Moving the goalposts to own the libs: The far-left's whiplash on a $15 minimum wage

MOCO Passes $15 Minimum Wage 8

There's a commandment among the far left: Democrats can do no right. And if they do something right, it must be wrong.

President Joe Biden campaigned on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and Democrats in the House passed legislation to do so in 2019. The bill, as usual, died in the legislative graveyard created by Mitch McConnell in the Senate.

But now, a newly Democratic Congress, with the backing of a Democratic President, have again introduced legislation to raise the minimum wage - which was last increased in 2009 - to $15 an hour by 2025. Just as importantly, the proposal from the President and Congressional Democrats finally addresses the shameful structural inequity of a sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, bringing it to parity with the standard minimum wage. For the first time since the enactment of the first federal minimum wage in 1938, the Democratic proposal also automatically indexes the minimum wage to median wage growth, meaning that it will grow automatically even beyond $15, without needing future Congressional intervention.

Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour is something the entire Democratic spectrum has rallied behind, and it enjoys broad popular support. But some people who should most be taking this as a win are, predictably, distressed.

The former top echelon of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign apparatus - who had all heaped praise on Sanders for campaigning on the 'bold' vision of a $15 minimum wage - has evidently decided that instead of working to finally make that vision a reality, they would prefer to play political games, move the goalposts, and undermine real, tangible progress that improves the lives of real people.

Even before Biden was sworn into office, Sanders's former campaign co-chair Rep. Ro Khanna previewed the far-left's intellectually dishonest assault strategy. Suddenly, instead of what he'd touted as part of the Sanders campaign, Khanna proclaimed that the minimum wage should be $23 an hour if it is to keep with the rise in productivity since the last time it was raised.

In addition to applying two separate sets of standards to Sanders and Biden, Khanna is also wrong.

The hourly minimum wage was last raised in 2009 to $7.25, pursuant to legislation a Democratic Congress enacted in 2007.  According to data from the Department of Labor, US labor productivity grew by an average of just 1.4% a year between 2007 and 2019. Productivity grown in the manufacturing sector was even more miniscule, at just 0.5%.

So, adjusting the minimum wage for growth in productivity "since the last time the minimum wage was changed" would yield a current minimum wage of just $8.44 an hour.

But you didn't adjust for inflation, I can hear critics saying. Even though that is irrelevant to debunking Khanna's made-up data, let's do that. The total inflation between 2009 and today is roughly 24%, which means the inflation and productivity-adjusted minimum wage today would be $10.47 an hour.

Still, Biden's proposal does not immediately raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour today. It raises it in steps to $15 by 2025. Assume the productivity growth and inflation of the last decade holds steady, and the hourly minimum wage in 2025 would be slightly below $14.

This is to say nothing of the fact that Ro Khanna himself cosponsored legislation in the last Congress that would raise the minimum wage to $15 by... drumroll please... 2025. Khanna wasn't alone. 205 House Democrats cosponsored the Raise the Wage Act in 2019, including every member of Congress who supported Bernie Sanders's presidential primary campaign in 2020.

It wasn't just them, either. Bernie Sanders himself introduced legislation in 2017 raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 and indexing it to overall wage growth thereafter, a proposal nearly identical to President Biden's proposal now. Note that Sanders's bill had a seven-year timeline for the increase, compared to the current Democratic bill's timeline of just four years.

Yet now, some of the same people appear, in essence, opposed to their own documented positions and incapable of taking 'Yes' for an answer.

Sanders's former National Press Secretary and podcaster Briahna Joy Gray, actor, former Sanders-surrogate, and far-left provocateur Susan Sarandon who famously endorsed Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016, and leftist celebrity professor Robert Reich, among others, are now pretending that the thing they spent the entire 2020 campaign season insisting on is obsolete and anything under a $25 minimum wage is an insult. There is not a drop of integrity in any of their arguments.

If this is giving you déjà vu of Republican legislators, who, during President Barack Obama's time in office, turned their backs on legislation they had previously voted for and even sponsored, you are not alone.

Just like Republicans then, this isn't about integrity or being truthful for the left; it's about fake outrage and undermining a Democratic president. They have created and advanced the false premise that pragmatism is weakness and the mendacious thesis that the Democratic Party - and mainstream Democrats - are too timid. No contrary fact or evidence is allowed to disturb this big lie at the very core of leftist ideologues.

So what do you do, when the people you view as your arch-enemy - the Democratic 'establishment' - starts doing things you had previously touted as bold and hounded the same Democrats for not getting fully on board with? You can't acknowledge that they could possibly be seeking similar policy goals as you; therefore, your policy goals now must change.

One reason conservatives are better at holding power than the left is because the right protects the people who are willing to deliver even partial victories for their priorities no matter the vices of those people, while the left attacks the people willing to deliver for them no matter what their virtues are. Leftists could have framed this as a win for them and mobilized and organized 'like the devil,' as the President would say, to get it passed. But that would undermine the core reason for their poutraged existence: to undermine Democrats, not to help people.

Instead of acknowledging Biden's boldness, the Professional Left is simply redefining whatever Democrats do as too timid. That helps them preserve outrage. The far left never cared about a $15 minimum wage, except to use it as a cudgel against Democrats. They don't care about poverty; they care about preservation of outrage.

 Never trust people for whom outrage, not results, is the reason for existing.