The American Conservative, a magazine founded by Pat Buchanan, is running a report calling for an increase of the minimum wage to $10-$12 an hour, nation wide. The report wasn’t written by the magazine’s own staffers, it’s a report from written and originally published by a think tank called The New America Foundation, which I’ve generally associated more with progressive causes than conservatism.
Full Story: The American Conservative: Raising American Wages…by Raising American Wages
I won’t go into the paper itself here, though I worry that small businesses might not be able to absorb that sort of brunt increase in wages, and I’m hardly a fiscal conservative. What’s interesting to me is this particle edge of the right that seems to be coming around to much of what the left has been saying for some time now (it reminds me of seeing liberals end up as conservatives during the Clinton years and following 9/11).
American Conservative has published a few other pieces that veer into this territory over the past few years, including an article saying that Hispanics don’t commit more crimes than whites, one on the revolt of the rich and the co-architect of Reagonomics Bruce Bartlett’s article disavowing Reagonomics, saying that Paul Krugman was right and that the Republican Party has lost touch with reality.
New York City Fast Food Workers Go On Strike, Demand $15 An Hour
November 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm
Perhaps paleo-conservatism is only sort-of-dead.
December 2, 2012 at 11:59 am
What this article is calling for is only what the minimum wage would be if it had kept up with inflation over the past four decades. Personally, I’d go further: a minimum wage of no less than 2/3 the average wage. Or, perhaps better, a basic income guarantee.
Part of the cost to small business could be defrayed by savings from decreased turnover. Moreover, increased wages mean not only that businesses will have to spend more on their workers, but also that workers will have more money to spend on the products of businesses, including small businesses. Don’t neglect the demand side of the equation.
Of course, it’s unlikely that even these factors combined could negate all costs to small business. The profitability of at least some would probably suffer. But this causes me no great concern. There is nothing inherently virtuous about small business, and no compelling reason for us to endorse protectionism vis-a-vis small businesses. Size isn’t what makes business bad. Exploitation is, and they’re all participants in that.
The correct demand for the here and now is not breaking corporations up into smaller firms, or promoting the latter at the expense at the former, but real, substantive public ownership, democratic planning, and workers’ control.
December 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm
And center-right magazine The Economist has a rundown of recent evidence that minimum wages might not be so bad after all:
(However, if my back-of-the-napkin calculations are correct then the U.S. minimum wage is already far above the 46% of the median wage  in the U.S., perhaps because the median wage is so damn low)