Wages in the United States have been stagnating for decades. Before we even talk about what to do about it, I believe it’s important for us to understand some of the root causes and how changes in policy can effect wages positively without direct government intervention. It’s not that I’m opposed to government involving itself. It’s that I believe government intervention should be a last rather than a first resort–after we have exhausted all attempts to fix it in the free-market. The number of workers relative to the numbers of jobs available plays a significant role in wages. When there are more jobs than workers, companies have to pay more money and offer better incentives to get and keep good workers.
When there are more workers than jobs, companies can, and do, pay less. Starting after World War II, we started adding workers to be economy at a much faster rate than we added jobs. Women went to work and those that didn’t stayed home and raised baby boomers who 20 years later entered the workforce themselves. We started curing diseases and other things that previously kept people out of the workforce. We stopped dying as often in wars and all of these great things affected the economy from the standpoint that we have had continuous gluts of workers without continuous gluts of jobs.
This worker glut, and not greed on the part of rich people is what has most contributed to stagnation of wages. Rich people have never spent any more than they had to in order to complete their objectives. Some would argue that immigration has been a factor, but research suggests that immigration has proven itself a net positive rather than a net negative in terms of job creation. Globalization/ outsourcing, on the other hand, while excellent for the world as a whole, has taken a toll on our net domestic jobs to worker ratio, but not to any degree that will not be solved over the next ten years as baby boomers retire. By implementing my tax strategy simultaneously with the mass retirement of baby boomers, I believe we will create a workers’ market wherein companies will have to pay more to get and keep good workers. I call this “organic growth of the minimum wage.”
I’m not convinced that will be enough to jumpstart the economy all by itself, and so I propose a modest minimum wage increase, with a single caveat: I believe that most people in our country have been let down by our education system and as such, millions of American families live hand to mouth with little to no understanding of financial instruments and good financial practices and that will result in growing the money they earn, no matter the level so that those disciplined enough to abide by those principles can become prosperous regardless of net pay from active employment. My caveat for supporting a minimum wage increase is a government sponsored marketing campaign to educate adults and young people on these issues so that going forward there will be less need for continued government intervention into worker pay. It is my contention that we owe financial education to the American public and that the net result will be a more prosperous citizenry. We have to invest in our own people.
My administration will be mindful of the fact that it does no good to tell people with no boots to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. That means being both generous and smart with the best good in mind for those whom religion refers to as “the least of these, my brethren,” and whom the constitution calls “we the people.” We can and we will do better by our people.