Why Democrats Desperately Need the Minimum Wage Issue

One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

The principle necessity for any politician or political Party is to appear as though they care. Caring is the first, and most important piece of politics. If you care, it means you will always do what you believe is right for the American people. A leader who empathizes with the difficulties of his constituents is also less likely to become the subject of unreasonable attack. Just as people who like their doctor on a personal level are less likely to sue them in the event of possible malpractice, a people who personally like their leader will take care before raising any issues.

On a recent episode of CNN’s Crossfire, the table was discussing the issue of raising the minimum wage. After the debate got moving, and Van Jones did his smug monologue, Democrat Congresswoman Barbara Lee said:

In California, more than likely from what I remembered, a living wage where people could live and take care of their families and move toward achieving the American dream was about $25, $26 an hour.”

She was then pressed by Newt Gingrich regarding such an astoundingly high number, and what she said may shock you:

Newt: “Would you support that as the minimum wage for California?”

Lee: “Absolutely, I would support it for California…”

Newt: “And you don’t think that would affect unemployment?”

Lee: “No, Newt. Trust me…”

Not shocked?! Yeah, neither was I. Let’s go over some numbers.

DISCLAIMER: Some reading this will immediately disregard the following numbers because they come from a conservative organization. However, these numbers can be found in numerous other places. But go ahead, disregard, if it makes you feel smart, or discerning. You know who you are.

According to The Heritage Foundation, only 1.1% of the United States labor force earns at or below the minimum wage, and of those 1.1 percenters, 53% are between the ages of 16 and 24. Of those 16-24 year-olds, the average family income sits at approximately $64,000 annually. Finally, in total, the percentage of minimum wage earners who are at or below the poverty line is 19.5%.

These numbers aren’t meant to dismiss the struggles of the poor, but to highlight the real problem, and the lengths to which the Democrats will go to bury the truth, all while appearing wildly compassionate. The real problem is unemployment. Not those who are looking for work, but those who have left the workforce entirely. The number of Americans who have left the workforce is 92 million strong. So, as unemployment falls, the real numbers show a different side of the story. The longer Obama has been president, more, and more Americans are just giving up.

Now, let’s take into account all the negatives of raising the minimum wage. It would cause businesses to hire fewer employees, and reduce the hours of their current employees in order to compensate for the wage increase. According to The Blaze:

There is disagreement on how many jobs would be lost, but economists generally agree: if you raise the minimum wage, some jobs will be lost.  But the American people never hear that.”

Additionally, raising the minimum wage would do little to eliminate poverty. According to a study by Doctors Sabia, and Neilson of the Employment Policies Institute:

Our results provide little evidence that raising the minimum wage has been effective in reducing poverty or material hardship…higher minimum wages do little to improve income inequality…

Given the negative consequences of raising the minimum wage, the minute participation, and the negligible effect it has on eliminating income inequality, why do Democrats insist on making the minimum wage increase 2014’s flagship issue? It all comes back to compassion—rather, it comes back to making people think the Democrats are compassionate.

In the face of potentially devastating losses in the upcoming mid-terms, the Democrats have to pivot away from issues that make them look bad, like Obamacare, Russia, Israel, the economy, etc. They need to look like they care. They need good PR, really. So, they’ve grabbed hold of this issue, and made it into a behemoth. It makes them look so good to be trumpeting an increased minimum wage.

If your politician cares about you, you’re less likely to throw them out of office. It’s a sinking ship strategy. Personally, I don’t want to save a ship full of rats, and I hope the American people will see through the smoke and mirrors come November.