Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT has been touting raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour at least since his current presidential campaign began. Indeed the “Fight for 15” has been as much a feature of the Sanders for President Campaign as Medicare for All. After all, everyone deserves a “living wage,” even low skilled workers in restaurants and bars. Businesses would be forced to cough up to pay their workers whether they wanted to and, often, able to or not.
The problem was that Bernie staffers noticed that they were being paid wages that were far below the $15 an hour wage that the candidate claimed would be enough to allow families to live off of. They rose up to complain.
At first, Sanders took umbrage at the complaints. According to the Des Moines Register, Sanders stated:
“I’m very proud to be the first presidential candidate to recognize a union and negotiate a union contract. And that contract was ratified by the employees of the campaign, and it not only provides pay of at least $15 an hour, it also provides, I think, the best health care benefits that any employer can provide for our field organizers.”
He was also was a little miffed that his ungrateful workers took their complaints public.
“It does bother me that people are going outside of the process and going to the media. That is really not acceptable. It is really not what labor negotiations are about, and it’s improper.”
To be sure when one divides the annual compensation by a 40-hour work week, the hourly salary comes out to $17 an hour. But people on a major presidential campaign never work the standard 40 hours a week. They often work 60 or even 80-hour weeks. At that workload, the dollars per hour come down to what Bernie Sanders claims are starvation wages.
Sanders, looking at this growing revolt within his organization and the grief he was getting from the media, came up with a solution that a lot of business owners have been forced to in those communities which have mandated $ 15-hour minimum wages.
As Fox News explains:
“Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders announced this weekend he will cut staffers’ hours so that they can effectively be paid a $15-an-hour minimum wage, prompting mockery from critics who say the move is more evidence that Sanders’ plan to raise the national minimum wage is hypocritical and would only lead to less work and more unemployment.”
The irony could not be more delicious. Sanders has found a way to meet his restless workers’ demand to be paid $15 an hour without giving them more money. Left unclear is whether they would be off the clock after meeting the 40 or so hour a week threshold or would be required to make up the difference without compensation.
As Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas asked, “So does this fall under the category of hypocrisy, irony, or poetic justice? All three? Can’t make this stuff up.”
Sanders is finding out that labor economics runs on math, not on wishes and demands. The House Democrats recently rammed through a federal $15 an hour minimum wage that will be, thankfully, ignored by Senate Republicans. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that such a mandate would cost 3.7 million jobs. Businesses would let people go or go bankrupt. Others would start to automate.
The episode provides a look at the ugly truth about Bernie Sanders and the nature of socialism. Sanders, who lived half of his life in squalor, found that riches abounded for being a public official. When he was young, he lived in a shack and had a hand to mouth existence. Once he started climbing up the greasy pole of politics, Sanders started to rake it in, He is currently a millionaire with three homes.
The dirty little secret of socialism is that the people who decide on the redistribution of wealth help themselves first and in abundance. The toiling massed, for whom they claim to work, get the scraps. The extreme example of the way socialism works in Venezuela, Maduro and his cronies live high on the fat of the land. Most of the common people starve, fighting over scraps.
Sanders has made out well as an entrepreneurial socialist. He is not disposed to share with anyone. The idea of sharing the wealth is for little people, not for him.