There are points of disagreement between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, but much on which they — and every other Republican candidate — are united:

Our Republican friends don’t want to raise the minimum-wage (though they decry income inequality).  They want to lower taxes on the rich and their corporations and eliminate the estate tax on billionheirs (though they decry income inequality).  They oppose measures to make income-enhancing higher education more affordable (though they decry income inequality).  And they despise unions.  Look at the unfair bargaining power it gives janitors, doormen, and hotel maids!  Though, really, truly, they decry income inequality.  Which today is higher than at any time since 1929.

It’s not that they favor the wealthy, it’s that with union wages, or a higher minimum wage, those janitor,  doorman, and hotel maid jobs would be shipped over to China.  (How, exactly?)  And manufacturing jobs?  Look how unions and high wages have devastated the German economy, which trails even Greece as a basket case.   (NOT.)

One of the Republicans at the last debate said that raising the minimum wage always costs jobs — but it’s no more true than their refrain, in 2000, that “by far the vast majority” of the benefits of George W. Bush’s tax plan would go to people at “the bottom of the economic ladder.”  Bill Clinton raised the minimum wage and 23 million jobs were added during his presidency.  George W. Bush let it fall each year (in real terms, adjusted for inflation) and fewer than one million jobs were created during his presidency.

Raising the minimum wage . . . which is a sort of national collective bargaining on behalf of non-union workers carried out by the people’s representatives in Congress (when they choose to represent the people, not billionaires) . . . cuts government deficits, three ways: more payroll tax is collected; less safety-net assistance is paid out; and the economy is stimulated by more consumer demand.  (Virtually 100% of additional money in the hands of the working poor gets spent; virtually no additional money in the hands of the non-working rich gets spent — they already buy all the goods and services they want.)

Yet — like so much that would be good for almost everyone (can you say: “Put people to work renewing our national infrastructure?”) — our Republican friends block it.

 

 

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