Mitt’s Minimal Effort

The Marquis de Mittens and Larry Kudlow get their monocles and harrumphing on over the soshulist redistribution ploy known as “minimum wage”.  Now, Kudlow’s bad enough by himself…

“A lot of conservatives led by the Wall Street Journal editorial page were horrified when you said you want to index the minimum wage for inflation,” CNBC host Larry Kudlow said. “They said, look, that’s just going to raise the minimum wage. That’s going to raise the unemployment rate, especially for young people, especially for minorities. Why do you want to raise the minimum wage?

Yeah, let’s pause here for a sec.  In Kudlow’s world, raising the minimum wage equals more unemployment, because really jobs exist out there where $7.25 an hour is just too awful.  Why, if we cut that in half, we could hire twice as many people and lower unemployment, especially for minorities (because hey, menial labor is all those people are good for.)  Heck, we eliminate the minimum wage, we could have zero unemployment!  Utopia accomplished!  Sure, it’s not like $3.50 a hour is a living wage or anything, but we can call it “workfare”.

Meanwhile Mittens devours his own foot again.

Romney responded by noting that as governor, he had vetoed a bill to raise the minimum wage in Massachusetts.

“I vetoed it and I said, look, the way to deal with minimum wage is this: On a regular basis, I said in the proposal I made, every two years, we should look at the minimum wage, we should see what’s happened to inflation, we should also look at the jobs level throughout the country, unemployment rate, competitive rates in other states or, in this case, other nations,” he said.

“So, certainly, the level of inflation is something you should look at and you should identify what’s the right way to keep America competitive,” Romney continued. “So that would tell you that right now, there’s probably not a need to raise the minimum wage.”

If we got rid of the minimum wage, we could be more labor-price competitive with countries like Haiti, Somalia, China and Tonga.  So, there’s that.   This is how President Bain Capital here would solve America’s problems.  We don’t have working poor.  They’re making $7.25 an hour!  How can you be poor if you’re making that much money?  Heck, we cut that minimum wage, have states compete for corporations by seeing how low wages they can offer to enslave their workers,and that profit will trickle down to the working stiffs automatically!  It’s the Laffer Curve of wage pricing, cut wages by enough and total incomes will skyrocket and lift all boats and stuff.  Boom, competition creates winning.

What utter nonsense.   But the most striking thing is that once again, Mitt can’t help himself.  He honestly believes this stuff because to him, $7.25 isn’t an hourly wage, it’s a breakfast tip amount.  In America, you can get that waiting tables.  How can there be poor people in America when that happens?  So why raise the minimum wage?  You guys making $11,500 a year?  You’ll be fine.  Just get a better job.  This is America.

Just look at Mitt Romney.

51 replies
  1. 1
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    In my attempt to read Wealth of Nations – and PJ O’Rourke’s book about it – one of the best things I have discovered is that one of Smith’s premises is that money is a fiction we use to make transactions easier. It’s a good thing to keep in mind when talking about money or thinking about people like Mitt.

  2. 2
    cathyx says:

    But if we lowered wages like those third world countries, we’d have to live in shacks too. And probably walk to work.

  3. 3
    Princess says:

    A friend in Athens OH said she just voted and had never seen so many people at the polls before. The university is there, but it is also the southern, Santorum part of the state I believe. So maybe his people are turning out for him.

    You can see from this post why Mitt has nothing to offer them.

  4. 4
    kdaug says:

    So we index minimum wage to the wages in Burundi and the Congo?


  5. 5
    flukebucket says:

    “From each as much as I can possibly get, to each the least I can possibly give.” From the Sermon on the Mount by Trickle Down Jesus

  6. 6
    Steve says:

    Is the minimum wage really $7.25 an hour? Back when I was a kid making minimum wage I think I got $3.35. Sign of age.

    Now that I’m a hot-shot “job creator,” honestly I can’t even imagine the scenario where I’d have a menial task that needs doing, but I’d say “shit, if I have to pay someone a whopping $7.25 an hour, I’m not going to bother to hire anyone.” It’s hard for me to believe that incremental changes in the minimum wage have any measurable effect on employment at all, even at the margins.

  7. 7
    West of the Cascades says:

    Some other blogger or commenter suggested a few weeks ago, tongue-in-cheek, that the only thing Romney and the GOP hadn’t done yet to insult large segments of American voters was to threaten to bring back slavery. I’m not so sure now that they aren’t going to get there before this primary campaign is over.

  8. 8
    cathyx says:

    @Steve: I believe it was $2.25 when I was in highschool.

  9. 9
    Sargent Pepper's Spray says:

    There are a whole host of Dickensian institutions we could bring back, but debtors prison would be my favorite. Half the country would be locked up. Think of the win!

  10. 10
    walt says:

    The Bain Capital plutocrat knows whereof he speaks. He found productive companies, made them lean and mean by reducing labor costs, and then celebrated the America where making $9/hour at Staples can be considered a success. But why $9? Why not $5? Wouldn’t Staples be even more profitable if they got rid of the wage floor altogether? Oh, to plant this worm in Larry Kudlow’s coked-up head.

  11. 11
    Mino says:

    How does it feel to be treated as just another resource to be extracted?

  12. 12
    JPL says:

    Food Stamps are part of the safety net because families can’t live on $7.25 and hour. The same folks that want to rid the country of the minimum wage, want to do away with food stamps.

  13. 13
    Rommie says:

    @West of the Cascades: Hey, a little indentured servitude is character-building. We shouldn’t burden small businesses by dictating what they have to pay their workers.

    I really do wonder, if given a reset button and a guarantee of no bad consequences, how many people would think slavery is acceptable and put it back into practice. I’m thinking it might be around a certain number that pops up a lot, and that makes me feel ill and hope it’s way smaller than that.

  14. 14
    Jamie says:

    Time to bring back workhouses and debtors prisons? Just imagine how much character we could develop.

  15. 15
    Mary Jane says:

    If there was a just God, Ann “I don’t consider myself wealthy” Romney would be cleaning toilets for $7.25 an hour.

  16. 16
    Argive says:


    Peter Schiff (you know, the guy who predicted Zimbabwe-style hyperinflation in 2010 . . . and 2011) said recently that the minimum wage has priced teenagers out of jobs. Because, you know, the economy is doing so well right now that there’s no other reason why a 16 year old shouldn’t be able to get a job, right?

  17. 17
    Sargent Pepper's Spray says:

    Marry Romney’s elimination of the minimum wage to Newt’s orphanages and this looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

  18. 18
    Cacti says:

    The purchasing power of minimum wage peaked in 1968, and has gone down in constant dollars ever since.

    If we indexed it to inflation since that time, the current federal minimum wage would be…

    $10.14 per hour.

  19. 19
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:


    It was $2 an hour 40 years ago, but remember that would be close to, if not more than, $12 an hour now. So it’s been steadily decreasing all my working life.

    (I could be all wet—the $2 could just be here in Washington, and it was less nationwide. It’s like $8.50 here now.)

  20. 20
    Cap'n Swag says:

    Terrific post. I don’t think there’s any chance in hell a President Romney would attempt this, but maybe I’m giving him too much credit.

    It’s interesting how the two candidates see us. Romney views as just another resource waiting to be exploited. And the cheaper the labor gets, the richer his friends will get. When Romney looks at us, I honest to God don’t think he sees human beings. He’s incapable of such a thing.

    Santorum, OTOH, sees us as people who must be controlled for our own good. He’s basically acting out his frustrations with being Catholic. My theory is that God-botherers who proselytize like Santorum does are trapped by their own existence. Santorum probably hates being Catholic, but the guilt he would feel overtakes anything else. In return, he wants to punish the rest of us who aren’t guilted into believing someone’s interpretation of the Bible.

    It just proves authoritarian the right-wing has become.

  21. 21
    ericblair says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    In my attempt to read Wealth of Nations – and PJ O’Rourke’s book about it – one of the best things I have discovered is that one of Smith’s premises is that money is a fiction we use to make transactions easier.

    A lot of Our Betters seem to think the purpose of money is money. Ask them what the purpose of the economy is, and see if you get any answer at all.

  22. 22
    Bulworth says:

    That’s going to raise the unemployment rate, especially for young people, especially for minorities.

    Isn’t that sweet? MR. CNBC cares about those people. /

    Also, too: I’m pretty sure the Free Market loves them some high unemployment. Because it means the dirty hippy liberal slackers will be begging for work.

  23. 23
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    “It doesn’t matter how much you make, you won’t feel rich.”

    — Mrs. Mittens

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    One of the other things that Smith is adamant about is that if you don’t pay the people who do the actual work adequately, you’re cutting off your own nose to spite your face.

    Not that OvenMitt is clueful enough to realize that, of course, being a greedy shitstain.

  25. 25
    cathyx says:

    @Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937: I hope she doesn’t have to sell one of her cadillacs to make ends meet.

  26. 26
    redshirt says:

    Is this not the entire point of Globalization? Cheaper than hell wages over there –> move industries over there –> destroy Unions/wages here –> Profit???

  27. 27
    JCT says:

    I was at the gym recently being assaulted by Fox Noise on the TeeVees and they were going to town over how gas prices were Obama’s fault and how ridiculously “high” the minimum wage was. I think it was that asshole Cavuto who kept saying why should we be forced to pay someone $7.25 an hour if the job wasn’t worth that much, while all the Tea Partiers around me started vocally agreeing. It was awesome, I felt like belting them all with the free weights.

    What job isn’t worth $7.25 and hour? It was insane.

  28. 28
    PeakVT says:

    That’s going to raise the unemployment rate, especially for young people, especially for minorities. Why do you want to raise the minimum wage?”

    As usual, Cokeblow is full of crap.

  29. 29
    West of the Cascades says:

    @Rommie: reading various materials on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, there are so many rationalizations by confederates that slaves were so well off and peaceful and happy under the “peculiar institution.” Since the confederate party hasn’t disappeared, but just been wrapped into the modern GOP, the number of people who would say that slavery is acceptable is probably (sadly) larger than we think. Eight years ago I never imagined we’d have a sizeable portion of the population agreeing that torturing people was legitimate.

  30. 30
    Schlemizel says:

    They can’t say it any plainer people. Our masters will not be happy until we return to those golden years at the start of the last century. You will work for what the feel like paying you, shut up and enjoy it. They will continue to accumulate wealth at obscene levels and flaunt it in continually more ostentatious displays of wretched excess.

    The difference this time is that the current technology will allow them to crush organizations that oppose them and eliminate people who speak out against them with a ruthless efficiency the Rockefeller, Gould, Carnegie types could only have dreamed of.

  31. 31
    Steve says:

    By the way, indexing the minimum wage to inflation might be better for Democratic voters on the merits, but politically it would probably benefit Republicans because it saves them from having to take a politically unpopular stand on the issue every so often. Republican politicians are probably unhappy that gasbags like Kudlow keep getting in the way of their efforts to pull this off.

  32. 32
    Boots Day says:

    It’s really not that complicated: If you raise the minimum wage, those working-class people will have more money in their pockets, and will be some day be able to buy a flat-screen TV or get flames painted on their Camaro. By circulating more money through the economy, we all get richer.

    It really shocks me how much basic economics people like Kudlow and Romney – who really do know better – have to ignore in order to pander to their audiences.

  33. 33
    Hungry Joe says:

    My parents were small/medium businesspeople. My father used to say that you don’t hire people because you can pay them so little, you hire them because you need a job to be done, and if you can’t pay them a decent wage you shouldn’t be in business.

  34. 34
    General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero) says:

    The American economy is improving faster than expected, according to an Associated Press survey of leading economists


    “The economists think the unemployment rate will fall from its current 8.3% to 8% by Election Day. That’s better than their 8.4% estimate when surveyed in late December. By the end of 2013, they predict unemployment will drop to 7.4 percent, down from their earlier estimate of 7.8%.

    If this pans out, expect the wingnut war on sanity to reach defcon 3, maybe even 4. Next up, GOP proposes testing mother’s milk for gawd noes what reason.

  35. 35 I try to be amused says:

    I’ve been hoping Republicans would make a full-throated defense of the race to the bottom. Make them own it.

  36. 36
    Yutsano says:

    I’ve been waiting for the high minimum wage here ($9.04, indexed to inflation) to kill the Washington economy. Last time I checked Boeing and Microsoft were still humming along (and both are hiring like crazy right now). If Kudlow were correct we should be an economic basket case. Someone is forgetting to carry a two.

  37. 37
    gene108 says:

    I feel sorry for Mitt. He may have made a good Republican Presidential candidate 30 or 40 years ago. The Party’s just left folks like him, who want to be pro-business owner and not bother about religion or social issues and maybe even create some sort of social safety net that falls within their political philosophy, out in the cold.

    He can’t run on his record as governor because of his socialist health care law.

    He can’t run on his business experience, because it makes him seem more cold and heartless than a candidate should be perceived as.

    He can’t run on his idea about indexing the minimum wage, because you have “free market purists” like Kudlow, who want to do away with every labor law and workers rights gained throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries. Sure Romney probably doesn’t want to raise the minimum wage, but damn indexing it to inflation sure sounds a lot better in theory than abolishing the minimum wage, because the minimum wage is very, very popular.

    He can’t run on his deep conviction about his faith, because the Republican base thinks he belongs to a cult and not a real religion.

    The man’s trying to make do in a bad situation. Ambitious people don’t quit, which he could’ve done and retired. He’s 65, which isn’t a bad age to retire. I do feel sorry for him. In some alternate reality, where the Republican party didn’t get hijacked by the religious right and anti-government crackpots, he’d probably being a lot better based on his record as governor and his work in the private sector.

  38. 38
    RSA says:


    Food Stamps are part of the safety net because families can’t live on $7.25 and hour. The same folks that want to rid the country of the minimum wage, want to do away with food stamps.

    It’s all part of the package. They also want to do away with Medicare and Medicaid. If that means people will die sooner, there’s always the movement to eliminate abortion, which means a continuous supply of new workers. It’s starting to come together…

  39. 39
    MikeJ says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    If this pans out, expect the wingnut war on sanity to reach defcon 3, maybe even 4.

    5 is peace, 1 is nuclear war.

  40. 40
    IrishGirl says:

    Arizona is doing the same thing…they are voting today to put on the November ballet an initiative to tie the AZ min wage to the Federal. 6 years ago through a ballot initiative the people voted in a $7.65/hr wage (6 years ago fer crying out loud) and now the Legislature wants us to vote it down to the Federal level which is $7.25. Are they effin kidding? 25 years ago, when I started working busing table, I made $5.25 which was min wage. So in 25 years the min wage (using Federal) has only increased 2 stinking dollars. That’s insane. Over the last 6 years alone the inflation rate has spiked from 1% to 5% (from and I don’t think those numbers actually take into account many things they should. It is my understanding that the inflationary rate is tied to the Consumer Price Index but it SHOULD be tied to the Cost of Living index which takes many more things into consideration like taxes and intangibles such as education, medical care, etc. So one of the biggest expenses, health care, isn’t taken into account when we think of minimum wage. Also, child care! Back when only one person in a family worked, no child care was needed. But now that both parents work, somebody has to watch the kids and it is damn expensive. There are all kinds of changes that have occurred in the last few decades that the GOP refuses to acknowledge and therefore refuse to adjust minimum wages to deal with those rising costs. We have to force them to pull their heads out of the ground and deal with reality, here and now.

  41. 41
    General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero) says:


    Thanks, I always get those mixed up.

  42. 42
    Scott Alloway says:

    @The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge: When I started my first job on 1966, it was $1.25 ($0.95 training wage for a couple months, the $1.25). This was in Connecticut and I was 16 and in high school. Had a second job that paid $2.66. Boy, did I feel flush with cash in the summer. Don’t feel old. I AM old.

  43. 43
    HelpThe99ers says:

    From a 2004 briefing paper published by the EPI:

    In general, there is no valid, research-based rationale for believing that state minimum wages cause measurable job losses. Making the extreme case that the job losses are severe enough to show up in a noticeably elevated state unemployment rate is a wild extension of a largely unfounded theory.

    But then again, facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true.

  44. 44
    sagesource says:

    @Cacti: A few years back, the head of one of the local universities, who put himself through school back in the day by working at a gas station, decided to find out what that gas station would have to pay if someone were to do exactly what he did but in the present day. He found out to his shock that he’d have to find a gas station that would pay him over twenty dollars an hour.

  45. 45
    Gretchen says:

    @cathyx and steve: I win the old-folks stakes. It was $1.40 when I got my first job.

  46. 46
    Gretchen says:

    @Scott Alloway – oops, someone even (slightly) older than me. My first job was about 1969.

  47. 47
    b-psycho says:

    Gee, that walkback actually took longer than usual. Odd…

  48. 48
    El Cid says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero): I can’t look it up at the moment, but I believe that a fairly recent political science review held that the one key predictive variable in whether or not the incumbent party keeps the White House is not the level of unemployment, but whether or not it is decreasing in the months leading up to the election. If true, then this is a pretty strong favoring for re-election.

  49. 49
    General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero) says:

    @El Cid:

    I think it is true. And why the percent unemployed number is mostly just for political creatures like us and the pundits. When hiring is increasing, people see it in their own sphere of existence, not hanging on some number they see on teevee.

    Plus, the public has never blamed Obama for the econ crash, just that he fixes it on his watch, which is fair. Weekly new ui claims have been persistently at around 350,000 for weeks, well below the 400 large number that signals jobs are being created. we will know more friday.

  50. 50
    asiangrrlMN says:

    So let me get this straight. Making a million a year is not a lot of money if you’re a Producer, but making $7.25 an hour is mad monies if you’re working at, say, Mickey Dee’s? Everything is upside down in this world.

  51. 51
    Some Loser says:

    Mickey Dee’s? I hear my mother refer to McDonald’s as Mickey-Dee’s, too. Where did that phrase come from?

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