The Minimum Wage Economy

Governors Bobby Jindal (R-LA) and Dannel Malloy (D-CT) sparred at a press briefing outside the White House follow a National Governors Association meeting with the President. Politico reports that Jindal noted that the President placed great stress on raising the minimum wage during the meeting. “The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy. I think we can do better than that, I think America can do better than that.” He spoke out in favor of action such as reduced regulation or building the XL Pipeline that would benefit Louisiana’s oil and gas industry.

Malloy disagreed noting, “So let me just say that we don’t all agree that moving Canadian oil through the United States is necessarily the best thing for the United States economy.”

Jindal replied, “We think we can grow the economy. We think we can do better than the minimum wage economy.”

Jindal’s remarks do describe what some Americans are now seeing. Unemployment and underemployment are becoming the new normal in many places. We have a measure of prosperity here in the DC area that doesn’t exist in large sections of fly-over country. If Republicans can convince voters that they can do better, this will be a very bad year for Democrats. OTOH, if the voters continue to see Republicans as described by P. J. O’Rouke (“The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work, and then they get elected and prove it.”), …

26 thoughts on “The Minimum Wage Economy


  1. It used to be that minimum wage jobs were a stepping stone. Something you did while you were in school, wanting to get experience so you could move up, etc. By their nature they are unskilled positions that almost anyone with a pulse can fill. I’m not sure why now everyone thinks that these jobs that were never meant to support people for their entire lives must now fill that role.


  2. Ever wonder why two parents have to work when for decades we didn’t have too? Taxes, I am for raising slowly the minimum wage and for every corresponding percentage increase, food stamps and EIC as well as a cap on social security payments at 1200 a month be instituted.

    The Cap should apply to those who have other income over 50,000 a year – we shouldn’t be sending 3 and 4 thousand dollar monthly ss checks to public employees and some private employees who gamed the system.

    Another is to limit the states rights to block changes in retirement benefits for municipalities and other entities (see teachers) and to set a cap at 40% of highest last three years wages and to require 25 years service.

    We are spending more to retire people than we spent employing them, if the private sector can barely afford 40% retirements, why on earth did anyone think that the inefficient non income producing public sector could?


      • On the contrary, limits to Public sector retirement pensions supports the free market. As public sector pensions are paid from the tax money taken from the citizens (and not available to said citizens for use in the free market), limiting their pensions from wildly growing out of hand (as all governments are wont to do) is actually good for the free market economy. The Private sector is a different matter entirely and I would prefer to see their pensions to be what the market will bear, rewarding accomplishment. The larger the public sector the smaller the private sector and the weaker the economy.


      • I know you’re being sarcastic, but for the less perceptive (Hi, Bill!), let me point out that government jobs are the opposite of “free market”. A non-government employer has to convince someone to pay for their goods or services; a government can just take what it wants by force.


      • @Rob Crawford, per my commentary to LG below Government (at all levels) is an employer. They compete in the marketplace for labor (of all kinds). More importantly, in most systems you can parallel the CEO, the Board of Directors and Shareholders to Mayor/Manager/Governor/President, Town Council/Legislature and Citizenry/voters. To decry a situation in broad strokes smacks of statism and a lack of appreciation for the realpolitik (SWIDT Mr. President) of giving the shareholders (who are also the customers) what they want.

        If you dig a little deeper, you will find that the majority of local residents/taxpayers have no idea how their government is funded or the spending apportioned. What’s worse is their expectations for what a tax dollar can and should provide.


  3. Malloy ought to know better, considering the state his state is in. We were the only state in the union with NEGATIVE GDP growth last year. Somehow CT has one of the overall lower unemployment levels (7.4), but at my town is more like 10%, and I know a LOT of people who are unemployed or underemployed. It seems like almost anyone who loses a job in this area is automatically put in the state’s “won’t find a job before benefits run out” program. We already have a higher minimum wage than the national one, and it’s not helping much. Raising it another $2 won’t either. I would expect that employers would raise longer time employees who currently make just under the new minimum to that level, and no more, so they’ll have the same as the (very few) new hires.

    And yes, we need to do something about public sector retirement. The town next to us has police officers making more in retirement than their base pay when they retired! They get the average of their last three years, and that includes overtime, so everyone works LOTS of overtime during those years. In contrast, the military get 50% of their highest three base pay. So sub pay, sea pay, etc, don’t count at all. Nor does the housing allowance. So the on retirement you see a cut of a lot more than 50%.

    I’d go on, but every one here already knows all this stuff, and I’ve got to get one of the kids to the doctor’s. One advantage unemployment, you don’t have to worry about when to schedule appointments.

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