Two things about this. First, I think it probably does fairly represent Tlaib’s and the Squad’s approach to policy generally, which is really just to take whatever the current progressive conventional wisdom is and super-size it. Progressives want softer borders? F*** that. AOC’s ready to get rid of borders. Progressives want to return to the Paris Accord? F*** that. The Squad is prepared to reorganize America’s economy to fight climate change.
Progressives want a $15 minimum wage? F*** that. Ringo will give you $20. And then, when that becomes prog orthodoxy, she’ll demand $25.
Why not? When your proposals stand no chance of becoming law, you might as well get crazy with the policy cheez whiz. Basic negotiation strategy: Ask for the sun, the moon, and the stars initially and maybe you’ll get one or two of them in the final compromise. And if you don’t, no problem. You signaled your progressive virtue by demanding the utmost in “economic justice.”
The second point is that we couldn’t ask for more in having her demand this at a moment when Bernie Sanders’s campaign is struggling to pay field organizers the $15/hour he wants to set as national policy. Read this post yesterday for background on that. The problems Team Bernie is encountering on a micro level trying to find the money to make that possible are the same problems CBO sees happening on a macro level if the federal minimum wage rises: Hours will need to be scaled back and some workers will need to be laid off. And God only knows how much higher the minimum wage will eventually need to be to help pay for Medicare for All once taxpayers realize that “free” health care isn’t free.
In a better world, Bernie’s disgruntled staffers would see this clip and immediately demand $20/hour from the campaign. Let Sanders and Ringo hash it out in public whether that’s fair or not.
Exit question via Philip Klein: “[I]s there a level at which Democrats believe the government could set a minimum wage that would be so high that the negative effects would outweigh the positive effects?” He wants that one asked at next week’s debate.