the starting wage for an RN. Minimal pay for minimal skills.

jollycynic on March 18, 2013 at 6:28 PM

I’d be ok with college professors (like Fauxcahontas) making the same wage as burger flippers…..

dentarthurdent on March 18, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Ah yes, a blog post where an author only links to their own, past blog posts to back up their point while ignoring every single economic study that has proved the opposite. ZZZZZ

Rainsford on March 18, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Go ahead and raise the minimum wage, then low skilled and entry level workers will be replaced by machines.
Your next WalMart greeter may look like Ed-209, kinda cool, and it would reduce shoplifting.

LincolntheHun on March 18, 2013 at 1:25 PM

A WalMart I frequent used to have self-service checkouts. It’s been a few years now, but they recently brought them back. I think you’ll see more of that.

rickv404 on March 18, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Massachusetts is just one festering vile septic tank. They send the worst of the worst to represent them and we all get to pay for it. Over and over and over again.

A pathetic joke of a state.

acyl72 on March 18, 2013 at 8:24 PM

I was going to say that Elizablech is a one-woman argument against women sticking to traditional roles, but then I wondered just how much the world needs her reproducing…

MelonCollie on March 18, 2013 at 8:31 PM

A WalMart I frequent used to have self-service checkouts. It’s been a few years now, but they recently brought them back. I think you’ll see more of that.

rickv404 on March 18, 2013 at 8:06 PM

It’ll be awhile yet before they can make one that isn’t a headache to store staff. Have they outsourced all the programming for those things?

MelonCollie on March 18, 2013 at 8:32 PM

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