The economic illiteracy that is the Democratic campaign for president came to Alaska a few weeks ago. The most clueless candidate, former drifter, and now US Senator Bernie Sanders won the caucus over the Dowager Countess of Chappaqua, one Hillary Clinton. Sanders promised a national minimum wage of $15/hr, free college education, and to do his level best to kill off yet more resource development jobs here in Alaska.
Great, just what we need, another clown sitting 5,000 miles away dictating who works, who doesn’t, and what they get paid for here in Alaska.
A short analysis of Sanders’ promises is in order, if for no other reason than to understand the enormity of his lack of basic economic knowledge. But his is the sort of magical thinking that you get out of self-professed Socialists.
Up first is the $15 / hour minimum wage:
Seattle jacked up their minimum wage from $9.32 to $15 per hour about 10 months ago. Since then, employment has fallen by more than 11,000. The number of unemployed has risen by nearly 5,000. The city’s jobless rate has increased by a full percentage point. At least the Democrats in charge of Seattle got to pander to their union supporters.
Who gets hurt here?
A minimum wage hike is the heat seeking missile aimed squarely at new people in the workplace – the young, the uneducated, the poor, and those who have not yet learned basic job skills (showing up on time, being properly dressed, being ready to learn, follow directions, showing up sober) and the small businesses that hire them.
Unions love the minimum wage because it keeps competition from young people for their jobs tamped down. A number of their contracts are tied to the minimum wage, so when it increases, so do union wages. The Democratic Party likes the minimum wage, because the more people who are not working are eating the government cheese, creating more targets for campaign threats that such freebies will disappear if they don’t vote for Democrats. This continues the cycle to vote for freebies again and often.
Next is free college education:
The Democratic Congress, with Bernie Sanders’ vote, nationalized the college loan industry as part of the passage of Obamacare in March, 2010. Part of the legislation was a provision that does not allow anyone with a student loan to declare bankruptcy to discharge the debt.
Essentially, the Democrats have turned a college loan and its repayment into a vehicle that puts students with college loans into indentured servitude – slavery. They graduate to a crappy economy with few jobs and a few hundred thousands of dollars of outstanding debt to repay. They enter life, not on an even playing field, but a few hundred thousand dollars behind the starting line.
Now that they have officially been welcomed to the Democrat plantation, they will be treated to endless promises by Democratic candidates to waive, remove, or execute some other magical wand to make that debt go away. And like the inner-city single, black mother, who has voted Democrat over the last half century, they will continue to vote for Democrats who promise to relieve that crushing debt — election after election after election.
Final form of illiteracy is shutting down resource development:
Sanders’ wife was supposed to go to Dillingham and meet with regional tribal leaders. The visit was cancelled and replaced with a discussion with the United Tribes of Bristol Bay about the horrors of mining and the environmental disaster that would be the Pebble Mine.
Somehow nobody in the meeting seemed to be worried about the Donlin Creek Mine, the next watershed to the west, or Bristol Bay Native Corporation’s mining activity on the Alaska Peninsula. Perhaps because those project are being done by Natives, they are somehow more environmentally friendly than Pebble. I doubt it, though.
Economic illiteracy is at the heart of the Democratic campaign for office at every level. They show up like so many Johnny Appleseeds, sowing sweetness, light, and free stuff. Their voters eat that stuff right on up, never realizing that by electing liberals, they are actively destroying their opportunity for a prosperous future for themselves and their families.
But at least they will get to eat that government cheese.
Alex Gimarc lives in Anchorage since retiring from the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fishing and disabilities policies. His weekly column “Interesting Items” is a summary of news stories with substantive Alaska-themed topics. He is a small business owner and Information Technology professional.