Minimum Wage, Minimum Thought
On Friday, Hillary Clinton made a campaign appearance on behalf of Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate, Martha Coakley. In a lackluster, disconnected performance, Clinton embarrassed herself by explaining her theories of minimum wage, job creation and trickle-down economics. Her thoughts were so whacky that they will surely come back to haunt her in two short years.
First, Clinton denied that raising the minimum wage was a job killer. As proof, she stated, “I been through this.” By that she meant the minimum wage hike while Bill was President and the hike that occurred during the Bush administration.
She praised her husband alleging that he “gave working families a raise in the 1990s.” She also praised herself for voting during the Bush Presidency to raise the wage. She claimed that, as a result of Clinton’s gift and her vote, millions of higher paying jobs were created.
Hillary then went on to say, “Don’t let anybody, don’t let anybody tell you that, uh, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.” She explained by saying, “You know that old theory, trickle-down economics, that has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.”
Sometimes, when people say stupid things, it is difficult to know where to begin in reply. But not this time. Her stumbling delivery aside, Hillary made two claims: (a) raising the minimum wage creates millions of jobs; (b) businesses and corporations do not create jobs because trickle-down economics is a failure.
The entire support for her first claim is Hillary’s declaration that “I been through this.” She then referred to two data blips in the 76-year history of the minimum wage, the hike in the 1990s and the later Bush hike. She’s right that those hikes did occur, although she’s wrong that President Clinton gave the first one to the masses. Like Bush, he merely signed the legislation passed by Congress.
Hillary is also wrong in her claim that millions of higher paying jobs were the result of those two actions. She has to know better than to make that claim because she was in the Senate when Bush signed the second increase into law.
The Bush hike was in three phases, beginning in 2007 and ending in mid-2009. Those were also the years of The Great Recession when unemployment in the U.S. doubled from 5% to 10%. By the end of the Recession in 2009, our unemployment rate was higher than most industrialized countries.
The number of jobs created since the Recession is still less than the number lost during the Recession. Worse, most observers attribute the recent drop in the unemployment rate to the fact that millions of people have stopped looking for work. (To the government, people are unemployed only if they have no job AND are seeking employment.) No economist credits the Bush minimum wage hike for creating a single job.
Hillary’s second claim that businesses and corporations do not create jobs is erroneous. First, corporations are businesses. Much more importantly, there is no serious debate over whether they create jobs. The debate is over which business segment creates the most jobs, start-ups, small businesses or large corporations.
Lastly, Clinton’s attempt to tie the alleged lack of job creation by businesses to trickle-down economics is both confused and foolish. Trickle-down economics is not a job creation theory. It is a wealth distribution pseudo-theory. The label was a spurious attempt to ridicule Reagan’s tax cuts by claiming that only the rich benefit directly. The rest of us are left to hope that the rich will spend enough of their gains to eventually trickle down into our wallets.
Hillary’s speech contained so many flawed chestnuts from the very far left that it should disqualify her from residing in the White House again. It also makes the listener wonder what has happened to her mental faculties. It appears that the new jerk in her knee has managed to jar the brain out of her head.